Briar Rose Vintage KAL: A few more tips

I’ve been following our Flickr group discussions carefully, and there are 3 topics I thought would be important for me to touch on here for everyone to read.

Working decreases on purl rows

I may have touched on this elsewhere, but I wanted to mention it here too. In the pattern as written, it tells you to start off the armhole decreases as follows:

k2tog each end of the next 4 rows

Either this is an editing mistake, or they assumed that you would understand that on the purl rows, you would actually p2tog. Either way, the general rule is work knit-oriented decreases on knit rows, and purl-oriented ones on purl rows.

Now this is an area that I’m usually fairly anal-retentive about, as you’ll know from when I touched on mirrored increases earlier in the KAL. But I didn’t talk about decreases. Here’s how I work them when I have to do decreases on both sides of a piece, like for the armholes on the back of a sweater.

When the right side (RS) is facing me, I knit two stitches, then work a SSK decrease, which slants to the left, and will follow the slope of the decrease of the armhole. I knit across the row in pattern until I have 4 stitches left. I work a k2tog decrease, then knit the last 2 sts. This slants that decrease to the right, following the slope of the decrease of that armhole.

When I need to work decreases on the purl side as well, I want those decreases to be facing the same way as the decreases on the knit row, right? On the edge where I worked a k2tog, I work a p2tog. From the right side (RS) of the piece, they will look exactly the same. Then on the edge where I worked a SSK, I work a p2tog tbl (purl 2 together through the back loop, which is shown here). How do I keep track? Well I just remember those plain k2tog and p2tog stack up on the same side, and remember the “weird” ones are on the other side. Not very scientific. 😉 But if you’re ever in doubt, just turn your work to the RS and take a look and see if the decreases are slanting in the same direction.

The pocket

I wasn’t initially planning to cover much about the pocket because it’s fairly straightforward. However, Ingrid and Liz discovered that the pocket, worked to the size according to the pattern, comes out a bit bigger than pictured in the pattern. My mistake for making an assumption when I hadn’t yet knit the pocket myself! 🙂

The pattern as written:
Using larger needles, cast on 27 sts.
1st row – K.
2nd row – K twice into first st, k11, k3tog, k11, k twice into last st.
Repeat the last 2 rows until side measures 3″. Cast off.

[From the “Make Up” section]
Sew on collar and pocket, working 1 row of D.C. around pocket.

Here’s the first thing to clarify that I didn’t notice was in the pattern until the Flickr discussion: double crochet in Australia and the UK is single crochet in the United States (here is a comparison chart). So when you work a crochet border on your pocket, work it in single crochet (video here), those of you in the U.S.! While the pattern doesn’t specify, you’re going to want to work in a crochet hook as close to the same size diameter as the needle size you used to knit the pocket. If you used 3mm needles to knit the pocket, try and use a crochet hook close to 3mm as you can. In the U.S. there’s no 3mm hook, so you’d want to go the next size up, which would be D, or work with a smaller hook but work pretty loosely to make up the difference.

Don’t have any crochet hooks close to the size of your knitting needle, don’t feel like getting one or don’t know how to crochet (though it’s a very useful craft to learn)? That’s okay, too. There’s no rule that says you must crochet a border on the pocket! You can go ahead and sew the pocket on as-is if you’d like.

Now here’s the second thing to clarify about the pocket: if you work it in the same size needle as the body, and work to 3″ along the side edge, you may discover it seems a little big. There are several ways to fix this.

You can try going down a needle size (I tend to for garter stitch, anyway, and did so for my collar) to make it a bit smaller overall.

To make it less tall, don’t work until the sides are 3″, but try a little bit shorter, like 2 or 2.5″.

You can also cast on less stitches, making sure the final number of stitches is still an odd number like the original pattern. So instead of casting on 27 and working every other row like this:

2nd row (and every even row) – K twice into first st, k11, k3tog, k11, k twice into last st.

You could instead do something like cast on 23 sts (not 27), and work every other row like this:

2nd row (and ever even row) – K twice into first st, k9, k3tog, k9, k twice into last st.

It changes the pattern very little, but it will keep the same dimension, just cutting a few stitches from each side.

And that brings us to the last thing to clarify about the pocket: K twice into the first st is just a form of increasing one stitch, like knitting into the front and back of a stitch (KFB). You can choose whatever type of increase you’d prefer. If you plan on omitting the crochet border, I would recommend making sure your increase is at least 1, if not 2, stitches in from the edge, because it will make it a bit easier to seam. This is usually how increases are done on something that’s going to be seamed, like the side seam increases/decreases of a sweater or armhole decreases when you set in a sleeve.

