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Speaking of turtlenecks . . .
Sasha Blaze
It occurs to me that this might be a handy place to save my Not-So-Famous BJD ribbed turtleneck pattern, since I keep mislaying the notepad where I scribbled the specs. If you want it, take it; it's heavily indebted to Elizabeth Zimmermann and you could easily unvent it yourself, as you'll see if you get that far in the esoteric knitting gabble (to quote EZ).

So far I've cast on the same 68 body stitches for every size from Sia through Hound, and it's worked just fine. The ribbing is stretchy enough that it conforms to whatever doll I'm knitting for (though I haven't tried it on Yukinojo yet; I'll report back when I do). Sizing only varies in the body length, sleeve length, number of sleeve increases, and turtleneck length--things that are easy to check and adjust as you go.

Ribbed turtleneck for Hound et al:

Sportweight yarn (I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease sportweight)
US size 3 (3¼ mm) double-pointed needles
US size 3 circular needle, 11”
US size 5 or larger needle for casting on; US size 9 or 10 needle for binding off neck
4 stitch holders

Body: Cast on 68 stitches. Divide on size 3 DP needles and join, being careful not to twist. Work in K2P2 ribbing for 4” (waist-length sweater) or 4½” (hip-length). Leave this piece on a length of scrap yarn while you knit the sleeves.

Sleeves: Cast on 24 stitches. Divide on size 3 DP needles and join, being careful not to twist. Work in K2P2 ribbing for 2”. Mark a pair of stitches (two K stitches or two P stitches) with a safety pin or stitch marker; beginning at about 2”, increase one stitch on each side of these marked stitches every 8 (or 10; this isn’t a big deal unless you’re obsessive) rounds until you have 36 stitches total. Keep knitting on these 36 stitches in K2P2 ribbing until the sleeve is 8½” long, or 9½” if you want to turn back the cuffs. Leave the first sleeve on a length of scrap yarn while you knit the second one.

Now for the fun part! From here on out, I’m pretty much quoting directly from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s book Knitting Without Tears, pages 69 and 73-75. It’s worth tracking down a copy if you don’t have one; with this book, you can figure out a lot of different kinds of sweaters for any size doll or person.

You are about to unite body and sleeves on one needle. Some stitches will be left on holders at the underarms of body and sleeves. The remaining stitches of body and sleeves will be combined to form the raglan yoke.

Put 8 stitches on holders at either side of the body, so that there are the same number of stitches on what will become the front and back of your sweater. The stitches on holders are the underarms. Be sure to have the underarm holders of the body-piece exactly opposite each other. On each sleeve, put on holders the 8 stitches that are directly above the line of increases.

When the four blocks of 8 stitches are all on holders, unite all the remaining body and sleeve stitches on the 11” circular needle, matching the underarms. Before you start knitting again, make sure that your K2P2 ribbing continues unbroken all the way around. Rejoin your yarn at any convenient place, such as the middle of the sweater back (stay away from the sleeves, at least the first time you try this pattern), and mark your beginning stitch. Knit 4 rounds in K2P2.

Put a safety pin or stitch marker at each of the four places where the body and the sleeves join, marking either a pair of K stitches or a pair of P stitches. Make sure that you have exactly the same number of stitches for each sleeve, and exactly the same number of stitches for front and back. You will decrease 2 stitches at each of the four marked places, every other round, like this:

*Work to within 2 stitches of the first marker. Decrease (either K2 together or P2 together, depending on which kind of stitches you’re confronted with). Work the two marked stitches. Make the opposite-slanting decrease (SSK or SSP).* Repeat from * to * three more times. This completes your first decrease round; you have decreased 8 stitches total. Work one round in pattern, knitting the K stitches and purling the P stitches.

Continue knitting, alternating the decrease rounds and the plain pattern rounds. You will soon find that it’s easier to switch from the circular needle back to the DPs. Keep decreasing in this way until you have 44 stitches left. Work around on these 44 stitches in your established K2P2 pattern for 2½”-2¾”. Bind off very loosely, using a large needle (size 9 or 10).

Almost done! Now you need to close up the gaps at the underarms. Do this by grafting or very loose 3-needle bind-off. Turn the sweater inside out, weave in the loose ends of yarn, close up the little holes at each corner of the underarms, and weave in those ends. Turn sweater right side out. Put on your Hound. Admire.

