Side note: This tutorial of mine originally appeared in the Editor’s Blog over at Creative Knitting. I’m a regular contributor there (on the blog, newsletter, magazine… GRIN!), so I hope you go check it out and support us! 🙂
When you start out on your first sweater pattern, you’ll quickly notice a little phrase, “At the same time.” For beginners, this can be a mysterious, confusing term, but we’ll break it down today.
“At the same time” is exactly what it says; “something” will be worked simultaneously, whether it is both sides of the neck or neck/armhole shaping. It means you just need to pay closer attention.
Working both sides of the neck “at the same time”
This begins with setting up the neck opening and separating each shoulder on either side.
Let’s pretend the pattern says this: “Bind off center 10 sts. Join new yarn and, working both sides AT THE SAME TIME, on every RS row, decrease 1 st at each neck edge twice.”
Are you nervous yet?
Step 1: Work up to the neck opening, as indicated in the pattern. In this case, we are going to work up to the center 10 sts. Go ahead and bind those 10 sts off.
Step 2: After you bind off, work to the end of the row.
Step 3: Turn to the WS and work up to the neck opening, where your stitches end directly before the bind off edge. Here, you are going to drop your current working yarn.
Step 4: Get a new ball of yarn and we are going to join it to the stitches on the other side of the bound-off neck edge. With that new yarn, work to the end of the row.
Step 5: You’ll notice that you now have to working yarns and two sides of the neck. At this point, we are going to treat each side as if it was ONE row. That means, now that you are on the RS again, you are going to work with the current yarn in our hands to the neck edge (working the decreases as indicated in our pattern). In this case, work until 3 sts before the neck edge, k2tog, k1… THEN, you’ll drop that yarn, pick up the yarn that is on the other side of the neck, and work as the pattern indicates to the end of the row.
See? ONE row, but two yarns. Don’t you feel better now?
Working multiple shaping sections “at the same time”
These situations demand that you pay a little more attention so as not to confuse your shaping segments, but if you grasped the neck separation, this part is a piece of cake. Let’s pretend that we are going to work neck shaping AND armhole shaping, like so:
“Decrease 1 st at each neck edge twice and AT THE SAME TIME, bind off 3 sts at beg of next 2 rows.”
Step 1: First, take a look at what happens at the beginning of your row. In this case, we have to bind off 3 sts, so that will be the first thing we do.
Step 2: After you bind off, continue to the neck edge and work your decrease as indicated. Move to the other side of the neck, work your decrease, and then work to the end of the row.
Step 3: Here’s the last part of that pattern — bind off your 3 sts at the beginning of the row and work as usual.
I hope this clarifies that sneaky little phrase a bit for you. If you have any questions about it, leave a comment to this post.