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Add neck shaping to your raglan with short rows

Updated: Aug 17, 2022

There are some beautiful raglan sweaters out there that don’t have neck shaping. Instead of avoiding those patterns, what if you put in some neck shaping of your own?

I’m going to walk you through adding a shallow short-row neckline to a raglan that’s knit in the round from the bottom up.

To help you apply this to your own project, I've created a downloadable PDF worksheet - you can get that here:

Add neck shaping to your raglan
Download PDF • 46KB

An illustration of a raglan with no front neck shaping in black and white. On it, an orange sketch line shows were the neck shaping should be to make a minimum amount of room.
You need room for your neck, or your sweater will ride up onto your neck and pull.

Why bottom up?

I have noticed that neckline shaping is most often omitted when there’s colorwork, and knitting (and designing) a colorwork sweater is easiest when worked from the bottom up. My goal is to give you some room to breathe!

Why shallow?

Short rows can’t accommodate long vertical lines because all the stitches stay live on the needle. If you turned your work at the same stitch over and over, you’d create a vertical line, but you couldn’t work the next row. Because all the stitches stay on the needle, there would be a large gap between stitches. You can space your turns as far apart or as close together as you like in the same row, but if you want to create a scoop neck, you’ll need to bind off instead of working short rows.

Collect info from the pattern

Note: I've used inches below. You can use cm - it all works the same. Whichever unit you use, be sure not to round.

Determine gauge per inch

If you’re working with a gauge over 4”, divide the number of stitches and rows by 4 to get the gauge over a single inch. Do not round this number.

Stitch counts

You will need to know the number of stitches in the front and each shoulder. This will be the number of stitches in the last row before a