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That is a beautiful sweater! I would LOVE one or two for my boys! :)

Teach a woman to fish . . . ;-) I would happily talk you through the thrill of learning to knit, if you've never tried it--this is a great second-project kind of pattern, because it's just around and around and around until you're sick of K2P2 ribbing.

If I ever have time to knit any extra ones, though, I'll ping you!

Nah...I used to knit when I was a kid. I already have too many arts and not enough time. I know I will just get frustrated and angry. Would rather take my free time and finish my other projects that I am procrastiating on. ;)

But I DO appreciate it.


*faints at first photo*

You should work more with that...conceptual...art...thang...


Glad you posted this here!

I don't know why I never thought of taking in-progress sweater pictures before this year . . . I did think that one was pretty cool, so thank you for the kind words!

Leeda's lust for poor Lyon knows no bounds...and Lyon in that sweater is love.

Awwwwww, Leeda . . . I hate to tell you this, but Lyon is sort of unnervingly attached to his little brother Etienne. Erp.

I *am* happy with the way that sweater turned out--not happy enough to start another one, because all that ribbing is really, really boring, but still happy. :-)

Coming really late to the party...

Thank you so much for posting this; I've done a lot of basic knitting for human size stuff, but not for my doll yet, and was unsure where to start. I'm not doing exactly what you have up there - my Merlin is 27cm, rather smaller than your Hound - but you gave me an even better idea what to do than looking at a bunch of human size patterns and trying to figure how to size them down. I've been browsing some of your other knitting/bjd posts, and your mention of a slit in the back with buttons... that definitely solved some of my conundrum.

Also, thanks for mentioning the Zimmermann book; I forgot I had it - this is definitely a case where her methods help a lot. Also, much thanks for posting the pictures - looking at your doll and then what yarn weight you used gave me some ideas - Merlin's sweater is using up some of my sock yarn.

BTW, are you on Ravelry? My username there is Aretemc.

Re: Coming really late to the party...

Hi, arete! No, I'm not on Ravelry, though a lot of my friends are; I have so little online time these days that I'm afraid to dive into yet another big fascinating board . . . ;-)

And I'm glad this pattern gave you some ideas! Elizabeth's Percentage System ought to work for any size of body--27cm, 70cm, full-scale human--and it won't take much fiddling for you to come up with some stitch numbers that work for Merlin. The back opening has been my favorite tweak of the basic circular-knitted raglan sweater concept: it doesn't take much more work than just knitting around, and I really think the results are worth any extra thought that it takes.

I would love to see Merlin's sweater when you get it worked out! Could you post it here, or PM me on DoA (I'm Cynthia in FlintHills)?

Hi! I saw this pattern on DoA and I'd really like to try it out! I have one question, though...when you're putting the sleeve or body stitches on a spare piece of yarn, and then rejoining them together, what do you do with the strand of working yarn you have on each one? Feel free to just point me in the direction of a website, I've just never knit a sweater before so I have no idea how to connect pieces that each have their own individual working yarn.
Thanks so much!!

Hi! And go you, picking an in-the-round pattern for your first sweater--I love working in the round, and it's a treat not to have seams to sew at the end.

The best guide (and the one I stole the seamless sweater method from) is Elizabeth Zimmermann's classic book Knitting Without Tears. Basically, you ignore the old working yarn once you've broken it at the end of each piece (body and sleeves). Once you put those three pieces on one set of double-pointed needles, with the underarm stitches on holders, just tuck the dangling ends of old working yarn inside the sweater pieces and forget about them. Take your main ball of yarn, choose any starting-point that you like--I usually start at the center back--and knit around until you're ready to start the raglan decreases.

At the end, once you've grafted the underarms, you will darn in the ends of the working yarns on the inside of the sweater. It's a boring job, but not nearly as boring as sewing seams. ;-)

I would love to see your sweater when you finish it! And if you really get stuck, try taking your work to a knitting shop, if there is one anywhere nearby. Anybody who knits in the round can show you what to do with your pieces--it's much easier to demonstrate than to describe.

