In this case, I'm talking about the neckline and the shoulders of the Ty Cobb Sweater.
|Neckline decreases. (left: HOF; right: reproduction.)|
|Example of "smooth" decreases|
As you can see, the neckline tapers from the button placket to the shoulder. Generally when I've seen stitches decreased, the idea is to create a smooth line, so that one part of the knitting looks like it's going underneath. You see that kind of "smooth" decrease most often on socks, as I've shown in a close-up from one of my own designs. However, for the Ty Cobb Sweater, the neckline decreases go the opposite way (note the red circles), which makes them stand out. When I first saw that shaping, the lack of aesthetics almost made me cringe. (Sorry. That's my inner knitting designer talking.)
|Example of mattress stitch join (inside).|
Fortunately (at least for my inner designer), the lines everywhere else on the sweater are GORGEOUS--so nice, in fact, that the question becomes, "Why aren't we still making them this way?" I don't mean mass-produced sweaters either; even hand-knit ones no longer have such elegant construction.
The nicest example appears at the shoulders. Nowadays, shoulders are either attached together using a sewing machine (this is generally seen with store-bought sweaters) or something called a "mattress stitch." While a mattress stitch join can be pretty on the outside, it leaves a thick seam on the inside.
|Original HOF Sweater shoulder join, outside and inside|
|Grafting the shoulder using a Kitchener Stitch|
Well, obviously there have to be seams; they're just invisible. It turns out that if you use a form of grafting called a "Kitchener Stitch," you can use a sewing needle to create the look of knitted stitches. (Note: For you history buffs, yes, the technique was named for Lord Kitchener, although clearly it predates World War I. Heaven knows what it was called before that.) It's a standard technique for closing the toes of hand-knit socks, but it's not often found in shoulders. As you can see, my Kitchener-Stitched reproduction ends up with shoulders just as pretty as those on the original.
|Reproduction with finished shoulder join|
From here on out, the design elements continue to be both graceful and logical--except for those damn decreases. (Yes, there are more of them.) Obviously, if I were the one designing the sweater, I'd do them differently. However, since the point is an accurate reproduction, I've just sucked it up and moved on. Whatever.