After you've read through the instructions and established your gauge, it's time to cast on and launch your sweater. Most sweater patterns proceed in a predictable way, usually beginning with the back, then the front, and then the sleeves.
If you're knitting in the round, you'll proceed a bit differently, depending on the type of sweater:
l Top-down sweaters: When you knit a top-down sweater, you begin at the neck and knit your way down to just under the arms, knitting the tops of the sleeves as you go. (It may sound confusing, but these are some of the easiest and fastest sweaters to knit; you can find instructions for just such a sweater, the Easy Top-Down Raglan, in Chapter 18.) After you finish the body, you return to the sleeves and finish them separately.
l Bottom-up sweaters: For these you knit the bottom portion of the sweater first, all the way to the underarms. Then you join the sleeves, which have been knit separately, and decrease the sweater yoke all the way to the neck opening.
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