Dahlia Shaping

Dahlia is such a beautiful and interesting knit, but there are almost universal complaints about its front.

So here are my shaping notes for those who like things visual:

1. Dahlia Armscye
Since this is knitted sideways, I formed the shape by binding off about 5″ worth of stitches, then binding off one stitch every alternate row three times. To form the ‘horizontal’, underarm, section of the armscye – which, if I were knitting the cardigan normally, would be formed by binding off stitches – I just knit straight. Finally, I cast on 3 stitches every alternate row 3 times and then about 5″ worth. In the picture below, the length of the just cast on row looks inadequate; once those stitches were knitted, they expanded to the correct size.


Up to this point, it could be laid nice and flat to take pictures. After this stage, I continued on up the held shoulder stitches. This completed the armscye.


2. Dahlia Body
One of the biggest problems with the pattern was the lack of shoulder shaping. I used short rows, arranged like this:

Old short rows

And then ripped them out. I hadn’t understood the purpose of making the bottom half the collar in stockinette and the upper half in reverse stockinette. After trying the unfinished cardigan on, it was obvious: the collar folds along that  line, so that stockinette is always visible on the RS. With my conical shaping, it was impossible to fold the collar over.

I ranted at fate a little bit, but eventually undid the back sections – they’re small, thank goodness! – and reshaped them by splitting the short rows so that the fold line is the shortest length. Essentially, I just made smaller symmetric wedges on both sides of the fold line, instead of large wedges spanning the whole back top.

new short rows

This shaping is repeated on the fronts. To keep the picture clear I’ve only shown one wedge. There are actually six wedges on each front and back. Similar, but narrower, wedges shaped the cardigan back bottom to accommodate butt shaping. I decreased just inside the seed stitch bottom edge of the front to shape it into a curve, and also added gentle short rows to keep the front bottom edge longer than the top. I’d originally planned to make it much longer, wrap length, but ran out of yarn.

Anyway, I was getting tired of how much shaping and calculations I’m needing to do. So I’m taking a break from knitting for the next few days. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.

Have a very happy new year!


3 thoughts on “Dahlia Shaping

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