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First point of business, I want to qualify that you do not have to do anything for your sweater-along project that I am doing for my project. As the leader I feel obligated to set an example and do things by the book, especially for my less experienced readers. But this 'Along' is a free one, you can do whatever you like, in whatever way you like and have fun!
Now for the main course, I cast on for my Hourglass Sweater for my sweater-along! Actually, what you see above is my second time casting on. You know all that work I put into my swatch? Well, it was a different tension, it's off by 3 sts. I don't know why it's off, I used the exact same needles, maybe I just naturally tighten up when knitting a hat? Or possibly I'm self conscious about my tension when I'm watching, but zone out when knitting the project? Or ....... I didn't use the correct needle size for the hat? That could be it - blush. I probably forgot to change needle sizes when I moved past the bottom band.
Regardless, I have a new swatching insight to share: when making a sweater from the top-down, you might as well just cast on and use the sweater to test your tension. If it's off and you have to rip it you'll have done the same amount of work as making a separate test swatch.
Anyway, no harm done, because the tension was actually the second reason why I ripped it back. The true reason was that I've been making my top-down raglan M1L & M1R increases incorrectly! Well, that's not really accurate, my increases were correct, but they weren't nice looking, and there is a better way to do it.
Let me explain - when making a M1L or M1R increase, most instructions tell you to lift the strand directly between the needles (see Interweave's Knittingdaily.com Glossary, or Knittinghelp.com).
Usually this increase works just fine and I've had no complaints until recently. But this time (sorry, no pics, I didn't have my light box at home, and honestly, I'm not THAT ambitious a tech knitter) the seam was raised, the stitches along the seam were large and elevated above the rest of the knitting. It wasn't pretty, no likey. I recalled an increase a client showed me years ago from a book (The Knitter's Handbook by Montse Stanley), and figured lets try it! Of course, I never really took in all the information at the time, and what I ended up doing isn't really what was in the book, which I think was a Raised Increase.
What I did was lifted the 2nd strand down, and twisted the stitch an extra 180 degrees. I also added an extra stitch inside my increases to decrease the amount of pulling on the raglan stitches. Anyway, my raglan looks gooooood!
As always, you can find us at knitomatic.com!
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