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A Sleeve Cap July 15, 2011

The top-down set-in sleeve adventure continues!

Thank you to all who sent suggestions — I was having so many light bulb moments it was like standing next to Brangelina in a crowded room!

Here’s my sleeve cap/sleeve so far…

First Impressions: this method uses a sleeve shape construction that matches one that is seen frequently in commercial garments (take a look in your closet). It is taught widely – I took a class at Stitches Midwest a while back (2005 – presented by the wonderful Jean Frost! Catch it if you have a chance…)

With this method, you are making a simple trapezoid, with two static areas: the shoulder top width and the underarm bindoff area. There is a lot of theories about what these should measure, but the best thing to do is to look at real world garments in one’s wardrobe and Your Own Body.

Look at the shape of your arms and torso and shoulders. You can estimate what the dimensions of these areas need to be to “cover” those specific areas, which have indiviual characteristics. It’s good to understand that some parts are curvy while others are straight; one needs to remember that you will be asking your knitting to approximate those shapes and planes. If you are like me, you can be caught staring at people’s clothes while you’re waiting in line (always happening here in the City) at the grocery store, riding the bus, walking down the street…

The garments I see on these “spies” are off-the-rack knits, shirts, tees. Anything that has a set-in sleeve is fair game to study – not only how it looks and is shaped, but how it performs.

But back to my new cap: the very first thing I realized when I went to pick up my stitches around the armhole, is that it in itself needs a little handholding. This armhole is slightly too large and if I pick up stitches as instructed by the tomes I’ve studied, my sleeve is going to be tooooo big. Since one of my biggest peeves in design are sleeves that are too big for the room, this won’t do!

And, since this is knit from the top down, starting with a provisional cast-on at the shoulder line, there really isn’t an option to adjust the length. So, the only solution I could come up with was to split the difference in the frequency of the pick-up ratio. Live & learn; fudge and forge ahead. Carry on! ;)

I did follow the normal static areas of top of shoulder and underarm bind-off area as best as I could (as close to a 1-to-1 pick up) so that would be non-puckery.

And I think it’s working! It is pretty smooth, not too tight (which was a big concern with that excess in the armhole length) and I’m rather sussed!

The Sleeve begins July 14, 2011

It’s only a Thursday, but there’s something like weekend excitement bubbling up around here. In the Mix: two sweaters ready for my top-down set-in sleeve sampling experiment.

This little cotton number has been ready for a few days and is just waiting for its turn (how it mocks me!) in the workflow (new Fall patterns shipping to LYS – and are they ever beautiful!). I’ve been using these two projects as a dangling Carrot to pull me along the daily grind and be ready in the wings as a reward. The last we heard from this cardi, we were doing a test on some dyeing possibitlies — now we’re ready to get even more adventurous and try a whole new technique.

And there’s a whole lot of info out there about how to do this, so it’s taken a bit of time to sort through it all — very interesting to discover and dig through all the individual takes on the process. I first turned to, but of course, Barbara Walker’s book – and then went online and read all I could…

Here is a great wrap-up of the process by the indomitable Stephanie Thorton: Short-row Set-in Sleeves. She basically sets out the initial way you pick-up-and-knit for this type of sleeve.

Now this isn’t exactly the first time I’ve knit top-down sleeves. Both the Cerisara and the Vonica designs have them.

But this is the first time I’ll be making them on a traditionally shaped (curved after an underarm bind off) armhole. I’ve got a good idea of how I want to consolidate and tweak all the different takes I’ve run across on this process — everyone has a slightly indiviual way they proportion the thing itself, including moi!

If you’ve done this before – leave a comment with any helpful hints? Hold my hand? I’m a little skert!

Monday Morning Mirth July 11, 2011

Monday Morning Mirth

The lovely Meg Converse sent this to me — check out this cool video on Hatmaking!

(J’adore Victor’s sweater!!!)

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