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Custom Raglan Cardi Knit-Along, Week 2: Knitting the Yoke

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a good week swatching and choosing the perfect yarn! This week we're going to get started knitting the yoke, and I'm going to talk a little bit about how a top-down raglan garment is constructed and why it's one of my absolute favorite methods of knitting a sweater -- with minimal finishing, the ability to try on as you go, and no fiddling with pesky sleeve caps to get them to fit into armholes!

This type of sweater starts with the stitches cast-on for the neckline, and then all parts of the sweater (both fronts, back and sleeves) grow out from these stitches. If you've ever had issues with sleeves not fitting correctly into armholes, a raglan is for you! The top of the sleeves form part of the neck, which is why it isn't really possible to make a sleeveless raglan garment. Usually the sweater grows outwards at four points around the body (these will be the points that you place your markers), so every two rounds you will increase 8 stitches, one either side of each marker. In this pattern, a yarn over increase is used. I decided I wanted a less lacy look, so I chose to do a make 1 increase instead. You could also do a knit front-and-back increase if you prefer.

As your piece grows, you will notice the shape of your yoke beginning to form into a kind of rectangle. As it gets larger, you can try it on by draping it over your shoulders. It may be a little difficult to do this with your cardi still on the needle, so you can slip the stitches off of the needle and onto some waste yarn while you do this. When it's big enough to reach your underarms, it's time to move onto the section in your pattern marked "Divide For Body" -- we'll get to this next week.

Traditionally in raglan garments, the sleeve increases and body increases happen at the same rate. Of course, we're not all standard measurements, so what if you try your cardi on and the body fits but the sleeves are still too small, or vice versa? Well, on the next increase round, just increase on the sleeves or the body (whichever segment needs more fabric) and skip the increases on the other parts. If you are doing yarn over increases as in the pattern and want to continue for decorative purposes, just do a K2tog before or after your YO. This will cancel out the increase, but still keep in pattern.

I notice a few of you are interested in doing an all-over lace pattern for the body of your sweater. When making the yoke of your raglan garment, you will have a different number of stitches every two rows, but you will still need to make sure that your lace stays in pattern. In a lace pattern, every YO has a corresponding decrease, an SSK or K2tog, usually. Even though your sweater is growing with each row, you will have to make sure that every YO has its partner decrease. If you don't yet have enough stitches to make both the YO and its decrease, just work those stitches in stockinette until the next increase row.

I decided to do panels of cable patterns in my cardi. Down the center of the back I'm doing the Hourglass Cable. You'll notice that there are 16 stitches in this particular cable pattern, but since cables tend to stand out better on a purl background I added two stitches in reverse stockinette stitch on either side of those center 16 stitches. You can mark where to begin your panels with stitch markers if you find it helpful. Try to use different colored stitch markers from your increase markers though, so you don't get confused!

I also decided to put a simpler cable down the edge of both fronts. If you are doing a pattern close to the edge of the cardi, do it at least a couple of stitches in from the edge, because you will actually be using that edge stitch to pick up for the front bands.

So I hope you can all get started knitting the yoke and trying on as you go for a perfect fit! Next week, we'll talk about the next step of dividing for the body, and how to further refine the fit of our sweater by adding waist shaping. Happy Knitting, everyone!

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  • Melissa

    Ahhh!  I just ordered my yarn for this project this morning...  might only be here in 3 weeks!  (I live in Canada).  I ordered Shine Worsted in Serenade (gorgeous purple) from Knit Picks, can't wait to catch up with you guys!

  • Christine

    Can you share the pattern you're using for the cabling down the front sides?  I love how it looks!

  • Jacquelinecraven

    Jackie,  Rhode Island

    I'm new at KAL, I'll try to keep up. It looks like it will be fun.

  • Ruhask

    I haven't started yet- but looking forward to this knit along. But I have a question, I have read the beg. of the pattern, on the yoke k2 p2 rib until 2 in. Then increase stitches in rib pattern! How do you 'do' that? I looked at your photo (a big help) but could not see any ribs that looked increased. 

  • MzJones

    Greetings Fellow Knitters!!! This is my first knit-along and making a garment for myself. Needless to say, I am super-excited.

