For the best look in seaming shaped shoulders (usually when there’s a set-in sleeve rather than a drop shoulder), it’s best to work the shaping using “short rows.” This may sound complicated but is so easy – and once you use this method, you’ll never “go back” to those bound-off “stair steps.” It’s only the shaping that’s different from the shoulder seaming you’ve learned in your basic instruction book – the seaming’s exactly the same.
Why are shoulders shaped? Our shoulders naturally slant downwards and, for a fitted sleeve or sweater, the shaping needs to follow the natural slant of the body. For very casual sweaters, this is less important.
Shaped shoulders are usually done in two or three sections of stitches per shoulder, depending on the fit of the sleeve and overall sweater. The instructions below are for a shoulder done in three sections, which is the most common. For this example, we’ll be using five stitches for each section. The needles for the shoulder edge will be numbered from 1-15 starting with the needle at the shoulder edge. The carriage will have ended at the neck edge (for this example, COL) with the needles/stitches for the neck on WY.
STEP 1Push needles 1-5 up to HP.
STEP 2Knit 1 row. COR.
STEP 3Wrap the yarn around needle #5.
STEP 4Knit 1 row. COL. You’ll see needle #5 wrapped.
STEP 5Push needles 6-10 up to HP.
STEP 6Knit 1 row. COR. Wrap the yarn around needle #10.
STEP 7Knit 1 row. COL
STEP 8Push needles 1 – 10 back to FWP, making sure the latches are open.
STEP 9Knit 1 row MY. End off, leaving a 3’ length of MY (to use to knit shoulders together and bind off).
Knit 4 rows WY and remove work from machine.Now you can do the same shoulder seam as you would with a drop shoulder – perfect every time!