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How to shape a knit neck

Updated July 20, 2017

The neckline of a knit sweater is achieved with shaping. Some necks, such as a boat neck or square neck, don't require much shaping, while a v-neck and round neck require decreases to achieve the desired look. The depth of the neckline is up to the knitter. Properly shaped necklines also make picking up stitches easier for collars or additions to the neckline. Work the piece to the starting point of the neckline and decide on what form of neckline you want for your sweater.

V-neck

Work to the centre point and place a marker on the last wrong-side row before beginning the neck shaping. Work the rest of the row.

Work to four stitches before the marker, work two stitches together and then work to the marker. Turn the work. Work two stitches, work two stitches together and then work to the end of the row. Repeat these two rows until the v-neck is the desired depth. Finish the side of the front according to your pattern directions.

Work the other side of the neck by working two stitches, work two stitches together and then work to the end of the row and turn the work. Work to four stitches before the end of the row, work two stitches together and then work two stitches and turn the work. Repeat these two rows until the side shaping matches the other side. Finish the side of the front according to your pattern directions.

Round neck

Determine the depth of the round neck. A high neck begins about 5 cm (2 inches) before the shoulder shaping begins and a low neck begins 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) below the shoulder shaping. You can begin the neck shaping at any point between these measurements.

Determine the width of the round neck by multiplying your stitches per inch by the number of inches desired for the bottom curve of the round neckline. Bind off the answer on the centre front stitches. Work each side of the neckline decreases separately.

Work two stitches on side one with the right side facing. Then, work two stitches together and work to the end of the row. Work one wrong-side row without shaping. Repeat these two rows until the round neckline has the desired depth and shape.

Join the yarn for side two, and work one wrong-side row and turn the work. Work to four stitches before the end of the row, work two stitches together and then work two stitches. Work one wrong-side row without shaping. Repeat these last two rows until the shaping matches the first side.

Tip

Work a square neckline by binding off the centre stitches for the desired width of the neckline and working the sides without shaping. Knowing the basics of these common necklines, you can combine the elements to make any neckline desired.

Things You'll Need

  • Yarn
  • Knitting needles
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About the Author

Jessica Daniel has been writing professionally since 2005. She has worked in the arts-and-crafts field, publishing knitting patterns with Lorna's Laces and My Sister's Knits. Daniel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and women's studies from St. Xavier University.