Potential Ivy modifications

(From the Ivy photoshoot – of course I look this cosmopolitan every day, why do you ask?)

In the six months (whoa! six months already? where has the time gone?) since Ivy arrived at Knitty, I have continued to be amazed at how much feedback I have had on the pattern. I still get emails every month from knitters who are enjoying the pattern or who need help with a certain step. It’s very gratifying.

I also know that not every pattern is suited for everyone identically, so based on the six months’ worth of various blogosphere murmurings, emails, and progress over at the Knitalong, I thought I would make a note of possible ways you can adjust Ivy to make the pattern your own, if…

1. I don’t like bell sleeves.

A couple of knitters over at the Knitalong have simply avoided the bell sleeves by working the ‘twisted rib’ stitch even on the whole cuff, casting on fewer stitches as though both the decrease rows had already happened and simply working with that many stitches for the whole cuff. (I hope that makes sense.) I think this would produce a slim, fitted cuff.

2. The pattern’s too short for me.

(a) If it’s too short in the torso, your easiest fix is to add length on the back and front pieces after the side shaping increases and before the armhole decreases. As long as you add the same amount of length on all 3 pieces, you’ll be fine. A good time to test out if you need this extra step is to hold up the back piece against your body right before you would start the armhole decreases, and see where the waist seems to fall. If it falls too high, go ahead and add a few more rows in stockinette before starting the armholes.

(b) If the sweater is too short across the hips, you can extend the length by working more repeats of the ‘twisted rib’ Ivy pattern before beginning the decreases. This is something you’d have to anticipate before beginning the sweater, I’ll grant you. Adding one extra repeat will give you a little less than an inch more in length. I’m considering this option myself for a 3rd Ivy (when? who knows…someday….) to give it more of a jacket feel.

3. I’d prefer a pullover instead.

I’ve not tried this option, but I have received emails from knitters who want to try modifying Ivy into a pullover, and honestly I can’t think of a reason not to try it. If you were to work with 2 “back” pieces, and make the second “back” piece into a “front” piece by working some neckline shaping, that could work. You could fashion a collar by working a long thin single-repeat of the ivy pattern just as the collar on the wrap has, and then seaming it into the open neckline of the “front.” I imagine this could be attempted easily with a v-neck collar. You’d have to know your way around neckline modifications to do this, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be attempted. BUT, you might also want to consider finding a pullover pattern that you like and modifying it by adding the Ivy stitch along the hem and cuff.

Lastly, if you’re making any modifications that involve length, be sure to have some extra yarn on hand – I’m sure this goes without saying, but hey, you never know šŸ˜‰

(Wait, I can get this right, gimme one more shot…)

For most people, the biggest challenge seems to be working around the concept of the “at the same time” instruction for the front pieces, alerting you to work the waist shaping/armhole shaping at the same time as the neckline shaping. All this means is that you have to remember to occasionally increase stitches at one end (for waist shaping increases) while you also remember to decrease stitches at the other end of the piece, in a different way (for the neckline shaping decreases). For most people, this is just a matter of figuring out a notation system or memory system to help them keep track of how far they are in each set of shapings. I know I’m not the only knitter that uses the “at the same time” instruction, so if you’re coming across it for the first time with Ivy, then rest assured this knowledge will serve you well for other patterns.

I had one knitter suggest to me that I should modify the pattern to write out row-by row stitch counts to help track these things. Um. All I’ll say is, if someone else wants to spend the time doing this for several dozen rows on each of the nine pattern sizes, they can feel free to give me a call. šŸ˜‰
I’ve been working on a few other designs in the mean time and I have to say I’m disappointed not to have any complete submissions yet…but hopefully soon! I am never in a shortage of ideas, I’ll say that for sure. If only there were more knitting hours in the day…


  1. Anonymous · ·

    Maybe people want a pullover that also has a wrap around neckline at the front? Those are nice and you could probably put it together through seaming after the 3 knitted pieces are finished – you could seam up the ribbing.

    It’s a great design, Glenna.


  2. The trick I use to keep track of rows when I’m doing “at the same time” shaping is to use hash marks. If I’m decreasing the neckline every 4th row but the waist or armhole only every 6th row, I write out hashes


    that way I know when I’ve done a group of 6 rows and a group of 4 rows at the same time.

    I’m know this is not genious, but I usually figure out my hash system once I’ve read through the pattern.

    I would never expect the designer to write out row-by-row stitch counts for something like a vneck cardigan!

  3. Hi Glenna, I wanted to come by and say hello and thank you for your comment on my EBTKS sweater. Don’t know how long ago you left it, but I found it last week.

    I was curious to see if you’ve started yours yet, but only a bit of evidence to suggest you have. Can’t wait to see. I had so much fun making mine. I am definitely going to make another one in naturals/rusty reds, etc. But not for a while.

    I like your blog. The wraparound sweater looks grand. I think I have a few balls of the Kroy sock yarn in that same colourway. Curing in stash of course, but yours make me think I’ll pull it out soonish.

  4. Glenna, I will always look forward to any design coming out of your brilliant mind.
    I get these little notepads that I keep with my knitting, where I keep track of my rows/rounds/lace patterns/decreases/increases/ you name it because I simply wouldn’t be able to remember…I make the jots/tally/hash marks…
    Ivy really is an exceptional design.

  5. Good point Cathy! That would work really well…Especially if you could figure out a way to make the cabling on only one front piece and seam both fronts together…

    Amanda – I like your hash marks system! And yeah, I thought it was asking a little much, too, for row-by-row stitch counts. I’ve never seen a pattern that generous before šŸ˜‰

    Jayne – thanks so much for stopping by! I have started the EBTKS and have about 5 inches of ribbing. I’m waiting until I’ve at least gotten the ribbing done before posting a pic, that way I’ll have gotten through all of the colours at least once and I’ll be able to tell what the palette looks like. I think it will be similar to yours, lots of greens, blues, and purples. Kroy socks are great! A little scratchier, but much sturdier than other yarns like Essential.

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