Knitting a yoke to me is the treat for completing the body and the sleeves. It can be simple or as complex as you want it to be.
Designing the yoke has several components. There are short rows, decrease rounds and colour work designs. For the beginner it can seem like there are so many things going on at once. I will break down the steps into manageable portions especially if this is your first go at designing a sweater.
It is highly recommended you read through these directions before beginning. Knitting is an art not a science and we will be adjusting numbers as we go. The samples should be reviewed for clarity. This is also why at the calculation stage we will use pencil, Designing the yoke has been divided into two sections. Lesson 4a will go over the short rows , decreases and where to place the decrease rounds. Lesson 4b will cover how to calculate and place design components into the yoke. If you want to do add colour designs into your yoke, you MUST read through both lessons. When adding colour components you will likely need to go back to your decrease numbers and make slight adjustments.
The first calculation will be to determine the stitch count for the base of the yoke. This number will be the start of the next calculations.
Then follow the work sheet to calculate the number of stitches required at the neck. This will provide us with our goal to reach after all decreases are complete.
Before we get to that we have to discuss an important design component, short rows.
What are short rows and why do I need them?
If you were to layout a pull over t-shirt or sweater you will notice that the back of the neck sits higher than the front. This is a purposeful component. When knitting in the round you are essentially completing a long tube. If you continued in this manner the back and the front neck line would be equal in height. You may own a sweater where you cannot tell the front from the back. This is because it is missing what we call short rows.
A short row is just that. It is a row that is not knit all the way around but instead goes part way, the work is turned and you purl back the same distance. What this achieves is more rows are added to the back of the neck line. This makes a comfortable neck line that does not feel like it is slipping in the back and chocking you in the front.
Follow the calculation sheet to determine how many short rows are required to achieve the proper height for the back of the neck.
You will not want short rows to appear obvious. For this reason it is recommended you split these sets and do some at the base of the yoke and the remainder at the neckline. For the short rows work across the back of your sweater to just before the seam stitch. Turn your work and purl back to the stitch before the seam stitch. That is one set completed and has added two rows to the back. The next set will be completed over more stitches. The calculation page will help you determine this.
Once we have calculated rows required to raise the back of the neck, you can begin to calculate where you will be completing decrease rounds and how many stitches will be decreased at each decrease round.
Decreases, how many?
When the body and sleeves of the sweater are complete, it is time to knit them all together. You will knit across the right front. Place reserve stitches for the underarm onto a stitch holder. Knit across the right sleeve, then across the back. Place reserve stitches from the body for the under arm on a stitch holder. Then knit across the left sleeve and then the left front. Do not panic if the area between the body and sleeves is a bit difficult to knit around. After a few rows this will become easier.
On your needle you will have a great deal of stitches and we know we will be reducing stitches until we have a number of stitches that will equal the neckline width of the sweater.
This is achieved by knitting decrease rounds. If you have knit round yoke sweaters in the past you may have noticed some patterns will have to do 4 decrease rounds and others may have as many as 7. I would not suggest less than 4 decrease rounds. I find that far too abrupt and not a comfortable fit it also requires aggressive blocking when complete. For this reason I suggest 5 decrease rounds.
The decreases are a percentage of the stitches on your needle once the body and sleeves are combined.
Five decrease rounds are calculated as; 20%, 20%, 25%, 25%, 25%. Complete the calculations following the instructions on the calculation pages. Do you end up with a stitch count close to your stitch count for your neck? (Again one or two stitch difference is not a big issue.) If so you are ready to calculate the next step, which is where to place your decrease rounds.
Decreases, where should they be done?
Where to place decrease rounds is also calculated as a percentage. Almost half of the yoke is knit without decreases. This helps to accommodate the shoulders comfortably.
Using your G measurement (yoke depth) then subtract your neckline finish. Say your yoke depth is 8 inches and your collar will be 1 inch. You will use 7 inches to calculate my decrease round placements. The calculation sheet has you use your row gauge, yoke depth and recommended percentages to calculate the placement of each decrease round.
You now have the number of short rows needed, the decreases to be done and when to do them.
Whew! Well done.
Be sure to head over to Murlo Discovery Channel for the video that accompanies this process.
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