Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Monday, February 21, 2005

I should have made it a vest

I am knitting again! All it took was a 16 hour car trip to visit my mom. I love car trips as long as I can have my knitting, and a book on tape.

So the mohair stole is 3/4 of the way done and looking wonderful. And the cotton cardigan for my daughter now looks like a vest and only needs sleeves.

I want to pick up stitches around the armhole on a circular needle and knit from shoulder to cuff. I think this makes a smoother join at the shoulder to the body of the sweater, and I can gauge better just how long to make the sleeve as I knit.

I found out though that doing this is not just a matter of reversing the increases to decreases, especially at the very beginning when trying to figure out just how many stitches to pick up for the sleeve top. If the sleeve was just a plain rectangle, that would be easy, but with the shaping of the top of the sleeve I found I was having a very hard time going from knitting flat to knitting in the round.

The sleeve is simple in design, almost a rectangle. In the actual pattern a number of stitches is cast on at the cuff edge, and increases are done on each side of the sleeve over most of the length of the sleeve. This is a very standard sleeve design. About 10 rows from the finish at the shoulder, 6 stitches are bound off on each edge. Then 6 more stitches are decreased over the last nine rows and the remaining 82 stitches are bound off. The shape of the sleeve is boxy, not a rounded cap.

So in my first attempt, I picked up 82 stitches around the armhole, increased to 88 sitiches over the next nine rows, and realized, if I was really to do the reverse of the bind off of six stitches on each edge, I would increase six stitches, and on a circular needle, that's just sort of messy looking. I think in the end, being under the arm, and blocked, it would be OK, but I just am not happy with the results so far.

In visualizing just how I would have sewn a sleeve made by the original instructions to the armhole of the sweater, I realized I would have put those bound off 12 stitches (six on each side) side by side on the underarm, and then eased the rest of the top of the sleeve around the armhole.

So my next idea is to pick up 12 stitches at the underarm area of the sweater, work back and forth until I have picked up 6 more stitches, and then pick up the 82 more stitches around the armhole, close the stitches into a circle, and continue with the gradual decreases as I work my way to the cuff.

I think this is the basic gusset design, but I confess I have not knitted a sweater with an underarm gusset, so I can not be sure. I don't think the sleeve will look exactly the same as one that I knit flat and sew to the sweater, but I do think handling it this way will help the ease and fit of the underarm area.

But I have not tried it yet. I have 10 rows done on one armhole, up to the point of the increase of 12 stitches at once. I think I will leave that sleeve alone and try my idea on the second armhole, then I can compare which one looks better.

No wonder vests are popular!