Sabine is a paradox.Â It looks interesting, but fits like crap.Â I wore it briefly on Sunday to a Hanukkah festival and received more comments in 30 minutes than I have for any other knitted item I’ve made.Â What gives??
Sabine is a simple, top-down raglan.Â Over the years, I’ve made no bones about my contempt for the top-down raglan.Â Easy to make, yes, but the fit sucks. Â The back invariably rides up so the sweater doesn’t hang level.Â Plus, the underarms are bulky.Â Top-down cardigans fit even worse than pullovers; if they’re not buttoned up all the way, the fronts don’t hang straight but, instead, flare to the back.Â I’m probably going to get hate mail for this next comment: I think the February Lady Sweater looks wonky and unattractive, primarily because it flares to the back at the bottom, causing the fronts to hang funny.
The rationalization that the top-down raglan sweater requires almost no seaming rings hollow for me.Â It’s akin to saying, “Yes, my sweater fits weird and looks like crap but who cares because I didn’t have to sew it. Yay!”Â Where did this aversion to simple mattress stitch originate?Â I know EZ has probably helped perpetuate it, but her most successful seamless sweaters were knit bottom up with round yokes and short row shaping at the bottom hem and neck to get a better fit. True, clever knitters like Jody have improved on the top-down technique, but in my opinion no amount of fiddling gives the same fit as most set-in sleeve sweaters.
I like projects with minimal finishing as much as the next knitter.Â However, I typically don’t knit something that looks “just okay” simply because it promises minimal finishing.Â Unless the sweater has a lot of stranded colorwork, why do people knit top-down style sweaters?
Admittedly, I’m guilty as charged because I’ve made both Sabine and Tivoli.Â But both of those projects were driven by a sense of optimism, not conviction.Â What’s your excuse?Â Discuss.
And since I can’t possibly have a post without a photo, here you go.
A little ditty I made on Sunday night.
Knit in pieces and sewed together, of course.
37 Responses to “Top Down — Why?”