  • Patty McD

    The RSS feed for this blog is no longer working.  I've been getting it for years now, and all of a sudden a few days ago it says this on my home page:   "Content from this source is currently not available. Click here to contact them about the issue."  I clicked there, but it got me nowhere.  I also re-clicked the RSS feed above to re-do it, but I get an error.  Hope this is fixed quickly.

  • Pemberley816

    Hi everyone! This is my first KAL and my first knitted garment...to date my only real knitting project is a shawl, but I've been a crocheter for years and picked up that pattern easily.  Hopefully this one will be the same.  I'm using Cotton-Ease in the Almond colorway, which is so gorgeous that I want to drool over it, haha.  Hopefully will start the yoke tonight...can't wait! :)

  • Love your cable edging!  I wish I would've thought to do that.. well next time....Does that mean you will not be picking up stitches for the edging as shown in the pattern ?  Just wondering.
    The photo where you have the garment draped around the shoulders, is that approximately the point where you would start deviding for the body? thank you!

  • Cadence

    I want another CAL!

  • Katie Kenfield

    So, I was so excited about this project that I couldn't wait to start knitting yesterday.  I decided to just stick with the pattern and do stockinette all the way.  I'm almost done with the yoke and it's all going really well but now that I see how cute those cables look and the sleekness of the make 1 increases compared to the yarn overs I'm doing, I kind of wish I had been more daring.  No worries though.  I'm gonna keep knitting away and maybe start a second sweater once I see all the inspiring things everyone else does with theirs.  I'm so excited to be part of my first ever KAL- even if I am too impatient not to knit ahead.  =)

  • Derlyn

    Originally I was going to just dive right in without swatching then I realized that I'd better swatch because it will save me a lot of heart ache. So I now I'm searching but I don't know really how. So far I've knit the first 4 and then knit the first 4 and last 4. But then I realized that I'm using size 6 needles when the garment is done mostly size 7 needles. Any suggestions on needle size and swatching?

  • Derlyn

    * sorry not searching but swatching.

  • Derlyn

    By the way I'm using vanna's choice and the reason I knit
    the first 4 is so that it doesn't curl.

  • Lauren,
    I am wanting to do a pattern down the center back, do I begin that pattern on Row 1 of the "Shape Yoke" section?

  • http://gagafanblog.com/lady-gaga-profile-lgf-1.php video ga ga

    <strong>video ga ga...</strong>

    Custom Simple Raglan Cardi Knit-Along Week #2: Knitting the Yoke | Lion Brand Notebook...

  • Ldyjayne in western WA

    I agree with the wish that I had started with the cable but I do not want to go back and start over so will save it for another sweater,  I consider myself experienced but this is the first time I have done a swatch and it looked good.  I find that I can do four rows in an hour so it will not be a quick project.  I am using yarn that I bought over 30 years ago and am finally getting into a project that I like and will keep me going (I hope!!)

  • Tjcoll

    I'm thinking of doing the same cables front and back.  Wondering if you need to add more stitches to create the cables?

  • Carolee

    Hi all,  got mine sarted useing Vannas Choice in Denim Mist and LOVEING it. really thinking about doing this again. I dont remember who said it but I like the idea of verigated for the main body and soild for the ribbing.   This is my first knitted garment ! other than baby swaters.

  • Ella Stigter

    I'm finished to the yoke, and enjoying it very much.  

  • LG

    I really want to do this KAL, but I'm so busy it might have to be a knit-after-everyone-else. I've knit a few sweaters before, and they were all disasters of one sort or another, but I think the raglan construction and open front of this pattern will make it easier to get a good fit, so I really want to try it. I've recently fallen in love with open-front, draping sort of sweaters, so I would knit mine with a longer body and probably 3/4 sleeves. And possibly a little cable or lace accent if I'm feeling adventurous. 

  • Patty McD

    Lauren, I got 2 inches into the yoke and my lace panels, but they just don't look right.  I reversed the lace pattern from 1-6 rows (with rws 2, 4 & 6 the same on the wrong side), to 5, 2, 3, 4, 1, 6, but, should I have also reversed each side of rows 1, 3 & 5?  ie: from K2, yo, skp, p1, k2tog, yo, k2; TO: k2, yo, k2tog, pl, skp, yo k2?

