Working the Back in Azalea
Let’s talk about the upper Back of Azalea! In general it’s very similar to the upper Front except there is no neck shaping AND it starts out differently. As you remember, at the Front underarm you cable cast-on 4 stitches on each side. For the Back, instead of casting-on you’ll actually be picking up and knitting into the base of each of the Front underarm cast-on stitches. By doing this, you eliminate the need to seam up your underarms at the end.
It sounds more confusing than it actually is, so a video tutorial is super helpful for this step! Check out my video below to see me first transfer the Back stitches from scrap yarn to the needle and then watch me work the first row:
The biggest question I get about this technique has to do with the holes that appear in the gap between where you pick up the stitches on either end and the rest of the Back stitches. There are tweaks you can do to make this hole less visible, but the easiest method is to cinch things up when you’re weaving in ends. I’ll be showing you how to do this in the Weaving in Ends tutorial.
The remainder of the Back Armhole
After this first row, it’s pretty smooth sailing on the Back because you’re working it just like the Front. You’ll work your armhole depth to the same length as you did for your Front (and if you had kept track of your rows in the Front, this part will be even easier!). And then you’ll work your short rows for the shoulder shaping just like the Front (except you won’t have neck shaping going on too so it’s a bit easier). For a refresher on working the short rows for the shoulder shaping, click here to watch my video.
Important note regarding the end of the Back…
After you complete the Back, if you are working from the original version of the pattern (published by Manos del Uruguay/Fairmount Fibers) it says to place stitches on holder and then the next section of the pattern is blocking. However, you can choose to wait to block until the very end (after seaming your shoulders together and after working your armhole edging). My personal preferred method is to wait to block until the very end (and in my self-published version of the pattern this is how I wrote it). Either option is totally ok! There are pro’s and con’s to both. But since my preferred way is to block at the very end, my tutorials here will be geared toward that. So if you are following that earlier version of the pattern, instead of placing the stitches on holders you can instead keep them on the needles and skip to the “Join Shoulders” section.