Ice Breaker Tips

On this page you’ll find tips and tutorials for all the techniques used in my Ice Breaker top! I review the following topics on this page:

Picking a Size

There are 10 different sizes to pick from when knitting your own Ice Breaker. Because of the drop-shoulder construction, I recommend picking a size that is approximately 6-10″ larger than your actual bust measurement. To learn more about “positive ease”, especially as it relates to drop-shoulder constructions, read my tutorial here.

As with so many things with knitting, picking a size is totally up to you and your particular body and style, so although I suggest this amount of positive ease, you can feel free to pick outside of this range! I just recommend you review the tutorial so that you can understand what modifications you may need to make.

Yarn Options

Ice Breaker calls for bulky-weight yarn and I used the gorgeous Manos del Uruguay Cardo – a 100% wool yarn with subtle semi-solid colorways. Knitting with this yarn was a joy! If you are looking for a cozy, warm layering piece then I highly recommend this yarn. I’d say it’s the type of bulky yarn that falls in-between a traditional bulky and a super-bulky (so it’s a heavier bulky-weight).

Due to the sturdiness and warmth of 100% wool, I understand that this yarn may not be for everyone (since you may live in a warmer climate!). If you need a non-wool option, I also knit up a version in Berroco Remix Chunky. This yarn is a nylon/cotton/acrylic/silk/linen blend and knits up a little looser than Cardo (since it’s not quite as bulky), which gives it a bit more drape – check out my slideshow of images below:

Other yarns I’ve swatched with that could work well are: Tahki Yarn’s Superwash Merino Bulky, Malabrigo Chunky or Berroco Lanas Quick. You can also consider double-stranding DK or Worsted-Weight yarn.

Eyelet Stitch Pattern Tips

Featured right above the ribbed hem is an eyelet stitch pattern. Here are some tips you might find helpful when working this section:

  • The eyelet stitch is created by working a “ksp” right-leaning decrease (tutorial here), then a YO (tutorial here), then a k1, YO, and then a “ssk” left-leaning decrease (tutorial here).
  • In such a bulky-yarn, I found the ksp decrease to look nicer than the more common k2tog, but if you find the ksp to be too difficult to work, feel free to replace it with a k2tog (the difference is subtle).

Adjusting the Armhole Depth

Due to the v-neck shaping, if you want to lengthen your armhole depth, the easiest spot to do this is by adding rows right before the “Front Divide” section (so in the “Front” section). So if you look at the schematic and know you want to add an additional 1″ to the armhole depth, then work 1″ worth of extra rows before you move on to the “Front Divide” section. Just make sure to keep count of the number of extra rows you add so that you can replicate this on the Back.

Working the “Front Divide”

The “Front Divide” section is where you separate the left and right front, and you’ll also put the front center stitch on a removable marker (you’ll understand why you do this to the center stitch later on, during the v-neck ribbing section).

In step 1 of this section you first work your front left side (note: “left” and “right” are from the perspective of wearing the garment), and then you’re instructed to put these stitches on a holder or scrap yarn. Then in step 2, you’re instructed to k1, and then place this 1 stitch on a removable marker. Then in step 3 you’ll work the front right side to the end. After this divide row is done, you’re work will look something like this:

Here’s a tip: sometimes the held center stitch may ‘sink’ a bit into the fabric. From time to time, just check on it and if needed, pull the marker up to bring the stitch up. Below are 2 pictures that demonstrate this on a little mini sample I had created:

Working the Back at the Underarm

After you’ve worked the Fronts, you’ll move on to the Back section where, in step 1, you’ll be instructed to pick up and knit into the bases of the Right Front Underarm CO stitches. Where are those exactly? My picture below may help to better illustrate things:

Here are some additional photos that help illustrate this first row:

A close-up of those front underarm CO sts you will pick up and knit into.
Once you’ve picked up and knit the 3 stitches, it will look like this. Then you will knit across the back sts.
When you get to the other side, you’ll then pick-up and knit into the left front’s underarm stitches – the above shows where those are.

For a video of how this technique works, check out my demonstration here. It was for my Azalea top, so it’s a different design (and you pick up and knit a different number of stitches), but the technique is the same as what you need to do in Ice Breaker.

One important note: After you have worked the above process, you will likely have a little hole on either side (image below). That is to be expected and can easily be cinched up when weaving in your ends later. Using my Azalea top again as our example, if you watch this clip I show you how I used the duplicate stitch to cinch things up at the underarms.

Pick-up and Knit Trim

Here are tips that will help you with picking up and knitting stitches for the trim areas (neckline & armhole).

V-Neck Trim

You’ll be instructed to pick up and knit your back neck bound-off stitches, and then in step 3 you’re instructed to pick up along the front edge curve/neck (approx. 3 sts for every 4 rows). For a video tutorial of how I typically pick-up and knit along a neckline, you can check out my video tutorial here – it’s for my Soundtrack top which is a different style neckline, but the techniques I use are similar, except for one thing…

In that video (and in general), when picking up along a vertical edge (so the front edges), I typically pick-up and knit into both legs of a stitch (usually 1 stitch in from the edge). When I say both legs, this is what I mean: along a vertical edge, you’ll notice that the column of stitches look like “v’s”, so typically I pick up into both sides of the “v”. But in Ice Breaker, due to the bulkiness of the yarn, doing this created too much bulk. So instead I recommend picking up and knitting into just 1 leg of the “v” – you don’t have to of course, but this is a tip that I found worked well for me. View my image below for a visual of this in my mini sample I created (and I put a red “v” over one of the stitches so that you can visualize what I explained above):

I picked up in only 1 leg of a stitch instead of both legs of the “v”.

The other thing I want to note is in regards to the “marked center stitch”. After you have picked up and knit the Left Front neck edge stitches you’re instructed to take your marked center stitch (the one on the removable marker), transfer it to the needle and knit it. Then you are suppose to take that removable marker and attach it to the work, right under the center stitch. The reason for doing this is because you’ll be instructed during the ribbing to work decreases before and after this marked stitch. Here’s another visual from my mini demo to show what this marked stitch looks like:

Marking the center stitch after I have knit it. Just attach it to the outside of the fabric a stitch or two down.

Armhole Trim:

Similar to the v-neck trim, I suggest trying to pick up and knit only in 1 leg of a stitch instead of 2 to reduce the bulkiness. In addition, if you would like a tutorial of how to pick up and knit around an armhole, check out my tutorial here. I use the magic loop technique (which you can also try if you don’t have a 16″ circular), but even if you aren’t magic-looping the technique I work will be similar (just remember that you can choose to just pick-up into 1 leg of a stitch).

Knitting Techniques Used in the Pattern:

Below are links to different knitting techniques that are used in Ice Breaker.