  • williams.sharon

    I found some wonderful (I hope!) yarn at Zellers today called "Eco-fil" -it was on sale for 2 x 100gm balls for $5!!!!-it is 75% cotton from recycled sources and 25% acrylic 
     (labelled Recycled earth-friendly yarn). It appears to be the same weight as the Cotton-ease (which was $10 for a 100gm ball), so now I am off to the races, without the huge $ investment in yarn. The whole sweater should cost me $15-20 :-) Can't wait to PLAY, but of course I have to go back and redo some swatches to find the right size needles!!

  • williams.sharon

    Could you please explain how you used the swatches of the pattern section along with the stocking st swatch to figure out what changes to make to the pattern??

    Also, If I want to add the lace after joining the sides under the arm, do I have to worry about the number of stitches ie: will that section get really stretched out because of the lace holes, so that it won't look like it belongs to the same sweater? (hope you get what I mean!!)

  • Donna A in CA

    Doing my first KAL.  it looked so inviting i just had to join, even tho i consider myself a beginner.  i've crotched, but just done easy knitted things.   this is my third garment.  i really can't brag about what i did, but i'm willing to try again. did the swatch and started the yoke.  looking good so far.

  • Writer Princess

    Hi All!

    This is my first KAL and I'm waiting for my needles to show up in the mail! I had to order mine online and I got lucky, 2 sets of needles for 10.00 bucks and no shipping fees! Hopefully, I'll have them bu Monday and will be able to "catch-up." Really looking forward to making something for myself!

  • williams.sharon

    Just found a wonderful lace pattern with VIDEO on YouTube at 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaaQJVsS5rM&feature=related This would be lovely at the bottom of the sweater, and the video makes it very clear!!

  • Adriana

    I'm keeping allthose instructions for a little bit later, I'm already on two projects but keep on mind a top down pattern and I really love your idea with front cables! 

  • Elsa - in VA

    Hello Everyone,

    I opted for Vanna's Choice in Silver Heather, I love grey!
    I've started the yoke and I need clarification on the markers. I'm assuming that the ones we slip are totally different from the onces we placed to mark sleeves, etc??


  • I had to order my yarn online, so will have to catch up! Looking forward to getting started! Appreciate all the comments made on here!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1507062820 Maria Edmonds-Zediker

    I just got my yarn last week at Stitches West - a beautiful washable wool in shades of plum. The needles I need have a little girl's dress on them, but I'm less than a dozen rows from finishing, so it won't be long before I'm caught up to you all.

  • Audreyclaxton

    My question iis not related to   this specific project but I can't find a proper place to ask this question.  I am sure that some of you gals have knitted as a business proposition.  I  was wondering how much you charge under these circumstances.  An aquaintance has asked me to make a twin set for her and I am in the process of doing so but really don't know what to charge her.  My mother owned a yarn shop in England many years ago and she charged so much an ounce.  I was wondering if this was a good idea and if so how much an ounce?  Any help would be appreciated.

  • Hood1976

    I this my first KAL.I'm so glad I found you. I have most of the yoke done and want to make the sleeves longer then the pattern. Any suggestion? I love the ease of Raglan sweeter pattern.

  • Sylvia

    Just started my cardi in a lovely turquoise colour in Katia yarn, being in France not so easy to get what I want but after a lot of swatches managed to get the tension ( gauge) ok. Have begun the pattern and despite deciding to do it plain, fell in love with Lauren's cables but oh dear I'm on my third unpick in order to work them out!! Once the pattern is set it's ok but Lion Brand's pattern for hourglass starts at a different row I think - is that correct Lauren? Any hints would be much appreciated.'

  • Joyce

    I am just starting with Amazing yarn.  I found my swatch came out right as long as I didn't knit too tightly.  I like to start the neckband on straight needles and switch to circular as the sweater "grows"  I think I am going to love the soft drape and beautiful colors I will get with this yarn.

  • JoanD

    Started my sweater today-- I spent yesterday afternoon swatching and washing.  I'm going to use the cables also, but I just realized the front cables will look better if I match the K sts to the ribbing on the first row, so a bit of frogging and I'll be off and running again.

