Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Contemplation On Knitting Sleeves

By Leigh

My Shetland Sampler Cardigan is coming along nicely. I finished spinning the lovely sample from Tina....

Lovely yearn from one of Tina's own Shetlands..... and have already incorporated some into the body of the sweater. Here is my progress so far:

Shetland Sampler Cardigan so far.Since I'm going to add the ribbing last, the bottom of the sweater rolls up quite a bit, so I have to pin it flat to photograph it. It's 8 and 1/2 inches in length, so it's hard to lay it out in a single layer. Pretty soon I'll have to lay it out as a tube and pin the whole thing down in order to take a photo.

As I've been knitting, I've been thinking about the sleeves. There are two ways I could approach them. Since I'm going to steek the sleeve openings, I could wait until the body is completely finished, and then just pick up around the sleeve opening and knit them down to the cuff in the round. The advantage to this is that I would be sure that the sleeve would fit the opening (something I haven't always managed in the past.) Also, I wouldn't have to sew them in later. If I knit them in the round, then I could the jogless two color rounds that Peg Arnoldussen mentions in Essential Techniques For Serious Knitters.

On the other hand, if I knit them as flat pieces apart from the body, I could knit them simultaneously and keep track of which Shetland color I'm using for each row, so they would be the same. Also, I wouldn't have to wait until the entire body of the sweater was done to begin. That way I wouldn't have to worry about running out of a particular Shetland color. The main problem here would be that my gauge wouldn't be the same knitting back and forth. That might change the size of the pattern a bit.

So perhaps I could knit the sleeves in the round as separate pieces and sew to the body? That would keep my gauge the same. But if I want to knit them at the same time, I will need to get another 16 inch size US2 circular needle. Or maybe I could use double pointed needles. I have lots of number 2's. The idea of knitting both sleeves at the same time comforts my fear of running out of any particular color before I get both sleeves done.

One thing's for certain, I will need to knit from the wrist up, otherwise the pattern will be upside down and that won't do! So that means picking up stitches around the arm hole and knitting down is out.

For me, I've made pretty good progress so far. I'm usually a pretty slow knitter, but I'm enjoying this so much that it's easy to pick up and hard to put down. I doubt I'll be finished before our summer heat wave hits, but I'll at least have made good progress by then.

Posted 10 April 2008 at

Related Posts:
Ready to Start Those Sleeves - Discovering Siamese Sleeves
Starting the Sleeves - Sleeve Increase Calculator
Shetland Sleeve Update - A look at checkerboard steeks in progress.
Siamese Sleeves Done!
Shetland Sampler Cardigan Complete!


Wool Enough said...

DPN's are great for sleeves, especially if you use the longer ones. And if 4 or 5 aren't enough, you can always add a few more -- much more flexible than being tied to a 16" circ.

And doing the sleeves separately avoids having this massive body-plus-sleeves thing flopping about while you are knitting. Of course, then there's the sewing . . .

Charleen said...

Looking good! I would do the sleeves on dpns or an extra-long circular (a modified magic loop). Depending on the yoke you're using you could just knit it all up when you get to the point of dividing for the arms.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what to tell you hear. Maybe weight and dividing your yarn between the sleeves if you are worried about running out of a color if you knit one sleeve at a time.

It looks beautiful.

Lee said...

Another option: I'm knitting a Meg Swanson cardigan (the cover sweater from her "Knitting"). If I am understanding the instructions correctly (and I may well not be), she has you knit the sleeves separately, in the round, cut the armhole steek, pickup around the steek and then use 3-needle bind off to attach the sleeves.

It seems like the advantages of Swanson's instructions are that if you knit the sleeves (or at least one sleeve) you can match your steek to the sleeve, you avoid the pesky task of sewing and you can knit from the wrist up.

Mind you, I haven't tried this yet, and at the rate I'm knitting, I won't get to it anytime this century!


I don't know enough to suggest anything that would be of any assistance to you, but I LOVE the way the sweater is looking, and since I'm still a little freaked out that your cutting it, I'll just keep watching.

ladyoftheloom said...


Cathy said...

I used 2 29" circulars to knit the Lace Rib Pullover sleeves. It was much faster. I like Lee's suggestion of the Meg S solution. Sounds sensible.

Love the colors! I am now spinning Aurora :-)

Helen said...

it looks just lovely Leigh and I look forward to the finished result. As I don't understand the technicalities of knitting that is all I am going to say! bw Helen

bspinner said...

Your getting there. Should be done in time to keep you warm next winter. So many different ways to knit sleeves. I've only worked sleeves from the top down on double points.

Jackie said...

You rock my little knitterly world! The sweater looks amazing so far and I know that you will continue your awesome job on the sleeves!

Jackie said...

You rock my little knitterly world! The sweater looks amazing so far and I know that you will continue your awesome job on the sleeves!

Sheepish Annie said...

My head is spinning! But, I'm sure that whatever you do, it will look amazing. You are making that shetland dance!!!

Gertieanne said...

Hi Leigh,

I know what you mean when you say that you want to make both sleeves at the same time, so you know you have the correct amount/colors of yarn so they both look the same. I am having the same trouble thinking about how to knit the Ruth Sorenson's Autumn Cardigan in Kauni yarn. I know when knitting this sweater it is supposed to be inconsistent with the colors, but I want to try and make the sleeves look the same. I have been thinking about it and thought if I knit both sleeves at the same time with steeks in between on circular needles that it might work. Maybe even do the body as well at the same time. This is how I thought it would work. Knit a steek, sleeve, steek, steek, sleeve, steek, steek, front, steek, steek, back, steek. Does this sound crazy? I don’t know why it wouldn’t work. If the body is finished before the sleeves, I could just break off the yarn and keep knitting. The only thing though is that the sleeves are knit from the top down and the body is knit from the bottom up. So I might just do the sleeves and let the body be different from the sleeves? Have I confused you yet? Does anybody know why this wouldn’t work? Any suggestions?


cyndy said...

The sweater looks fantastic! Terrific progress ...and when you stop to think that it is all handspun and handknit...I think you are making quick work of it!

Tracy said...

The sweater is coming out gorgeous. The colors are really stunning. Amazing that they are all natural. The color looks so different knitted up. Nice job so far.