Before you protest that I’m only giving you one shoulder with back neck shaping, be assured you’re getting the whole thing, you’re just getting it in workable chunks. To use back neck shaping, the beautiful one I like, you have to knit one shoulder at a time and you have to know how to do short rows. If you’re feeling shaky about short rows, be assured they are not hard. Hit YouTube and/or your LYS for some remedial instruction. You need a short row turn that consumes a stitch (German Short Row, Wrap and Turn, etc.). If you use a technique which does not consume a stitch (turn and slip), you will need to work one extra stitch at each turn location. Roxy has a good comparison video if you need a quick refresher.
I will provide you with a workable spreadsheet for your measurements, yarn and needle once this test-knit part is done.
For this part of the test-knit you’ll need a nice stretchy long tail caston (German Twisted, Chinese Waitress, etc.) using a separate strand of yarn for the base caston strand. You will need the separate yarn to caston for the second shoulder when you finish this one so don’t short yourself. It’s important you have two strands of yarn with which to caston at the center back when you finish this shoulder. If you get stuck on this, ping me and I’ll walk you through it.
As with the straight back neck conti-rag you just knitted, you’ll need three distinct types/colors/shapes/sizes of markers, two for the shoulders, three for the purl side, and three for the knit side.
To do the neck shaping you will be doing short row turns every time you get to the center back end of the knit row. For this sample we’re doing turns on the fourth stitch past the previous turn. When you personalize the shaped back neck spreadsheet in the next bit of this tutorial, the number of stitches between turns and number of turns may be different. For my 4-ply cotton fingering the sequence is turns every three stitches for a total of six turns. For this test we’ll use four stitches between turns for a total of four turns.
Here’s the row by row with stitch markers. For this test we’re using the original caston count found in the straight-neck sample spreadsheet.
- Row 0: CO 21 (21 sts).
- Row 1: P2, pm, incL, p1, w&t (4 sts). (purl side front neck edge marker placed in this row)
- Row 2: K1, pm, K1, incl, sm, k2 (5 sts). (shoulder marker placed in this row)
- Row 3: P2, sm, incl, p2, sm, p1, incl, p2, pm, p2, w&t (11 sts). (purl side back raglan marker placed in this row)
- Row 4: K2, sm, k4, sm, k1, incL, k2, sm, k2 (12 sts).
- Row 5: P2, sm, incl, pm, p4, sm, p1, incl, p3, sm, incl, p6, w&t (19 sts). (purl side front raglan marker placed in this row)
- Row 6: k7, sm, k5, sm, k1, incl, k3, sm, incl, k1, sm, k2 (21 sts).
- Row 7: P2, sm, incl, p2, sm, p5, sm, p1, incl, p4, incl, p11, w&t (28 sts).
- Row 8: K12, sm, k6, sm, k1, incL, k4, sm, incL, k3, sm, k2 (30 sts).
- Row 9: P2, sm, incL, p4, sm, p6, sm, p1, incL, p5, sm, incL, p16, w&t (37 sts).
- Row 10: K17, sm, k7, sm, k1, incL, k5, sm, incL, k5, sm, k2 (39 sts).
- Row 11: P2, sm, incL, p6, sm, p7, sm, p1, incL, p6, sm, incL, p19 (44 sts).
When you’re finished with Row 11 your sample should look like this, with two balls of yarn coming off the center back neck. The Stitch-Maps chart for both shoulders is here.
Now it’s time to caston the center back and second shoulder.