  • Rosalie Risler

    This is also my first KAL.  I am excited to do this - kind of like being in a knitting club.  I am using Cotton Ease in Azalea and really like the feel of the yarn.  I am also in Canada and so the yarn is a little expensive, but I am really liking it so far.  I decided to use a simple stitch pattern for the whole body (vertical caterpillar) and I really like the YO increases with the stitch pattern. I am about half finished with the yoke so far.  I am looking forward to Lauren's discussion on changing the sleeves as I am planning on 3/4 sleeves.

  • Lindalhutchins

    I had commitments last week and didn't have the time to order my yarn.  I want the cotton yarn, but don't remember what it was.  How do I get to the site that has the sweater pattern and yarn that I can  order?
    Thank you.  Please reply to lindalhutchins@yahoo.com

  • Jilljanssen1

    I am having a problem figuring out what to do next. I have knit the yoke to my underarms, but the stitiches on my needles are less than a small size and I am knitting the large size. I am sure this is because I am knitting the guage I figured out for the stitch width and my not my length as states. How can I adjust the bust width to equal a large without lengthening the yoke? Do I add increases after I divide for the body or keep working the yoke until I am at the large size? This may be covered in the next section, but I am stuck here until I figure this out. Thanks! Jill

  • Mary

     This is my first knit-a-long. So far so good. I am using Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks in the color Fern. I am sticking with a basic pattern for the first sweater. My plan is to knit different variations of this pattern using the yarns that I have on hand. I will have the yoke completed tonight and am anxious to start on the body of the sweater tomorrow.

  • Vanessabryce

    I just read a blog from Susan B. Anderson and she found these great tubes (called Try-It-On tubing) that you can attach to your needles, slip your work onto, and then you can try your knitting on, without transferring back and forth to a scrap yarn.  I thought this would be the perfect project for these great inventions!  Here's the link if you are interested:  http://machineknittingtodyefor.com/
    I do not work for this company...just passing on a wonderful knitting idea!

  • Llogue82

    I finished my 2 inch ribbing and did the next row with the evenly spaced 4 stitch increase. Now I see the next row with the needle change says to be on RS but I am on WS. Do I just proceed or what

  • Tonistice

    Where do I get the pattern if I want to add the cables?

  • Ann

    I have my neck done and am onto the yoke....I do need to measure it so see if the arms are going to need less....I may need to add more in back....thus I guess I take it off and put the loose stiches on scarp yarn is that correct?  I can't measure it with it on the needles as only 29 inch circular.....and no fancy stuff yet:)  Let me get this to fit!

  • Llogue82

    Hoping for more timely answers to posts

  • Tortolalydia

    what is this pattern #

  • http://blog.lionbrand.com/2012/03/08/custom-raglan-cardi-knit-along-dividing-the-body-and-adding-waist-shaping/ Custom Raglan Cardi Knit-Along Week 3: Adding Waist Shaping | Lion Brand Notebook

    [...] Custom Raglan Cardi Knit-Along: Knitting the Yoke [...]

  • lesli daniels

    Good Morning!  I'm new to this blog and started working on my pattern a few days ago!  This is my first "follow a pattern" knitting...I've mostly stuck to baby blankets.  I completed my yoke, down to the "arm pits" and just noticed that I messed up on one of my yarn overs.  Is there a way to fix this or am I stuck with a miss ....or do I have to unravel it all and start over?   Any help would be appreciated!   (the problem is that I must have done a yarn over off by one stitch but somehow brought it back the next row down, so the middle row that is created by the yarn over is over by one notch then back again the next row)  Sorry for my cryptic description!

  • Monte

    I am a bit confused about the directions at the end of "Shape Yoke".  I have done the Row 4 Purl, and Row 5 knit, yo, etc until I reached the 280 (Med.) stitch count.  When you start the "Divide for Body" it says to start on RS. working on right front...  I ended (Row 5) with RS and even if I purl across one more row I would be on the left front of the garment.  I hope this isn't too confusing.  Maybe it doesn't matter if I'm working on the right front or left front.  Can you clarify?  Monte   

  • Suzie in AR

    Where is the pattern for this shrug??

  • Lvorp9

    When can we expect #4?

  • i have completed my cadi love it not perfect but i love it. i did it in cotton ease love this yarn   thanks Lion Brand for this knit-along and this great pattern i have bought yarn for the next cardi..  have only been knitting since   jan this year  had some concerns about doing a sweater.  this pattern is perfect for the novice knitter  
    thanks again every  one for your input