Carbeth Cardigan KAL: How to pick up stitches for the button band

How to pick up stitches for a button band in knitting

How to pick up stitches for a button band in knitting

We are closing in on this beautiful sweater creation! Our next step is to knit the button bands and to do that we have to pick up the stitches that will create the bands.

Carbeth Cardigan almost done!

Carbeth Cardigan almost done!

Here's our sweater! I'm so excited if you can't tell. The picking up happens first on the right front which is the side that goes on the righthand side of your body. 

The pattern instructions give us a number to pick up but since a lot of us added length in the body of the sweater we'll need to add stitches to that number because we have a longer edge now. There are two formulas to keep in mind while picking up.

  1. Pick up approximately 3 stitches for every 4 rows of knitting. Knit stitches are wider than they are tall so this ratio balances that difference so we avoid puckering or stretching.
  2. Pick up a multiple of 4 + 3. This might sound odd but it makes sense. The button band row is like this: P3, (k2, p2) to end. That means we want to have a wide 3-stitch section at the neck-edge of the button band to give us a place to pick up the neck ribbing. My size said to pick up 59 stitches which is (4 x 14) + 3 = 59. I had added about 1.5" to my sweater so as a result I picked up 67 stitches here. (4 x 16) + 3 = 67. 

Now, I can hear you all saying, "Heather, this is a lot to remember and what if I don't the right number?!" Well, I'm here to tell you that it's easy and you will get the right number. Just start at the bottom edge and pick up three, skip one, pick up three, skip one... all the way up the edge. 

Picking up stitches on the edge of a sweater for button bands

Picking up stitches on the edge of a sweater for button bands

Here's that that looks like. I've exaggerated the gaps here a bit but this is what you're aiming for. It doesn't make holes because everything fills in.

Picking up stitches on the edge of a sweater for button bands

Picking up stitches on the edge of a sweater for button bands

Make sure to pick up in the same place on every row. That will create a nice uniform edge on the front of your sweater. If you don't like where a stitch happened, rip back and pick it up again! This goes quickly and it's one of the most visually important parts of the garment so be sure you're satisfied with it. 

Picking up stitches on the edge of a sweater for button bands

Picking up stitches on the edge of a sweater for button bands

When I picked up this edge I just went for it. I did the pick up 3 for every 4 and counted when I got to the top. I ended at 66 stitches which happened to only be 1 stitch away from a multiple-of-4+3. I ripped back about 10 stitches and eased that one extra stitch into place to end with 67. 

Picking up stitches on the edge of a sweater for button bands

Picking up stitches on the edge of a sweater for button bands

If you have ANY questions about this formula or how many stitches you might need to add for your sweater than PLEASE email me. We will figure it out!

Creating a finished button band on a knit sweater

Creating a finished button band on a knit sweater

After we're happy with that first pick up edge then we can work the ribbing rows. It's just 5 rows and it goes fast.

Creating a finished button band on a knit sweater

Creating a finished button band on a knit sweater

That's it! Now repeat for the left side of the sweater with the RS showing, begin at the neck edge and work your way to the hem. We leave all of these stitches on holders until after we complete the neck edge.

Check in, ask questions, keep knitting!

Check in online on Instagram with the hashtags #BaaBaaCarbeth and #EweEweKAL. Follow @eweeweyarns on Instagram now! Plus you can join my Ewe Ewe Yarns Ravelry group if you like that type of thing. Whichever!

Email me if you have any questions! (It's always me on the other side of that form.)


Carbeth Cardigan KAL: Decreasing the yoke of the sweater

Decreasing the yoke of the Carbeth Cardigan

Decreasing the yoke of the Carbeth Cardigan

The decreases on the yoke of the Carbeth Cardigan are what make this sweater shine. 

One good thing to keep in mind about this cardigan is that we're not decreasing the sleeve stitches. If you've ever worked a regular raglan sweater we normally increase or decrease evenly across the body and sleeves to create the lines toward the armholes. On this sweater we're only decreasing the front and back stitches and all those sleeve stitches stay in place. That's what creates that really cool effect. 

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We're going to be decreasing on EVERY row which is a little unusual and that's why the decrease lines are so pronounced. 

Decreases for the knit rows

As we knit around the row we'll work a decrease either before or after a marker. It's important to do the right decrease at the right place each time. Before the marker is a right-leaning decrease or K2tog. After the marker is a left-leaning decrease so we SSK.

Here's how to K2tog

K2tog: Knit 2 stitches together into 1. Single right-leaning decrease.


Here's how to SSK

SSK: Slip the next 2 stitches, one at a time as if to knit, to the right needle. Insert the left needle into the fronts of these two stitches and knit them together. Single left-leaning decrease.


Decreases for the purl rows

The same concepts apply for the wrong side or purl side of the work. We're working a left-leaning decrease (LLD) before a marker and a P2tog after the marker. Again, it's important to do the right decrease at the right place each time because that's what gives us those amazing lines up the shoulders.