The button placket / button bands

Barbara brought this to my attention in the Flickr group. The pattern as written tells you to separate the front into two halves to create the button placket up the center front when your armhole shaping is complete. I didn’t actually think of this during my own knitting as I had planned the length of my own button placket from the top down.

That’s after 16 rows, according to the pattern. At the pattern’s row gauge of 8.5 rows per inch, that’s only 1.88″ up from the armhole BO row. That’s kind of low, if you ask me, when you consider the fact that you start the neckline BO at 5.5″. That button placket doesn’t exactly look 3.62″ long, nor does it look like it starts at the end of the armhole decreases, does it?

I would recommend working maybe another inch after your armhole shaping. I worked until 2.75″ from the initial armhole BO row, then I split for the two halves of the front. (Note: I worked to an armhole depth of 7.5″.) See how what I did more closely mimics the original pattern than what it tells you to do?

How did I arrive on 2.75″? I had already decided that I would start the neckline BO at 5.75″, and I wanted my button placket to be 3″ long. In hindsight, I probably would have lowered the neckline another .5″ or so, as mine is a little tighter than I wanted it, but I can likely block that out.

Hope these tips help you. This has been one of the really fun parts of this knit-along, getting to learn from each other’s knitting experiences!

Filed: Knit-alongs, Knitting

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Golly, 6 Comments!

  • Hey Tasha, yours is looking amazing! I am not quite so far with mine (ahem!) but I am slowly chipping away at it when I have quiet moments (which are sorely lacking at the moment!)I don’t think my few inches of progress would cause much of a stir in the Flickr group, lol! I figure as long as it’s finished for Autumn, then all is good. Don’t want to rush it!
    On another note, I am very sorry for your recent loss, but very glad you had the opportunity to have such an obviously fabulous lady in your life. I only saw your post the other day as have been a bit out of step with blogland recently,or I would have sent my condolences sooner.
    Love and hugs


  • @Miss P Thanks Portia, I apreciate it! ♥ And take your time, who knows when I will be able to finally spend some time with your draft-along posts, so I know the feeling. 😉


  • I’m so glad I’ve set this project aside for a week or two, because now I can incorporate all of these suggestions!

    I found I needed to lengthen my back shoulders and was able to incorporate your most recent post about short rows. So that was a win-win!

    And I just completely frogged my one wonky front shoulder on my lunch break and am thinking about adding more length before starting up with the placket again, per your suggestion.

    But the issue I’ve found is that in doing the math (for my 7″ armhole depth), I don’t have a lot of wiggle room to add extra length. If you bear with me on the math (with a gauge of 10 rows per inch), I have completed 20 rows for the armhole shaping, will have a button placket 3″ or 30 rows long, 11 rows are needed to do my neckline shaping, which means I only have 9 rows to play around with.

    So I can’t do a full inch before starting the placket, but I can do 9 rows. But this means that I can’t lower the neckline by adding additional rows after the neckline shaping.
    My only thoughts are to decrease the placket length to 2.5″, to split up the 9 rows, or just leave the neckline high…

    Any thoughts?


  • @zilredloh I’m putting my thinking cap on!

    Okay, so you’re doing 7″ armhole depth, at 10 rows per inch, so 70 rows. You want the placket to be 3″, or 30 rows.

    The main factor here is where do you want the neckline to start? I’m going to guess you want it at 5.5″ like the pattern since you’re knitting the same armhole depth as the pattern. So that’s 55 rows.

    You’ve worked 20 rows of armhole decreases, so that’s 2″. You want the placket 3″ long, but if you want the neckline BO to be at 5.5″, you only have half an inch between your armhole shaping and where you should split, so 5 rows (you could bump this to 4 or 6 to get you on an even row if that helps you). If you wanted to lower the neckline to 5″, then immediately after you 20 armhole shaping rows you would split.

    Then if you have enough room between the neckline BO and the beginning of shoulder shaping will depend on where you do your center neckline BO (5″, 5.5″) and how many decreases along the neck edge you need to work.

    If that totally confused me, tell me how many stitches you want at each shoulder, how many you have after armhole decreases, and how you were planning to plot your neckline decreases and I can probably make more sense of that for you. 😉


  • No, I think this was perfect!

    After shaping the armholes, I’ve knit 4 rows, and will divide for the neckline. The remaining 5 rows I’ll use between the neckline BO an before the shoulder shaping. So it’ll be pretty close to the pattern with 5.5″, which really shouldn’t end up too terrible for me anyhow since I’m petite on my top half.

    Thanks so much for all your help!!!


  • Tasha, I’ve finished mine! Just had to let you know 🙂 Check it out:
    Katie x


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