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Son Of A.R.A.N. Project

Part 13: More Q & A

Copyright 1999, 2000 Janet Szabo. All rights reserved.


I'm nearly finished with the first sleeve and a few questions have
arisen. I'm planning to put the stitches on waste yarn and do the ribbing

That's exactly what I did, because I still haven't figured out what I want to do. The SOA got put aside for awhile.

OK, I took your advice and read in VK book and Knitter's HB about picking
up and knitting collar and button band. My question--you said that we
needed to pick up fewer stitches in the collar die to the stretchiness on
the honeycomb--how do we calculate this? I do the ribbing first and then
add the collar--right? 

What I plan to do is to pick up stitches around the neck opening and then decrease them down by about 1/3. Let's say I pick up 120 stitches around the neck opening; on the next round I would work *k1, k2tog; rep from * all the way around. I should end up with 80 stitches.

Does that help?

I'm a bit confused, though, as to what you mean by "ribbing" and "collar." Are they one and the same? (Note: To the best of my knowledge this question of Janet's was never answered by the list member who asked the orginial question. -- Esther)

I have completed the knitting of my SOA and am working on the ribbing.  I
did the neckline already with a plain 1x1 ribbing with mitered corners.  I
progressed to the body and worked about 3 inches of 1x1 with the little
twist carried down into the rib.  I am not pleased with how this fits due
to the fact that I don't think it's quite fitted enough.  I did not want a
tight fitting ribbing either.  I reduced about 15% of the stitches but feel
that this wasn't adequate.

Question#1:  If I do a twisted rib on the same # of st, will it pull in

Question#2:  Should I reduce another 10% and do the
twisted rib?

from Claudia:
Here is how I go about figuring ribbings...I tend to float back to EZ's method when I make Arans (but I have found many knitters who do not like ribbing on the edge and like to just let the sweater "hang"). EZ would figure out the body sts and call that the "K" number, then deduct 10% for the ribbing cast on and use needles a few sizes smaller than the body size. She also liked 2x2 rib which pulls in quite a bit. This gives the ribbing a slight indent on the body.

When you are doing an Aran, you will need to make a stockinette stitch swatch to figure out your K number. Find your gauge and multiply it by the finished circumference of your Aran, then take that number and deduct 10% and use smaller needles to work the ribbing.

Another idea...make an actual ribbing swatch and measure it, then measure how you want it to lay against the body, then do the math to get your decreases done in that first round of ribbing.

and from Valerie:
I had the same problem with the neckline on my Cross Country Aran, that I did while all of you were doing the SOA. I solved the problem by ripping down to the first row of ribbing (where I had picked up) and reduced the needle size used for the ribbing by 2 sizes...I came out with a firmer ribbing and was very happy with the results.

When doing button bands, there's a trick I learned from Anne Bourgouis (sp?) when doing my Philosopher's Wool Sweater: pick up 28 stitches along the front where you will be doing your button band and knit this as a swatch to determine the correct needle size for your button band as well as the "pick up rate"...that is the number of stitches to pick up per rows of knitting in the body of the garment. You can even do a sample button hole to determine the size button hole for the buttons you're using.

Regarding twisted rib...It draws in slightly more when you twist only the knit stitches in the rib (the purls kind of stretch out to compensate for the tighter knit stitches). It draws in a lot more and is less elastic when you twist both the knits and the purls.

When I did the neck rib I picked up all the stitches on both the back and
front of the honeycomb, 3st to 4 rows on the slope to the saddle, and then
all the stitches on the saddles.  On the first row of ribbing I decreased
by one third across the honeycomb but didn't decrease anywhere else.  It
looks great.  When I get to the bottom rib would you suggest doing the
same; i.e., decreasing along the honeycomb by 1/3 in addition to taking of
about 10% every where else? 

Yes, if that worked at the neckband. It's going to be different for people depending upon which cables they used and how they like their ribbing. I had to place many more decreases under the honeycomb on mine because -- as you have noticed -- it draws in a lot.

