I'm still working on the front pattern, the armhole is done. Next, I do detailed planning for the shoulder and necklines.
Using your measurements you drew in lines for the shoulder on the main schematic. I use a 1 inch drop, however you could be using a straight shoulder or a more angled one depending on your needs. I now redo these sections on knitting graph paper and I use the appropriate numbers of stitches and rows. I'm using sport weight yarn so on this pattern I will be doing a 4 step shoulder. If I was using DK or worsted I would probably end up with a 3 step shoulder. The dotted lines are the ones I drew in as guidance. I next draw in lines that follow the stitches and rows so don't forget that each step goes up two squares; one for the right side row and one for the wrong side row. I normally divide the steps as equally as possible, however this is where a little bit of the art comes in that can't be measured. Go look at yourself in a mirror and later when you get a chance look at the shoulders of others. Take a straight ruler and lay it along your shoulder line, starting at the bony protrusion (if that's where you are setting your sleeve). In my case my shoulder line is relatively straight until close to my neck and then the angle is steeper so I put the shortest step at my neck edge if my steps don't work out equally. If you have two completely different shoulders you can either draw the sides separately or use a shoulder pad to even yourself out. Often poor fit draws the eye of the observer to the difference more when one side fits and the other doesn't. It becomes a balancing act in choosing to fit each shoulder separately or to pad one to more closely match the other. If you have balanced shoulders you are probably wondering why someone would bother to do this? The answer is that if you just ignore it and the difference is large enough your hem will not hang straight on one side. Most people are not symmetrical and usually the differences are minor but it's nice to know what the fixes are if you need them.
For the neckline, I go through the same process and mark in my stair step decreases. In this case they turned out to be very even, one decrease every right side row. Sometimes you have to fiddle around and you may have to work in segments, varying the decrease rate to maintain the correct angle. Please do notice that I have a straight bit at the top where the neckline intersects with the shoulder. You want a small section that is knit straight here as it makes for an easier band attachment and looks better on the body. I usually use a little less than an inch for this, however your neckline can be any shape you want. If you are unclear about exact measurements pull something from your closet that you like the neckline of to measure and don't forget that your band width needs to be accounted for. If for example you are doing a jewel neckline with a one inch band you need to draw it in one inch lower and one inch on each side wider.
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