Knitting The Neck Ribbing of the “Arco Iris” Sweater

Neck cables and ribbing

This v-neck sweater, the “Arco Iris”, has a pretty ribbed and cable border around the neck to match the sleeve cuffs and body ribbing.

Once I got the sleeves put on hold, and began knitting the body, I decided to take on that v-neck ribbing. I had a quiet day to myself, and decided not to knit round and round, but take on the challenge of the neckline.

Picking up Neckline Stitches

This pattern tells you exactly how many stitches to pick up for each section of the neckline. I had no trouble picking up stitches for the back of the neck. Each loop was easy to see. But going down, and then up, the V got tricky.

I have decided that I absolutely hate doing this. I came close to throwing the knitting across the room.

For this sweater the stitch count must be exact. The cables and ribbing are done in multiples of 9 / 18. I ripped out my pick ups more than I will admit, and finally gave up and did the best I could.

I ended up 5 stitches short and added those stitches back in (using backwards loop cast ons) when I did the first row around. So my advice to you is to maybe keep this in mind so you don’t go insane.

cats and knitting

Skittle the Cat had to jump up into my lap at exactly the WRONG TIME. I had dropped a stitch and was trying to fix my problem while the cat insisted that I pet her. All I could do was laugh at the unlikelihood of that. Finally she settled in on my lap and was happy for me to continue knitting.

The first couple of rows of directions on the neck are the set up pattern for the cables and rib. Once that is done, the pattern gets very easy.

Once I finished the neckline, I put my body stitches onto waste yarn so I could try the sweater on and see how it looks. I actually like it a lot. My cables are off, but once I did one wrong, I had to continue to do it the same (left leaning / right leaning) way. Most people will never notice my mistake.

When you are told to do a “cable crossing every 4th round”, do the cable as you did in the beginning. The “lefts” will always be left. Each cable will be done the same way – with yarn held either to the back or front. If you are not familiar with cables, this could be confusing.

As I knit, the circle for the neck opening kept getting smaller, and I was getting worried, but it ended up perfect. That front part of the V is a decrease, so the circumference gets smaller on every round. I ended up using a 16” circular needle but began with a 24 inch.

Don’t make the bind-off too loose. You won’t want the neckline gaping open. Also, don’t make it too tight!

This pattern is not one of the easiest to follow. I’ve knit quite a few sweaters over the past couple of years. Some were lacking in directions, one in particular I simply hated, and many have been fun and easy to knit. Occasionally there will be a small mistake in a pattern, which is understandable. Common sense may be all that is needed to keep knitting.

I respect the time and effort that knitwear designers have put into creating their patterns. I suppose a designer may assume the knitter will figure it out. But I like to be told specifically what to do when knitting. Usually all it takes it one more sentence to explain.

What About the Test Knitters?

What is a test knitter? Someone who knits the project just as it is written. They look for problems and make sure the pattern is ready for everyone to knit. Usually designers will search for knitters who will make the pattern in a variety of sizes to be sure the pattern works for everyone. The testers are in touch with the designer and communicate any and all problems with the pattern to make it read to sell.

One test knitter included no notes at all. I guess they don’t have to. (I recently finished a Jenn Steingass sweater and she had a ton of test knitters, who did include helpful notes, and that pattern was very easy to follow.)

Test knitter Toriyu had helpful information which I am actually following, but she is the only one with useful notes.

The other test knitters had skimpy notes such as “made the sleeves longer”. Not a single one of them found problems with the purl increases… apparently. Or if they did, they may have told the designer, who knows? All I can say is that I found a few parts of the directions difficult to understand. And I probably would have gone ahead and done the purl increases incorrectly without realizing.

I’m going to leave notes on my Ravelry page incase anyone has my same problems.

There have been 76 projects knit (according to Ravelry numbers as of the date of this writing), or begun, by knitters such as myself, on this sweater. The pattern came out in December 2022, which means it is a new pattern (this is January) and lots of knitters plan to knit it. In the end this should be a beautiful new addition to the wardrobe.

Onward I knit. I’m thinking the most complicated part is behind me.

v-neck sweater Arco Iris
Finished the v-neck before the body and sleeves.

2 thoughts on “Knitting The Neck Ribbing of the “Arco Iris” Sweater

  1. Pingback: Alternating Yarn Skeins When Knitting in the Round – New England's Narrow Road

  2. Pingback: Casting On and Beginning The “Arco Iris” Sweater Pattern – New England's Narrow Road

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