Something that drives me crazy about top-down sweaters is that – at least on me – they tend to stretch around the neck and droop from the shoulders as time goes on. This is because there are no seams to create structure. The weight of the sweater drags everything down.

As my readers may remember, I found a solution to this in some experiments with the Tea Leaves Cardigan. The details will be different for Humulus, but the idea’s the same. I posted about the neckline and edging, adding shoulder seams, and adding the neck edging.  For the Humulus sweater I’m starting, the first thing to address is the neckline.

Instead of following the pattern, which starts with neck ribbing and continues seamlessly down the the yoke, I skip the ribbing (for now).  I cast on at the top of the yoke, which will create structure in the neckline when the sweater is done. Using a long-tail cast-on, there’s a bumpy side and a smooth side. When stitches are picked up later, it’s important that the cast-on’s smooth side faces out:

Cast On for Structure


Next I’ll knit a row that I’ll later use to pick up stitches for the neck’s ribbing.

It takes a bit of planning, but to me it is well worth the effort to add seams to the shoulders. After all the time I put into knitting a sweater, I want it to look its best – I certainly don’t want it to get droopy! Right away I’m going to need to figure out where to add the seam stitches for the shoulders. Humulus is tricky, with short row shaping and a bunch of increases to contend with. One morning – after plenty of coffee – I simply drew the pattern on a piece of paper to visualize it and did a bit of math. Then it was easy to figure out where the center of each shoulder was going to be.

What you’re seeing here are orange stitch markers at the short row turning points, and two pairs of white markers where I added in the two shoulder seam stitches. Once you’ve added in the two seam stitches, it’s important to not include them in the pattern’s stitch count. When seamed, they disappear and so should be treated as if they’re not there.

adding shoulder seams

I’ll include these seam stitches as I work the sweater’s yoke. Before long it’ll be time to use a mattress seam on them when it’s time to start the yoke’s pretty stranded design.

Next time, after I’ve worked the yoke, I’ll show you just where the added seam stitches figure into the shoulders.