My problem is that the ribbing is a little big---it's more than a little
big.  Can you decrease the size when blocking?  What about trying warm or
hot water to dip the ribbing in before blocking--would that safely shrink

Hmmm, I think the only way to solve this problem is to take the ribbing off and reknit it. In general, when knitting shrinks, it does so more in length than in width. You might end up with ribbing that was the same width, but only 1" in depth instead of 2" or 3".

Something else to keep in mind is that you should not steam block ribbing unless you want to eliminate its elasticity. When you steam block a knitted sweater or knitted piece, keep the steam away from the ribbing.


I'm going to pick up the second sleeve but also wonder about picking up
the body stitches and working a few rows on them from time to time (when
I'm energetic!).  Janet, what is the ratio to pick up on the underarm
stitches?  I'm thinking 2 to 3 or 3 to 4 but am uncertain. 

Yes, that's what I used. It's what I almost always use unless there is some compelling reason (like lots of cabling) to pick up in every stitch.

I do have a question about the body/armholes--do I join the front and
back and knit a few rounds before picking up the stitches for the sleeves?
Or do I pick up the sleeves, knit the extra inches for my increase flat
and then join and knit the rest of the sleeves in the round? 

The answer is yes. Either way is fine. On previous top-down Arans, I have joined the front and back and knit the body for a few inches before doing the sleeves. On my SOA, I knit the sleeves, then picked up and knit the body. This latter method eliminates even the small amount of sewing at the underarms, but either way is perfectly fine.

I already worked just past the armhole and have cast on the stitches
needed for the underarm.  Can I pick up the stitches around the arm and
then start knitting back and forth?  As I knit my 2 inches back and forth,
can I pick up 1 stitch from the underarm at the end of each row and knit
it together with the last stitch on the sleeve?  When I finish my 2 inches
back and forth, I assume I should run out of underarm stitches and then be
able to work in the round and go on down the sleeve.

Absolutely you can do this. This is a technique that I think Meg Swansen and her mother have used in one or more of their designs -- is someone familiar enough with what's in the Woolgathering series to expand on this? I've never tried it, but I am sure it can be done. Oh, and now that I think about it, I think it may have been covered in a Threads article, too. I'll have to check.

FWIW, I think it's terrific that we have so many different solutions to the design challenges we've run into along the way!

Janet, it would be OK to knit on the body, as soon as I get the other
sleeve started, wouldn't it?  Then I could switch back and forth for

Oh absolutely. I do that on mine. I usually knit a skein's worth on the body, then a skein's worth on a sleeve, and just switch back and forth. Cuts down on the monotony, definitely.


My seed st is biasing on the sleeve.  (This has happened to me
before when knitting circularly.) There's also an interesting
difference between knitting seed st flat and knitting in the round.
I'm hoping that blocking the sweater will correct all of these
developments.  Comments? 

I think it will -- I never noticed the tendency of moss stitch or seed stitch to bias until somebody on this list mentioned it. Mine does as I am knitting it, but I never noticed it in a finished sweater. Did it do it on your swatch, as well?

I, too, noticed that my SOA wants to bias a bit.  I'm hoping that it is
just a quirk of the moss stitch (as you all have noticed) and that it will
block out.  Stephanie, did yours block out? 

from Stephanie:
Yes! I was quite concerned about the biasing but I must say that blocking corrected all of my little "problems." The sleeves were lengthened a bit and everything looks so smooth and beautiful

In fact, I'm so pleased to say that you can barely tell where I picked up the sleeves stitches to knit down. Truly a wonderful design!!


Thanks Janet for developing the SOA project.  I've learned a tremendous
amount, not just about Arans, but some designing and fitting stuff as

We all did. :-)))


Last Updated: January 15, 2001
Page maintained by: Esther S. Bozak, ebozak@cs.oswego.edu
URL: http://www.cs.oswego.edu/~ebozak/knit/soa/part13.html