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Son Of A.R.A.N. Project

Part 9c: Neckline Option #2, Sports Weight Version

Copyright 1999 Janet Szabo. All rights reserved.

As promised, here is the sport weight neckline information.

I revisited my notes for the sport weight version this morning. I'm not (currently, at least) knitting a sport weight version, but if I were, this is what I would do for the neckline.

First, please read Parts 9a and 9b about the neckline options. They apply equally well to the sport weight versions; the only difference is that the cable patterns are different between the two versions. Specifically:

My "virtual" sport weight version of the SOA has a center Aran honeycomb panel which is 48 stitches (or 6 repeats) wide, flanked by a Right Twist, an Inverted Gull Stitch, and an Off-Center Trellis. If you remember, I said that I like my neck openings to be between 6 1/2" and 7" wide, and -- I don't like to have the neck opening bite into a cable pattern. It happens that the Aran Honeycomb pattern and the Right Twists to either side of it measure 7" in width, so I'll place my neck opening over them.

[I know that some of you changed the patterns, so if you need some additional help with what follows, please e-mail me and I'll see what I can do. The logic, however, is the same no matter what patterns you have in your sweater.]

I will pick up stitches along the saddle exactly the same as I did for the back. If I decided on Option #1, I would continue to knit the front exactly as I knit the back. If you recall, I also mentioned a third option, which would be to pick up stitches along one saddle and knit straight for one or two complete repeats of the Aran Honeycomb panel. Repeat for the second saddle, then join them by casting on the stitches for the base of the neck. It's a square neck opening, but the front drops a little lower than the back due to the fact that you worked an extra pattern repeat or two before joining the right and left sides of the front.

OPTION #2: Shaped Neckline

When you knit a sweater from the bottom up and decide to make a crew neck, you bind off or place on a holder a portion of the center front neck stitches, and decrease the remaining stitches at the sides of the neckline. Once the neck shaping has been completed, you knit even to the shoulder to give the neckline the proper "drop." Over the years I have figured out that I like my crew neck opening to "drop" between 3-4" from the shoulder.

We're coming at this from the opposite direction, however. Instead of removing stitches for the neck opening by decreasing or binding them off, we need to add stitches as we work our way down. I do this by casting on an additional stitch at the neck edge. It works out to casting on an additional stitch every other row (at the end of one row, you're at the neck edge, at the end of the next row, you're at the shoulder edge).

Casting on the additional stitches isn't all that hard; the tricky part is working them into the design correctly. Charting the increased stitches is a must for me; I rely on that visual aid to help me. I'm going to post the chart I'm using on the SOA page, so you can see how I add the increased stitches, and how I work them into the design.

I started by printing out the same charts I used for working the back. This sweater has saddles which are going to add about 1 1/2" of "drop" to my neckline. On the worsted weight version, working 16 rows of the cable patterns gave me roughly another 2" of drop; however, the gauge is different on the sport weight version, and working 16 rows is only going to give me about 1 1/2" of drop. I'd need to work 20 rows to get a full 2" drop (at least from the measurements I get from my swatch.) But 20 rows is right in the middle of the Aran Honeycomb row repeat, and that isn't going to look good. So I will work 24 rows, which will give me a tad more than 2" of drop, and is 3 full row repeats of the Aran Honeycomb pattern.

I used a green marker to draw "stairsteps" showing the cast-on stitches and how they work into the chart. The right and left sides of the chart will differ slightly. On the right side, we are adding stitches at the beginning of wrong-side rows. On the left side, we are adding stitches at the beginning of right-side rows. This causes the right and left sides of the neckline to be off by one row. On the right side, I'm adding a total of 12 stitches (8 "stairsteps"); on the left side, I am only adding 11 stitches. That 12th stitch on the left side gets added to the stitches that I cast on at the base of the neck opening. You'll also note that I split the 2 purl stitches between the Inverted Gull Stitch and the Right Twist; one of them gets picked up when I pick up the stitches along the edge of the saddle, and one gets cast on as I work the neck opening. There isn't any particular reason I do that, in case you're wondering. It just seems to work out that way.

Right saddle: Start with the right saddle (your right as you are wearing the sweater). Pick up the stitches just as you did for the back side of the saddle. Turn and cast on an additional stitch (we are at the neck edge). Work across to the shoulder, then back to the neck edge. Turn, and cast on another stitch. You'll see that we are adding cast-on stitches at the beginning of each wrong-side row.

The thing to remember is that as you cast on these additional stitches, you not only have to work them as the correct stitches, you also have to start working cable crosses as soon as you have enough stitches. If you look at the chart for my SOA, you'll see that I am adding stitches to the Right Twist and the Aran Honeycomb patterns. I don't wait until I've cast on all the stitches of a cable pattern to begin working the crosses, though; I'll start working crosses as soon as I have three or four stitches.

NOTE: You may have to experiment if you don't think you have enough stitches to make a complete cross; one thing Claudia noted in the original A.R.A.N. pattern is that it's possible to make a cross even if you don't have the total number of stitches. For example, if you need to make a 3-over-3 cross but you only have 5 stitches, you can make a 3-over-2 cross and no one will know there are only 2 stitches behind the 3 stitches. It's a personal pet peeve of mine to see a cable suddenly stop and continue on in plain stockinette stitches to the shoulder, so I try to preserve the cable crossings at all costs.

Continue to add stitches until you are ready to cast on for the base of the neckline (on my chart, that is at row 24). You should end having just knit a wrong-side row. STOP, place these stitches on a holder, and turn your attention to the other saddle.

Left saddle: Pick up stitches as you did on the back. At the end of your pick-up row, however, you will be at the shoulder edge. Work back to the neck edge, then turn and cast on additional stitch. Continue to work back and forth, adding an additional stitch at each neck edge just as you did for the other side of the neck opening. End having worked a wrong-side row (row 23 on the chart).

Go back to the other side of the neck opening. Pick up or join your yarn, knit across the front right side, cast on stitches for the center neck opening (the chart only shows 5 repeats of the Aran Honeycomb pattern, not 6, due to space limitations; if you count the squares, it looks like there are only 27 stitches to cast on, when in reality there are 35), then knit across the stitches of the left front. You can now continue knitting just as you did for the back.


Absolutely. You'll need to split the front panel. If you have four repeats of the AH pattern, split it down the middle. If you have an odd number of repeats, add half a repeat to each side. The button band is going to add an extra inch of width to the front of the sweater, but I don't generally reduce the width of the pattern panels to compensate. Since women's fronts are wider than their backs due to our anatomical structure , I leave the extra width there. You'll work the front the same as the back, except that you'll only cast on half the number of stitches for the front neck for each side, and you'll work them separately.

Feel free to ask questions!


Last Updated: September 29, 1999
Page maintained by: Esther S. Bozak, ebozak@cs.oswego.edu
URL: http://www.cs.oswego.edu/~ebozak/knit/soa/part9c.html