v.3 How I Knit Sleeves
I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again: Knitting Sleeves is in the top 10 things knitters (including me) just don’t like to do…
But what’s a sweater without sleeves? (three guesses and the first two don’t count cuz that’s a joke son!)
Lately, in the multi-project sample world I’m living in, there are WIP’s in various stages all over the place, so at the very least, if I am stumbling in my motivation to finish something, I can reward myself by working for a short while on a different design.
But at some point, it just has to be done…
Here’s how I knit sleeves without losing my mind:
- one part Organization: gathering all the materials together that will make it a less frustrating outing. On hand? Needles, wound yarn, hanging stitch markers, measuring tape and snacks. :)
- one part Nurturing: not procrastinating to the point of having to do both sleeves in less than 2 days – no elbow blow outs or repetitive stress please.
- one part Commitment: know that the thing is just not going to knit itself and the only way I can wear or show the new garment is by biting the bullet (and then biting some chocolate).
- and most importantly — one part Temptation: mainly in the form of viewables (movies, tv, netflix, etc) heavily supplemented by liberal periodic rewards of, again(!) bitti-bites of chocolate, not a lot, just a smalll break in the proceedings. THIS is my version of being a (sleeve) WHISPERER…and I will attest, it works.
Here’s what I’m working on right now – the first sleeve of a sample cardigan in lovely blue 10 ply wool — this is the result of two evenings knitting –
All of the above tips were corralled and put into play in the making of this sleeve.
The viewable? Game of Thrones Season 3: episodes 1-4!
This is actually a little more of an action/intense oriented background event than I usually indulge in because of…
…no, not all the sword-play BUT the the fantastic WARDROBE dressing that is on all of the characters!
It’s a bit distracting because I want to stop and rewind and inspect the details of all those glorious costumes instead of keeping up a nice even tempo with my stitching.
This sleeve is being worked in-the-round (top-down) using two circular needles. This, for me, is the fastest way to make a consistently even fabric. YMMV, toolwise but the goal is the same.
Also, I’ve used my favorites, hanging markers to easily keep track of all of the sleeve shaping. Before I started, while gathering the yarn, needles and measuring tape, I counted out markers according to the number of decreases the pattern called for, using one color for the first row-decrease rate and a second color for the other row-decrease rate.
After I complete a shaping decrease, I hang a marker through the center of it. That leaves a trail of marker “bread crumbs” along the shaping line and there is no need to count anything except the rows/rounds between the decreases. When your markers are used up, your sleeve is almost done.
Then, when I’m making the second one, I take the markers from sleeve #1 as I make decreases on sleeve #2.
This is the easiest way to to not having to seriously pay attention while you’re stitching! You can just go round and round and round and every 8 or six or ten rounds or whatever’s called for, do the shaping as needed.
Not sure if I should admit this, but if it’s a Stockinette st sleeve, chances are I’m not even looking at it for a great amount of time while I’m working on it. At some point, a rhythm gets going and you only have to engage visually when you feel the end of the section and turn for the next needle’s worth of stitches.
All the more merry time to watch the on-screen drama or reach for that chocolate reward…