Friday, June 25, 2021

How to Knit a Rectangle

 Thank you guys so much!  

First of all, I've been remiss in telling you how much I appreciate the warm welcome back and specially the love and support that came my way while I was having my 'dark time.'  Many of you got in touch to make sure I was okay and I very much appreciated it.  I'm also touched by how many of you immediately welcomed me back into your homes when I began blogging again. It means the world to me.  

I also appreciated all the positive comments on my summer cotton top.  You know, the one made out of rectangles.

Many of you asked me for pattern/design details so, here you go:

But hopefully I can describe what I did a little more clearly in hopes that you don't have quite so many scratched out numbers.

1.  Gather your yarn, needles and knit a gauge swatch.  If you can create an accurate gauge swatch, it would be tremendously helpful.  If you can't/don't, you may find yourself doing steps 2 through 5 a second time.  Maybe even a third.

2. Decide how big your sweater needs to be and calculate how many stitches you'll need.  If your gauge swatch says you get 4 stitches to the inch and you want a 40 inch sweater, you'll need 160 stitches over all for example.  (4 x 40 = 160)  If you are of average proportions, you'll need to divide that number in half to get your front and back numbers.  (160/2 = 80)  If you happen to be busty or perhaps your belly  pooches out more than your back flab...  You may want to adjust your numbers slightly.  For example, in my case, I cast on 95 stitches for the back and 100 for the front.

3.  Determine how big to make the arm holes.  You could use a tape measure to measure from the top of your shoulder to your underarm, or you can take the easy way out and measure a favorite shirt from shoulder seam to underarm seam.   You can also take your measurements to determine how long you will want your top, or you can go the easy route there too and simply try it on occasionally as you knit.

4..  Now, you've got your yarn, needles and the number of stitches you'll need for the back half of the top so cast those stitches on.  Any cast-on method should work.  

5. Knitting flat (back and forth, not in the round) garter stitch until you reach that armhole measurement then put these stitches on a holder.

6.  Now, repeat steps 4 and 5 for the front but don't put the stitches onto a holder.  I counted my garter ridges to make sure the two pieces were the same length but again, if you are overly busty or hunched back... you might want to make small adjustments to the lengths.

7.  It's time to join the front and back together and knit in the round.  I put a marker at the first underarm join but it's not mandatory.  If for no other reason, I like to have the marker when I'm knitting stockinette in the round so that I know I'm making progress each time I come to it.

8.  Keep knitting around and around and around.  When you get that, "It's bound to be long enough by now!" feeling, simply pin the shoulder seams together and try it on.  Then go knit some more because you know it's not long enough yet.

9.  Once the top is an inch or two from being long enough, revert back to knitting garter stitch (knit a row, purl a row) to make up that extra inch or two and bind off.  Hate purling?  Do as I did and wrap and turn at the end of the round and knit back to the beginning.  Wrap and turn again, knit around to the marker, wrap and turn and....just keep going until it's long enough.

10. With the shoulder seams pinned, try the top on again.  This time, move the pins to mark where you want the shoulder seam to stop and the neck hole to begin.  I used clothes pins for this because it was easier than trying to pin and unpin safety pins.  Once marked, sew up those shoulder seams.

11.  If your cast-on stitches are nice and pretty, you can consider the top finished.  If not, knit an icord border around the neck and arm holes.

12.  Weave in those ends and now you really are finished!

And of course, please, make your top your own!  Add a cable running down the front - or all around for that matter!  Use a decorative stitch instead of plain garter and stockinette. Knit the entire front and back seperately and seam the sides instead of knitting the body in the round.  I used garter and stockinette because I wanted it to be 100% mindless and fast.  And hey - if you're feeling adventurous, instead of icording the armholes, pick up those stitches and knit some sleeves!  You could even add a collar if you wanted to.  

Just make it your own!  And of course, send me a photo when you're done.


  1. Your notes made me laugh. Even when I buy a designer's pattern I have to turn it into something that looks like that so my brain can translate it. You did a great job putting your pattern into words. I wish more designers would write them theirs the way you do. Too much is left to the imagination in most patterns.

  2. I like your advice about knitting a gauge swatch (or not) -- so many people hate swatching, but it is kind of important if you want something to fit and/or come out to be a particular size!

  3. My eyes bugged out in my head when I saw your written instructions...until I saw you continued down below! Thank you for taking the time to write everything down for us all. Someday I may actually be able to wear something I made like this so I'm keeping the instructions handy.
    Blessings and hugs,

  4. Jeanne I so appreciate your explanations!!

  5. You did a great job on your top, I love the colors and the price!!!!! It fits you perfectly. So glad you are back and the dark times are receding a bit. It is good to see your beautiful smile.

  6. Love the top and love you are back!

  7. So happy to see your smiling face.