Sloper mods, part 2: Reshaping the pattern

Sloper mods, part 2: Reshaping the pattern

As I mentioned on Monday, there are lots of variables you can toy with within the existing parameters of the Sloper pattern to change the look of it in many ways — from playing around with the fabric and the seams to choosing between the crewneck and turtleneck options given in the pattern. And yesterday we talked about ways to resize the pattern without really changing the look of it. So today, let’s talk about how to actually make changes to the shaping of the pattern in order to change the style of the finished garment. (Download the side-by-side comparison of these diagrams in PDF form.)

WAIST SHAPING

Sloper contains no waist shaping — it’s a straight-sided, boxy little number.

• For a more curvaceous, form-fitting sweater, add traditional hourglass shaping at the waist. That is, decrease as you approach the waist, then increase again as you head toward the bustline. (For how the math on this works, see Improv.)

• For A-line shaping, cast on more stitches — being mindful of the multiple for the ribbing — and decrease out the extra stitches gradually as you approach the underarms. (Again, see Improv for how to calculate the spacing.)

Sloper mods, part 2: Reshaping the pattern

ARMHOLE SHAPING

Sloper has quite narrow armhole shaping — it’s designed such that the fabric reaches out fairly far on your shoulders, with armholes that just slightly nip in from the side seams.

Fig. A: For an even boxier look, you could leave out the armhole shaping altogether — just work the sides of the garment straight all the way up to the shoulder, leaving an 8.75″ gap for the armholes when you seam the sides together. (Note the corresponding adjustment at the shoulder, since the original 3 armhole sts and 10 shoulder sts are now all 13 shoulder sts.)

Fig. B: For a funkier look, mimic the camel version and make a squared-off armhole by binding off all three underarm stitches at once, rather than gradually.

Fig. C: For an armhole that cuts in farther, bind off more underarm stitches. You could bind off 2-3 on the first BO row(s), and/or work one or two additional bind-off rows, instead of just 3 per side. What you’re doing is taking stitches away from the shoulder, moving the armhole edge inward, so you’ll be left with equivalently fewer shoulder stitches to bind off. However many you’re left with, bind them off in halves. (So for example, the pattern has 3 armhole stitches and 10 shoulder stitches on each side. You could shift that, e.g., to 5 armhole stitches and 8 shoulder stitches, bound off 4 and 4.) Do the math to determine how wide your changes will leave your armhole and your shoulder, based on your gauge. (See yesterday’s post for more on all of that.)

Fig. D: If rather than the clean slipped-stitch armhole edge Sloper is designed with, you’d prefer to add ribbing or another picked-up edge treatment, you’ll need an equivalent amount of room for it. For example, if you want to add 1″-wide ribbing around the armhole, you’ll need to start the shaping 1″ sooner (3 or 4 rows at pattern gauge) and move it inward an inch, as we did in Figure C.

Sloper mods, part 2: Reshaping the pattern

NECK SHAPING

Sloper is written with a basic round neck for a picked-up neck treatment that can be finished as either a crewneck or a turtleneck.

Fig. E: For a V-neck, pinpoint how low you want the V to be (by calculating desired depth and your row gauge) and mark the tip of the V on the chart at the dead center of the garment, counting downward the appropriate distance from the top. Then rather than binding off stitches gradually as for a round neck, simply work that separation row [marked (D) on the pattern front] to the center stitch, place that first half of the stitches on hold, then work to the end of the row. To create the V, decrease 1 stitch at the neck edge every other row until your desired neck width, then work even to the shoulders. Repeat the process in reverse for the left front.

Fig. F: For a scoop neck, begin the neck shaping sooner (based on how deep you want it to be, calculated by your desired depth and your row gauge), so the front neck edge sits lower.

What you do with your neck edge is also up to you — pick up stitches and work ribbing or garter, or work a few rounds and bind off for more of a rolled edge. Or work a sloped bind-off and slipped-stitch selvage, same as the armhole edge, for a clean edge with no further treatment.

THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS

By combining different variations of armholes and necklines, along with changing up the neck edging, you can create a wide variety of garments. For instance, if you combine a scoop neck (Fig. E) with Fig C-style carved out armholes, you’ll have turned it into a tank top, whereas Fig A boxy armholes and a deep V-neck would give you a completely different look. Or what if you did square armholes and a low square neck! (I.e., just bind off all the neck stitches at once rather than gradually.) And when you factor in making it longer or shorter, hourglass or A-line, the possibilities really are endless.

As noted yesterday, just make sure any changes you make to the front are matched identically on the back, so everything matches up properly (same number of armhole rows, same number of shoulder stitches) when it comes to seaming the pieces together.

So once again, I can’t wait to see what you come up with! Link your Ravelry projects to the Sloper pattern listing, and use the hashtag #sloperKAL to share your plans and progress on Instagram in the coming weeks.

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PREVIOUSLY: Sloper mods, part 1: Resizing the pattern

6 thoughts on “Sloper mods, part 2: Reshaping the pattern

  1. This is amazing information. I am thinking about yarn choices; could you say something about fiber or size of yarns held together and how that impacts the finished sweater (how to avoid a heavy garment)?

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    • I have a longer post (tangentially related, I guess) about holding yarns together and all the reasons you might do it. But weight-wise, I think the best way to get a feel for the differences among fibers is to literally look at the skein weight:yardage ratio. Most skeins are either 50g or 100g, so if you compare how much yardage makes up that weight, it tells you a lot. For instance, the Kestrel I’m currently knitting with is 50g skeins of linen, at aran thickness, and it’s only 76 yards. Whereas with an aran gauge 100% wool, you’d have upwards of 100 yards per 50g. So the linen is literally heavier — it adds up weight in a shorter distance.

      Cotton tends to be heavier than wool, as do alpaca and llama and so on. The black Sloper is 100% wool and the camel one is a 50/50 wool/alpaca blend. The finished sweater weighs twice as much as the wool one.

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  2. Thank you for this KAL! I am learning *so* much from your detailed post.
    I blocked my swatch yesterday. I am using up some linen yarn from my stash. I frogged three UFO’s, to reclaim the yarn and combined it with a fourth. It’s 4 strands of different colored linen yarn swatched on size 15 needles. The fabric is airy…I will have to wear a cami or tank underneath or long bra (if I’m feeling frisky;).

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