I like v-necks. Unfortunately, v-necks in knitting place particular stress on the knitted fabric. See Exhibit A, the SSS neckline:
It’s not bad, but you can see how the stitches at the point of the vee are distorted and pulled up by the garter neckband. And this is the final version! It originally looked much worse (I wish I had pictures). I’ll tell you what I did to get it to look like this, and what I would do next time.
What I Did
This v-neck was formed by decreasing one stitch every two rows until I had knit across half the rows for the chest, then increasing one stitch every two rows until I was at the shoulder again. (Remember, this sweater was knit sideways.) I then picked up the stitches around the v-neck and worked a small garter-stitch neckband in size 5 needles.
In order to decrease the stress on the v-point, this neckline isn’t a true vee. It’s actually a very, very small surplice neck– if you look closely, you can see that the two ends of the neckline don’t meet, but rather one end goes under the other. Each edge of the neckband is stitched to the side of the vee across from it. Originally, I had worked a typical neckband, with a double-decrease at the point of the vee. This put even more pressure on the knitted fabric there and distorted it even more. With the cross-over attachment, each side of the vee pulls on the stitches from the opposite side, distributing the pressure instead of concentrating it on the tip of the point. The cross-over neckband does allow the neckline to spread horizontally, becoming higher and shallower throughout the day. It isn’t a technique I’d use for a deep, plunging v-neck, as you’d probably end up with an eighties-style off-the-shoulder look.
The second thing I did to relieve the stress in the area was to duplicate-stitch over the stressed stitches after I’d worked the neckband. This worked somewhat, but was an imperfect solution.
What I’ll Do Next Time
Next time, I will duplicate stitch on the purl-side all around the area by the tip of the vee, before any stitches are picked up. Then, when I pick up stitches, I’ll make sure to pick up both the original stitch and the duplicate stitch. With two layers of yarn to bear the strain of the vee, I think the neckline stitches will hold their shape better.
Alternatively, I might knit the neckband separately from the sweater and then attach it, since any kind of stitching will distribute the pull of the neckband more equally than picked up stitches do.