Week 2 or Bodice II: On To The Shoulders! (complete post)


Before we go over this week’s task, I want to work on some KAL Blog infrastructure.

This is a partial post. I know some of you are fit to be tied to get going and I’m holding you up. So, I’m going to post this as is with the instructions through the back, keep working on it, and then update later today with the full instructions. The only thing that is changing is I am adding to the post instructions for the week. In response to the feedback, I’m trying to front-load everything. I know I’ll probably miss something because that is the nature of the beast. But isn’t it cool to be able to talk back to the pattern the way you can in this format? Usually, you have to wait until the coat is done and try it on to see if it fits. This way, if you have to rip out (and I’ve done plenty of that over time after the whole thing was DONE and seamed together. . . I prefer things this way) it’s trivial. So, like any good foundation, better to lay it right in the beginning.

Henceforth, the Monday Ella Blog will be partitioned into several sections to make it easier for everyone to see what the week’s task is, what is the difference in the two versions of the pattern and why I have done things the way I have, how to follow me in my Ella innovations, what to check for in your own knitting, and what incentives and diversions we have planned for you during the week.

Now, in order of appearance in this and future Monday Ella KAL Posts:

1. The Two Ellas: Their Differences and Similarities In this section, I will go over the differences between the original Ella Coat for Women and the more recently revised Ella Coat Re-Discovered so that no one feels left out or in the dark or guessing or any of that new-kid-on-the-block awkwardness.

2. What You Need to Know  In this section I will supply any additional information you may need to complete the week’s task, such as pattern notes, links to tutorials that others have done previously, and links to any tutorials or videos that I might make.

3. Nora’s Innovations and Tweaks  In this section I will divulge my innovations and tweaks and how to make them yourself.

4. What to Check As-You-Knit  This is where we will talk about customization issues. Here I will discuss fit, how to check for fit, what–in a big picture way–different folks might need to do in order to make Ella work for a body idiosyncrasy that the pattern does not take into account. A caveat: I can answer big picture questions, offer advice, make suggestions that will be relevant to many. I cannot do one-on-one consultations with individuals about their specific needs.

5. What Fun! Here I will outline any Ella Diversions to look for toward mid-week and detail any incentives or contests we are offering to keep you guessing and having a good time.


Now, without Further Ado:  Let’s move on!

1. Pattern Differences Outlined As Relates to the Shoulder: An Overview

I have specified the method for decreasing at the armhole edge, the neck opening, and the sleeves (I’ll remind you when we get there) in the pattern notes for the revised pattern and in the body of the bodice instructions, etc., in the original pattern. I include them here for ease of finding and following.

2. Relevant Pattern Notes: Decrease Method for Bodice & Sleeves Here is the method I want you to use when working the decreases for the armhole, neck, and sleeve:

• RS: At beginning of RS rows: k2, ssk, knit across; at end of RS rows: knit to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2. NOTE The Re-discovered pattern shows an ssk for the second decrease on a RS row, it should be k2tog in order for the slants to be mirrored. I will post an errata.  The decrease method in the Original pattern is correct.

• WS: At beginning of WS rows: p2, p2tog, purl across; at end of WS rows: purl to last 4 sts, ssp, p2.

  • Armhole BO: In the Original Ella, the BO is separated at the armhole and is done in two parts, the first half of the armhole BO is connected to working the back, the second part occurs when you work the front. My revision has the BO occur all in one stop so no tiny jog to take into account as you set in the sleeve.

Both methods work, but the revised method is more elegant. Here is the row: Removing all markers, work to 4 (4, 4, 5, 5, 5) sts before 2nd marker, BO 8 (8, 8, 8, 10, 10) sts for underarm, work to 4 (4, 4, 5, 5, 5) sts before 5th marker, BO 8 (8, 8, 8, 10, 10) sts for underarm, work to end. Slip the 34 (39, 43, 48, 51, 56) sts for each front to separate holders—68 (78, 86, 96, 102, 112) back sts remain on needle. [NOTE: the bolded numbers are listed incorrectly in the Ella Rediscovered pattern.]

3. Slight Tweaks from the Original  Because I moved the markers in the bodice a bit from the original coat construction, the stitch counts for the fronts and back are slightly different from the original pattern. Please use these instructions above–the total stitch counts are the same for both pattern versions).

  • Bodice Back: Decrease at each armhole edge (that is every row) per the patterns (both have same instructions and work even until armhole measurement for your size per both patterns or desired depth–more about armhole depth in my updated post later today . . . .
    Last row: Work 16 (18, 20, 20, 22, 23) shoulder sts, BO 26 (26, 30, 32, 32, 32) back neck sts, work 16 (18, 20, 20, 22, 23) shoulder sts.
    Place shoulder sts on holders.

