Knitted in one piece: set in fitted sleeves, knitted from the top

So turned to my Pinterest knitting board and found this:

Knit......

This is lovely, just what I am looking for. I don’t know who designed this garment – I would very much like to give them credit… Classic, beautifully shaped, timeless… male, beautiful simplicity with a twist. I love the broad shoulders flowing into a well fitting upper body and the well fitted sleeve heads.

What is great about this design is that it allows me to try out Barbara Walker’s top down fitted sleeves – knitted all in one, her method has intrigued me for some time. This is how it works – have a look at the picture before you read on. The red bits are the yarn ends I used for the invisible cast on. I leave them in for now, as reference to indicate where  my ‘shoulder’ is.top down fitted sleeves - yoke

  1. cast on (invisible cast on) first shoulder (left), work short rows to shape the shoulder and at the same time, increase stitches for the roundness of the neck, cast on remaining neck stitches, cut yarn
  2. cast on (invisible cast on) second shoulder (right), work short rows and increase stitches for the roundness of the neck, work all neck stitches (across to the left shoulder) and start working the entire back piece, completing all short rows and work about 6 cm.
  3. pick up stitches at the right shoulder, work short rows and increase stitches for the front neck, work about 6 cm
  4. pick up st at left shoulder, work short rows and increase st for neck, work about 6 cm
  5. THEN wow, here it comes, the exiting bit: start at the left front neck (RS) and knit across to the right front piece to the armhole, then pick up stitches for the sleeve head  (through 2 out of 3 rows), knit across the back, pick up stitches across the right armhole, knit across the right front.
  6. Then merrily knit back and forth… increase at the front neck and at the armholes to shape the set in sleeve.

So far so good… that’s how far I have made it. I have learned a lot (and unraveled the lot already twice), but I think I am on to a winner.

This version of top down jumper appears in Barbara Walker’s book Knitting from the Top as a mere variation in her chapter about seamless set-in sleeves where she explains two ways of knitting set in sleeves from the top:

(1) body – first method: here, the sleeveless sweater is worked first, and the sleeves are set in by picking up stitches around the armhole later

(2) sleeve-first method: here, front and back of sweater are worked up to the underarm (more or less what I have described I have done, but here the jumper is knitted all the way to the underarm, not just 6 cm), then the underarm stitches are cast on to a separate needle (all stitches required for a seamless sleeve, or 2 x ½ the stitches required for a seamed sleeve), then all the remaining sleeve stitches are picked up around the armhole edge and the sleeve cap stitches are worked in short rows. Finally, the underarm stitches are worked and the sleeve is completed. Only then, the underarm stitches are picked up (increases mirroring the amount picked up for the sleeve at the underarm) to complete the body.

Here is a close up of one shoulder.

In addition to following Barbara Walker’s instructions to the dot, I have added a wee twist, too! As you can see here, I have decreased stitches at the armhole (5 in total on each shoulder, over 40 or so rows) to create a fitted sleeve that sits in a broad shouldered garment. In fact, my armhole resembles very much the shape of an armhole in a tailored suit jacket. Fingers crossed that it will work!right shoulder front and back

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