Oh, that's so much easier than I expected! Thanks so much for taking the time to explain it to me!! I think I prefer working in the round too, I dislike how raggedy the sides of flat work come out sometimes :/

I'll totally link you a picture if you want, although won't be too exciting when it's done because it won't be on a doll...I do all my knitting projects for my friend's doll since I don't have my own but still want to spoil hers XD

Bahaha so I went to my local knitting shop today and it was a disaster...I'm studying abroad and have NO idea how to explain any knitting terms in French and just ended up having to draw a picture of the cable needle that I wanted =_= The lady there is really patient, though, and I'm hoping to get on good enough terms that she could help me if I'm ever really stuck ^^

Eeeeeeek! Once I get beyond "tricoter," my grasp of French for knitting is totally exhausted. But knitting-shop ladies have been pretty cool in every place where I've found one--I think you'll find that your Mme Tricot is a great resource (and it doesn't take any common language for an experienced knitter to sort out a problem once the needles are in her hands).

Sorry to bother you again, but I have one other question about the pattern ^^;; I'm doing the sleeves but I don't really understand how to increase while keeping the ribbing. If I add a stitch on either side of two knit stitches, for example, should they be knit or purl? And then on the next increase are they the same as before or the opposite stitch? Once I have a bunch of increased stitches not in the K2P2, what do I do with them to get them back in the pattern?

Again, if it's too long to explain, go ahead and just link me to a website :D Thank you so much!!!

Gahh one more question >.< When you are counting out the stitches to find out where to put the sleeves, does it matter if you are dividing a pair of knit or purl stitches? I don't know if I'm miscounting or what, but I'm ending up with one stitch of the pair counting for the body and the other counting for the 8 under the arm (and just to confuse me more, on one side it's a pair of knits and on the other it's a pair of purls) Thanks again!

Oh, and as for what you're running into with the dividing, nope, I don't think that really matters at all. If it does, I think you will notice in short order! At that point you can either go ahead and finish your OOAK work of art, while making a note to remember this bit next time, or rip back and try again--I'll bet that the sweater will be fine either way. Knitting is wonderfully forgiving, and you can always fudge with a K2tog or P2tog, or a surreptitious increase, here and there if needs must.

And it's so true . . . on one side you'll have a pair of knits, but on the other side you'll have a pair of purls. That's just the way the math works with 2X2 ribbing (at least, it's the way it always works for me).

No bother at all! Honestly, I've never figured out a really tidy way to do the sleeve increases, and it looks different every time I knit an allover ribbed sweater. I do try to get back to the K2P2 as soon as I possibly can, even when that means changing the ribbing pattern over a few stitches. Let's say you're doing the sleeve increases on each side of a pair of knit stitches . . . before the increases, your stitch pattern will be PPKKPP. On the next round, you'll have PPIncKKIncPP. On the next round and until it's time the next increase round, I would be inclined to purl the increases: PPPKKPPP. The second set of increases will create even more weirdness: PPPIncKKIncPPP. At this point, I start getting experimental. Maybe I'll do something like PKKPKKPKKP--switching the "inside" pair of purl stitches to knit stitches. That will place the third set of increases right next to the center pair of knit stitches: PKKPIncKKIncPKKP. On the next round, you will have PKKPPKKPPKKP, with a threesome of purl stitches at the outer edges of the increase section. When you do the fourth set of increases, you can switch the stitches to even everything out: PPKKPIncKKIncPKKPP. It will look as if the increases and new ribs are growing out of the old ones.

Sometimes, though, I think that looks awful, and I'll fiddle in some other way with the stitches. It's also possible to fudge the placement of the later increases, moving them further away from that center column of KK, if that helps you get back to the K2P2 pattern. It's kind of amazing, really, how little the increases show and how little the temporary irregularity in the pattern matters, once the whole sweater is finished. ;-)

The only thing that's truly important is to make sure that your final number of sleeve stitches divides evenly by four at the end, and that wherever you put the holders for the underarm stitches, those stitches match the ribbing pattern of the underarm stitches on the body.

So far, so good??

Hi! Thank you so much for posting this. I don't actually own a BJD, so I'm a little nervous about gauge since I can't check the fit as I go. (I'm knitting for a friend's birthday.) If you happen to have the gauge for the project handy, that would be really awesome!

Again, thanks for sharing the pattern.

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