NOTE about armhole depth: I made the arm hole on this coat smaller than the “standard” measurement charts that most designers use. My reasoning was this: so many ladies said to me, “for the larger sizes, don’t make the arms gorilla arms!” I was repeatedly implored to make the armhole human-sized. So, this is something I want you to look at with your garment. Is the armhole depth right for you? You can check by measuring this depth on a garment you like and want to fit similarly to your Ella. If you want to wear Ella as a winter coat, measure a light weight winter coat. More like a suit jacket? Measure one. More like your favorite t-shirt? You know what to do. If you add rows to the back, add to the front the same number for greater depth. You will need to do one more adjustment when we get to the sleeves, but more about that later.  In any case, take notes if you make alterations.

  • Left Front: Remember to work your stripes in the same sequence as you did the back. Shape the armholes as you did the back using the same instructions. Work even until the armhole measures 6 1/4″ (15.5cm) [that is, roughly 3-ish inches below the back neck]–29 (31, 35, 36, 38, 39 stitches).
  • Neck Shaping: BO at the neck edge as stated in both patterns. Decreases are as written for both patterns and stitch counts on both patterns are as written. Work even until front measures the same as the back to the shoulders. I like to count rows here as a double check.

NOTE For ladies with bosoms, you may want to work some short rows if you need extra fabric in the front. I hope some folks who do this can weigh in here. I’m sorry to say that I don’t have experience in this particular tweak so can’t be of much help except in a theoretical sense.

  • Right Front: Work as for left front.

4. What to Check Recap:

Check your stripe pattern to make sure you do in the fronts what you have done in the back. Carefully count your rows. I do have some row differences in my Ella fronts and back. I like them now, like a priceless Persian rug that has such differences–it adds to the character of the piece.

Make sure the armhole depth works for you and how you want to wear Ella. Take good notes as to what you are doing.

5. What Fun!

Please keep up with your project pages on Rav, adding pictures as you go and sharing with the Ella KAL group and other groups you may be a part of.

Join us for the live chat on Wednesday nights. I’ll be there this Wednesday from 9 – 10 pm EST.

I’ll be announcing the Ella Diversions for this week a bit later in the week. We’ve had requests for long and short diversions for maximum choices and time management, so I’m working on that. But you might have noticed I’m not one to just throw something together so I take a little longer at times than I and everyone else (perhaps) would like. I do promise, though, at least a little tiny Ella Diversion by midweek. I’m working on it tonight.

And if you have not already, please take a peak at my non-Ella blog post from yesterday, Jan 22. I’m going to try to make that a regular Sunday feature.

Happy Ella Knitting!

13 thoughts on “Week 2 or Bodice II: On To The Shoulders! (complete post)

  1. Your details are a gift. As I said in last week’s chat I really feel like this is more of a master class than a KAL, as we have the benefit of your walking us through, providing skills that will serve well in all of our future garment knitting. We’re getting for free what many have paid dearly for in a formal fit/design class at knit shops. THANK YOU.

  2. For the RS decrease sequence, are they supposed to both be SSK, or is one supposed to be a K2tog? guessing because the purl side decreases are different, the RS should be, also? Thanks!

  3. Wow – Thank you! This is a lot of information and appears to be presented in a very clear and concise way. I am so looking forward to continuing with my Ella. Of note: I think I am correct in saying that the next rows that are knit, beginning with the armhole bind-off row, will be the rows that will be across the bust. Therefore, people who are doing stripes might want to be mindful of the colors they choose for that area. Even though we are doing the back first, if you are making your fronts and back matching, the colors and stripe sequence you choose for the back will be the same on the front. You may not want a real contrasting or bright color for those rows, unless you really do want to draw attention to that area. Nora, please correct me if I am wrong.

    • Hi Sierra,
      You are correct that the stripes you work at this point will be across the bust. . . bustlines differ, of course, but, yes. So, lighter colors increase width and darker colors minimize. Stick to darker tone on tone also to minimize, choose high contrast to draw the eye. I’m glad you brought this up because I will revisit this (and remind me if all the plates I’m spinning cause me temporarily to forget this particular one) when we get to the waist where color can draw the eye, or not, nip in the waist . . .

  4. I am loving my Ella coat so much that I have started a second one. I am ready to start the skirt increases. The directions say to “*Knit to 2 sts before marker, M1L…” Should this be Knit to 1 st before marker? Just checking. Knit on.

    • I am so glad you are loving your coat and starting a second one! You are right that the textual note to work to 2 stitches before marker should read 1. The actual instruction for executing the increase is correct. However, we are not moving on to the skirt for our next step . . . you may want to wait until tomorrow for Week 3 work or you won’t be able to take advantage of my innovations for the skirt (divulged when we get to that point).

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