If you have never tried this method before it really has a lot to recommend it. Apart from the fact that there is no sewing up involved (yippee!) there is one major advantage to this kind of construction – you can check the fit of the pattern as you go and amend the length of the garment so it is just right for you.
Some people are a bit worried about the number of stitches you have to contend with at one time, but don’t forget you are knitting the front, back and two sleeves, all in one go. The best type of needle to use is a circular one but you will need use some long DPNs for the bottom of the sleeve if you aren’t familiar with the magic loop method.
A top down garment begins by casting on the stitches for the neck. The pattern will probably ask you to use up to 4 sets of stitch markers to show where each shoulder is. This is really important because you will be increasing at each side of the shoulder to form the sleeve. Stitch markers really help you to see where these increases go as well as identifying the different parts of the jumper.
When you finish the yoke you will put the sleeve stitches on a holder before casting on a few stitches for the underarm itself and continuing to knit the body until it reaches the length you want. Once you have finished the body you simply pick up the sleeve stitches and knit down to the wrist. As soon as you cast off your second sleeve your garment is ready to wear.
We would recommend trying your garment on regularly as you go so make sure you have a nice long cable on your circular needles. It’s really exciting to see how it looks and always motivates us to keep going. Also, if the fit isn’t quite right you might like to try one of Karen Templer’s tutorials, which are very clear and easy to understand, to help you adjust the pattern.
We hope that we have managed to explain how many advantages there are to embracing top down jumpers – we love them.