The nice thing about designing a bolero is that waist shaping is essentially a non-issue, which means that the back only has to deal with armhole and neck shaping. Huzzah! Don’t ask me how to decide where armhole shaping needs to start…I completely failed that challenge and had to get creative with my sleeve design (explanation to come).
Best advice I can offer on armhole shaping is: (1) you need it and (2) when you figure out where it needs to start, the math for the decreases goes like this…
[Width of back before decreases – Width of back after decreases] / stitch gauge = Number of stitches that need to decrease
[Overall height of back – Height of back from beginning of decreases] / row gauge = Number of rows over which decreases will be worked
Armholes are usually started by binding off the first inch or so of stitches, so subtract one inch worth of stitches and one row from the two numbers above and then divide the rows by the stitches. This will tell you how often you need to decrease. For example:
60 row / 20 stitches = 1 stitch every 3rd row
Because you want to decrease evenly on both sides, you multiple this by 2, so what you end up doing is decreasing 1 stitch on each side ever 6th row.
The back on this sweater is meant to meet the front of the sweater in a nice seam across the top of the shoulders. Think of your neck as a tree in the middle of a road. The back of your sweater is going to come up around half of it. You need to measure the circumference of your neck and dust of pi to figure out how to work the neck properly.
When to bind off across the center:
[Height of the back to shoulder seam] – [radius of neck] = How many inches before the top you need to set up for the neck straps
Math tip: C/2π = radius
How much to bind off across the center:
[Diameter of neck] * [stitch gauge] = how many stitches across the neck you need to bind off
Math tip: C/π = radius
Unless you are severely lop-sided, leave an even number of stitches on each side of the sweater. Leave the stitches on one side on a stitch holder, finish the strap on the side you end your binding off on, break the yarn, then finish the strap on the side on a stitch holder.
If you haven’t done a provisional cast-on before, don’t be daunted. It’s super easy. Here, see?
The lace chart is inspire by a Celtic eternity knot, though the back doesn’t really capture the interweaving that makes me love the motif so much. Here are some instructions I put together for a cabled eternity knot ages ago–I’d love to see someone do this sweater in a lace/cable combo, but the lace chart is only going to be available in the paid pattern or to anyone on my email list when I publish the pattern.
Hint, hint: Sign up for my enewsletter! (Guaranteed awesome and non-spammy.)