After spending some time trying to work out how to make the stitch counts for the front of this sweater work with the rounder, higher neck I wanted, I realised that the designer had already done that work for me. Duh! All that was needed was to follow the instructions for the back from the armholes upwards, but starting the neck shaping earlier and then knitting each shoulder straight until it is the same length as the back.
It seems to have worked. Because my neckline is higher than the original V-neck, it doesn’t matter that it reduces the number of stitches in play through the casting-off at the base of the neck and the neckline decreases on the following rows. Because the base of the neck is now well above the fullest part of the bust, the remaining stitches don’t have to stretch as far.
An added advantage of working the front neckline and armhole shaping the same as the back is that the 3×2 ribbing now matches on the shoulders. The mismatch in the written pattern (resulting from the fact that there are no decreases for the front V-neck to correspond with those for the rounded back neck) bothered me.
I was gaily thinking that having matching shoulder seams meant I could Kitchener graft them to produce a smoother join than the 3-needle cast-off the pattern calls for. After all, top-down socks can be grafted at the toes despite the fact that both instep and sole are knitted in the same direction, like the back and front of a jumper. But while investigating how to graft ribbing – not something I’ve ever done before – I learnt that it only works if the top of one piece is grafted to the bottom of another, otherwise it’s half a stitch out. I’m sure it must be half a stitch out with stocking stitch or garter stitch too, but no one would ever notice. Darn! I’ve used the 3-needle cast-off instead. It will provide some stability along the shoulder line, which is probably a good thing for a stretch-to-fit jumper in a fairly soft yarn.
I made a couple of other changes to my Lia. I lengthened the sleeves and kept doing the regular increases all the way up them, which gave me an extra 6 stitches in each. I just felt I needed a bit more space around the shoulder region. Apart from that, I added a lot of extra length in the body, particularly below where the cable panel starts. It’s still not especially long, but those of us who are pear-shaped do well to avoid skin-tight tops that come right down over the hips. I can’t believe that anyone could wear this sweater without lengthening it though, it would barely have hit my waist without the extra inches.
The sweater components are currently blocking and it’ll be a day or two before they are dry. I’m blocking fairly hard to try and reduce the amount of negative ease. I neatened and strengthened the neck opening with a round of double crochets (US: single crochets) first. I’ll have another think about the neck when I’ve sewn in the sleeves and can try the garment on for real; it may be that I decide to pull out the crocheting and work a conventional 1×1 ribbed neckband if the shoulders still seem quite narrow.