How to work an LLD

LLD: Slip the next 2 stitches one at a time as if to knit, insert left needle as if to SSK, remove right needle, purl these 2 stitches together through the back loop. Single left-leaning decrease.


Here's how to P2tog

P2tog: Purl 2 stitches together into 1. Single right-leaning decrease.

Check out these decreases! It's happening! 

Decreases on the Carbeth Cardigan

Decreases on the Carbeth Cardigan


Check in, ask questions, keep knitting!

Check in online on Instagram with the hashtags #BaaBaaCarbeth and #EweEweKAL. Follow @eweeweyarns on Instagram now! Plus you can join my Ewe Ewe Yarns Ravelry group if you like that type of thing. Whichever!

Email me if you have any questions! (It's always me on the other side of that form.)


Carbeth Cardigan KAL: Joining the body and sleeves

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We’ve done a lot of knitting and now it’s time to put it all together! There are a lot of moving parts on this step but it’s really just one row that we have to work. We're about the join the sleeves to the body and create the yoke of the sweater.

Parts of the Carbeth Cardigan before assembly

Parts of the Carbeth Cardigan before assembly

Here we have our pieces! The body is knit up to the armholes and each sleeve is worked to the same place. There are stitches on holders waiting at the underarms but otherwise we're going to work all of these stitches into one piece. 

I like to have all of my stitches on needles for this type of work before I start the row. That way I don't have to stop midway through. Here I have my body on my longest gauge-size circular needle. Everything will be transferred to this needle so it's best to have the longest cord you have. My sleeve in the upper left is on a shorter cord with below-gauge needle tips and my sleeve in the upper right is on a set up DPNs. And have your 4 stitch markers ready, too!  

Knitting the Carbeth Cardigan together

Knitting the Carbeth Cardigan together

Let's get this crazy row started!

Join your yarn to the leading edge of your sweater. Start with a ball that still has a lot of yarn on it so you know you'll make it through this section. Work across the Right Front stitches and place a marker on the needle. The numbers on the pattern should have land right at the right armhole.

Joining a sleeve to the Carbeth Cardigan

Joining a sleeve to the Carbeth Cardigan

Then it's sleeve time! Using your working yarn begin knitting the stitches from the sleeve on to the body needle. The pattern calls for 42 sleeve stitches and that's what I had. Phew!

Joining a sleeve to the Carbeth Cardigan

Joining a sleeve to the Carbeth Cardigan

There it is! The first sleeve is attached. We place a second marker and knit across the back of the body. Smooth sailing.

Joining a sleeve to the Carbeth Cardigan

Joining a sleeve to the Carbeth Cardigan

The second sleeve should be just as easy but it's a little insane looking with the double-points.  Nobody but a knitter would understand what's going on here! Place a marker and move around your stitches.

Knitting the Carbeth Cardigan together

Knitting the Carbeth Cardigan together

OK! Look at that -- both sets of needles are on the table and I'm placing my last marker. Just the left front left to knit.

Knitting the Carbeth Cardigan together

Knitting the Carbeth Cardigan together

And, done! Looking from the top this is a long and wild row but we have everything on there and all the parts aligned. 

Beginning the yoke of a Carbeth Cardigan

Beginning the yoke of a Carbeth Cardigan

There it is! It's looking like a sweater! The body has sleeves and the sleeves are in the right place. That's all we can ask for in this world, isn't it? :) 

Our next step is to knit 5 more rows even. As you work these stockinette stitch rows the sections at the sleeve might feel a little tight moving around the needle but it gets smoother at every row. Just shift the stitches around the cord to make it more comfortable. 

Carbeth Cardigan  by Kate Davies

Carbeth Cardigan by Kate Davies

Then we get to the part that makes the Carbeth Cardigan so unique -- the decreases! We're going to create those stunning lines up the yoke with only stitches, no seams. Every row of the yoke gets smaller by 4 stitches so I think it will go fast. 

Check in, ask questions, keep knitting!

Check in online on Instagram with the hashtags #BaaBaaCarbeth and #EweEweKAL. Follow @eweeweyarns on Instagram now! Plus you can join my Ewe Ewe Yarns Ravelry group if you like that type of thing. Whichever!

Email me if you have any questions! (It's always me on the other side of that form.)


Carbeth Cardigan KAL: Starting the sleeves

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We're ready to start the sleeves for our Carbeth Cardigan! These sleeves work up fast because they're in the round and don't require a seam. 

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One of the questions I've been asked most about this project is, "Should I work the sleeves on double-pointed needles or with magic loop?" Well, my answer is ... It's up to you! Both methods are great ways to knit small circumference projects.

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Double-pointed needles or DPNs are the tried and true technique for knitting small items in the round. We use them for closing the top of hats, small stuff animal projects, or sleeves like this! Here's a great tutorial on getting started with DPNs if you're unsure.

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Magic loop is also a great technique if you happen to have another long cord for your interchangeable needles. You need at least a 32" needle to handle the number of stitches for this project. Here's a very clear tutorial on how to get started with Magic Loop.

