Unraveling Sweaters - Adding in some body shaping

Once again, I've got homework assigned to me after a Virtual Knit Night. LOL, it even comes from a teacher. ;)

We had a great discussion on adding some body shaping to the Grouse Creek sweater. I promised I would share it in writing here. Hopefully it all makes sense. If not, you can alway go back and watch the Facebook Live from last night. As always, if you have questions, feel free to comment below or send them to me directly through the store.


So the Grouse Creek has no shaping in the body. This means you just keep knitting around and around until you get it to the desired length you want and then do the ribbing. Then, ta-da! You are done. Awesome, right?!?

But what if you want some shaping added in? It's easier than you think.... Just requires some measuring and math. It's very similar to the the sleeve adjustments math. We can do this!


Taking measurements

Ok, now I'm going to assume that you followed my tip from last time and stopped to do your sleeves before finishing the body. This means whatever yarn you have left, you can play with to make the body the way you want. I do find that a lot of Berroco's patterns are a little short in the body area for my liking so I'm quite happy to use more yarn and add in some length.

First thing we want to do is measure the cirumfence of the sweater to confirm our numbers. (You can just take the numbers off the skematic but I like to double check.) Lay the sweater out flat on a table, making sure none of the body stitches are bunched up. Measure across and then double the number for circumference. For this example let's go with 40" circumference.

Then put your sweater on and see how it's fitting so far. Clip a stitch marker onto the material (not onto the cord between stitches). Measure down from the stitch marker to where you want the sweater to end. Let's say the measurement is 12". We're going to subtract 2" for the ribbing (you can change this number to if you want) as per the pattern, so we have 10" to play with for making adjustments.

To figure out how many rounds to play with, we have to check the gauge (or you can measure your own). The pattern gauge is 32 rounds per 4". So 32 divided by 4 gives us 8 rounds per inch. Times 10", we have 80 rounds to play with.


Placing extra markers

Because we are going to be doing some body shaping, you'll want to add in some extra stitch markers to help you figure out where to make the increases and/or decreases in the rounds. You'll be doing two stitch adjustments in the front and two in the back so the easiest thing to mark is the middle under the arms.

To add in stitch markers to mark the middle under the arm, go back to the dividing instructions in the pattern where we removed the sleeve stitches. Your starting point for adding in the stitch markers is going to be your beginning of round marker (BOR). Using my size as the example, it said knit over 55 stitches, remove sleeve stitches then cast on 12 stitches. To get to the middle, I'm going to count over 55 stitches plus half of the 12, so 61 stitches. So from the BOR marker, I'm going to go 61 stitches to the left and then same thing to the right. (Tip: Make sure these markers are different from your BOR marker.)

From these stitch markers, you can decide where you want your increase/decrease stitches to be. I'm going to use 4" for this example, which will be 24 stitches, but you can decide where exactly you would like them. To make things easier for you, I would suggest putting new markers in at the four spots and take out the two side markers. To do this, I would count 24 stitches past the marker in either direction and clip in the new ones.


What kind of adjustments to make?

Now that is the question. It depends on your shape and what you'd like. Either a-shape or hourglass. We'll do the math in here for both. :)



If you're doing an a-shape, you need the bottom circumference larger than the bust circumference. The area you need to measure is your hips and then add on any positive ease you want as well. (Reminder, positive ease is larger than your actual size.) For this example, let's say you need to add on 2" to the circumference. According to the gauge that will be 12 stitches. Because we are increasing in four spots each increase round, divide 12 by 4 and we get 3 increase rounds. 

To fit these 3 increase rounds evenly in the 80 rounds, we divide 80 rounds by the 3 increase rounds and get 26.67. This translates into one increase round followed by 26 plain rounds.


Hourglass shaped

Doing an hourglass shape, you are going to have three sections - decrease rounds, plain rounds, and increase rounds. Besides the original measurements, you'll need two more. The first one being how many inches you want to decrease and how long you want your plain section in the middle to be. For this example, let's say we want to decrease 2" in the circumference, and we want a plain section in the middle of 4". 

So let's start with figuring out the rounds we're working with for each section. Keeping with the example numbers, the 10" we have to work with is 80 rounds. First we'll take out the plain section in the middle. 4" is equal to 32 rounds for the plain section. That leaves us with 6" or 48 rounds for the decrease and increases. We'll divide that number by 2, leaving us 3" or 24 rounds for either decreases or increases. 

Now to figure out the decrease and increase rounds. To adjust the pattern by 2" we need to take out (or add) 12 stitches. Remembering that we have four spots for adjustments, we divied 12 by 4 and get 3 adjustment rounds. To fit the three adjustment rounds evenly in the 24 rounds we have to work with, we divide 24 by 3 and get 8 rounds. This translates into 7 plain rounds and one adjustment round.

So our rounds for an hourglass shape would work out to:

Knit 7 rounds plain, 1 decrease round (x3)

Knit 32 rounds plain

1 increase round, knit 7 rounds plain (x3)


Adjustment round patterns

Whether doing increases or decreases, the adjustment rounds are pretty much the same. Assuming that you put the four markers in, this is what your increase round would look like:

Starting at the BOR, knit to first marker, m1, sm, k to second marker, sm, m1, knit to third marker, m1, sm, knit to fourth marker, sm, m1, knit to end.

And your decrease round:

Starting at the BOR, knit to 2 stitches before first marker, ssk, sm, knit to second marker, sm, k2tog, knit to 2 stitches before third marker, ssk, sm, knit to fourth marker, sm, k2tog, knit to end. 


Bottom ribbing options

I mentioned last night too that you could play around with your ribbing at the bottom of the sweater. You could do

  • longer ribbing
  • shorter ribbing
  • split hem on one side
  • split hem on both sides
  • make the back ribbing longer than the front ribbing

The choice is up to you. :)


Ok. I think that's about everything I covered last night. If you have any questions or you need help in doing any of these adjustments, you know where to find me.

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1 comment

Hey Lauren! It’s your teacher friend here. And I’m giving you an A+ on this homework! It’s clear, organized, thorough, and….you handed it in way before I expected you to. Thanks so much for doing this!

Linda Ambrose

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