Pattern highlights

Don't forget to start the sleeves on your smaller than gauge-size needles -- I'm using US 10 (6 mm) for my ribbing. We work 20 rounds of ribbing before changing needle size to gauge-size -- US 10.5 (6.5 mm) for me. ALSO! If you're working with DPNs, don't forget like I did to change each needle for a larger one as you go around. Silly mistake! ha.

More info: We'll also be increasing as we work up the sleeves. See Increasing for Sleeves >

Check in, ask questions, keep knitting!

Check in online on Instagram with the hashtags #BaaBaaCarbeth and #EweEweKAL. Follow @eweeweyarns on Instagram now! Plus you can join my Ewe Ewe Yarns Ravelry group if you like that type of thing. Whichever!

Email me if you have any questions! (It's always me on the other side of that form.)

Carbeth Cardigan KAL: Increasing for the sleeves

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Just like our arms get wider from the wrist to the bicep so must our Carbeth Cardigan sleeves. We work the ribbing and then build each row increasing a set amount up the arm creating a beautiful triangle. 

The Carbeth Cardigan specifies working an m1 increase at the beginning and end of the round but there are two types of m1 -- one that leans left and one that leans right. I think we should work an m1L at the beginning of the round and an m1R at the end. Here's how that looks: 

M1L and M1R increases on a knitted sleeve

M1L and M1R increases on a knitted sleeve

By working these two increases in succession for the length of the sleeve you can see that it creates a tidy, uniform effect. The increase row will read as follows for this:

Step A: K1, m1L, k to 1 st before marker, m1R, k1.

How to work an m1L in knitting 

Instructions: With the left needle, pick up the strand between 2 stitches from front to back, and knit through the back of the stitch.

How to work an m1R in knitting

Instructions: With left needle pick up the strand between 2 stitches from back to front and knit through the front of the stitch.

One thing to keep in mind about these increases is that they should feel hard to work -- almost like you're doing it wrong. If the stitch feels easy then it might make a hole instead of a tight stitch. Take a minute and try again.

Update from Sohini, a fellow KALer:

A friend once told me a way to remember m1L versus m1R: m1leFt means your needle goes Front-to-rear and m1Right means your needle goes Rear-to-front.

Thanks, Sohini! I think this is a great memory tip and it will definitely help me to remember which is which for the rest of my knitting life. 

Continuing the sleeves

Work the sleeves until the increases are finished and your sleeves measures the suggested length. I added a few inches after I completed my increase because, much like my body, my arms are long. Try your sleeve on as you approach the last increase and decide if it's long enough or if you'd like to add a little more distance. 

And don't forget to make a second one!

More info: Have you decided if you're working the sleeves on double-points or with magic loop? Check out my other sleeve post >

Check in, ask questions, keep knitting!

Check in online on Instagram with the hashtags #BaaBaaCarbeth and #EweEweKAL. Follow @eweeweyarns on Instagram now! Plus you can join my Ewe Ewe Yarns Ravelry group if you like that type of thing. Whichever!

Email me if you have any questions! (It's always me on the other side of that form.)


Carbeth Cardigan KAL: Finishing the body

We are knitting the  Carbeth Cardigan  by Kate Davies using  Ewe Ewe Baa Baa Bulky yarn . See our  knit-along posts .

We are knitting the Carbeth Cardigan by Kate Davies using Ewe Ewe Baa Baa Bulky yarn. See our knit-along posts.

Here we are at the place where we’re done with our sweater body. We need to move some stitches around before we move on to the sleeves. 

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The Carbeth Cardigan is knit from the bottom up to the neckline and at this point we are done with the body and we’re going to hold these stitches until it’s time to attach the sleeves to the body. At this point we will rearrange the stitches to set aside a few for the underarms. 

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We slip the stitches around the needle without knitting them — see my working yarn at the beginning of the row?

The size I’m working says that I remove 4 stitches on either side of the marker so I slipped over to that point. Be sure to slip your stitches purlwise for this because knitwise will twist them and it will be visible later.  

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I like to use scrap yarn to hold stitches because it’s usually softer when knitting near it later. I always choose a thinner smooth yarn in a contrasting color. (There are always scraps of Ewe So Sporty hanging around my studio so that works perfectly!) 

Thread a darning needle with some scrap yarn and move the required number of stitches — 8 for me — over to the yarn.

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I tie it in a little bow to secure.  

Now we continue moving around the sweater bridging the gap just created by the underarm. Slip to your next marker and move those stitches.  

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Now we have all of our body stitches sorted out! I’m going to leave the main stitches on my interchangeable needle cord. I attached the stoppers and I’ll set this whole piece aside until we need it again after the sleeves are knit. Sleeves start Wednesday!

Check in, ask questions, keep knitting!

Check in online on Instagram with the hashtags #BaaBaaCarbeth and #EweEweKAL. Follow @eweeweyarns on Instagram now! Plus you can join my Ewe Ewe Yarns Ravelry group if you like that type of thing. Whichever!

Email me if you have any questions! (It's always me on the other side of that form.)