Yippee! Here I am, ready for the sleeves.
This time, just as before, when I looked at the WIP, the whole thing seemed a little too wee to be the right fit–even though I knew it was perfect from trying on the yoke. But once I tried it on, I saw that the fit was just fine.
The body was a very relaxing knit. I caught up with half a season of Fringe knitting the body. I love television knitting. The sweater body has just enough action to keep you interested, but not so much that you can’t clear out the old TiVo while you finish it.
On to the sleeves!
If you’re less than agile on DPNs (guilty), you can start out your sleeves on a 16-inch circular and switch to DPNS when you just can’t stretch your stitches across the needle any longer. (Depending on your size and resolve, this may happen fairly quickly.)
I’m a little faster on circulars, and I find that having to stretch out the stitches a bit keeps my tension from getting the best of me. Another tension-loving trick for any needle type is to turn your work inside out, so your floats stretch a bit more by necessity.
It’s a colorwork trick I picked up from my friend Amy at Mitten School, and while it’s not as critical here as with stranded colorwork, it’s still handy, as managing your floats can get the better of you at a small circumference. If you do decide to work inside-out, don’t turn the sweater inside-out until after you pick up those armpit stitches, or the pits will look a little wonky. Though it looks a little odd, you work it exactly the same way, with the RS facing you – it’s just that the right side is on the inside now.
A note on lining up the sleeve pattern:
I set the pattern so the start of the round would line up appropriately and I didn’t worry about the pattern staggers (which fluctuate on the yoke due to the increases). You may have noticed the right and left sleeves place the markers a stitch over; this is to keep the start of row placed accurately despite the asymmetrical pattern. Because there’s some inherent variation in the pattern staggers across the yoke due to increases, I didn’t worry about the stagger orientation between the yoke and sleeve.
But if you want the nice brickwork stagger and your pattern staggers aren’t lining up as you wish on your sleeves, simply skip the first 5 rnds of the first repeat only and your staggers should fall into place.
If you make the adjustment, you’ll also need to work that 2nd decrease (see highlighted portion of Page 3 of the instructions, below) at the very start of the sleeves in the MC instead of the CC, to go along with the pattern (and slip the 3rd stitch as written), switching to the contrast color with the first K stitch of the rnd. And don’t forget to skip ahead on the other sleeve as well! Jumping ahead will reduce your overall length by about 3/4 inch, so you can add Rows 1-5 right before your cuffs if you want to draw the length back (but it’s up to you – I just left them a bit shorter).
As you probably noticed on the body, once you’re past the yoke increases, this pattern has only 2 basic positions. If the first 5 rnds don’t line you up, the next 5 will, so skipping the first 5 rnds is only necessary on the first repeat; afterward, the natural alternation will keep everything in line.
The two alternating, staggered halves of the pattern mean that as long as you’re working with multiples of four stitches, you should be able to achieve the results you want even with most custom modifications.
If you shifted around stitches so they added up to multiples of 4 (say, moving 6 st each from the front and back to equal 12 new sleeve stitches), you may need to adjust your starting point a bit. In that case, just look at the pattern on the edge of your sleeve yoke stitches and walk it backwards to your starting point at roughly the center armpit. Don’t use the pattern directly under your picked up stitches, as this may be off a bit from the pattern along the top of your arm. If you have to experiment a bit, you’ll only be frogging the armpit stitches, so it won’t give you too much heartache.
Working the sleeves in stockinette:
If you chose to make the honeycomb pattern only at the yoke, knitting a stockinette body to measure was a simple task, but if you’re working the sleeves in stockinette as well, the decreases necessitate a bit of adjustment. The honeycomb sleeves include 4 decreases over 25 rnds. If you’re working stockinette, your overall row count will be less (because you won’t have slipped stitches to compress the rows) and you’ll work those same 4 decreases over 20 rnds. The most convenient way to manage this is to decrease on both sides of the center marker every 10th rnd.
Working the sleeves in stockinette with pattered cuffs:
Work the sleeves as above, but stop about 2.5 inches from desired cuff placement or 4.5 inches from desired end of sleeve (if you wish to work longer sleeves). Then join your CC and work the full Sleeve Honeycomb Pattern repeat (25 rnds) one time before starting your cuff.
Enjoy your relaxing sleeves, because next week, it’s time for some thrilling heroics!
(I’m also going to swatch and steek a superwash sample so we’ll have an educated example for those a little nervous about steeking with superwash. I’ll be using Valley Yarns Valley Superwash, which is superwash merino.)
As always, drop in on the ravelry KAL group if you have questions or suggestions! With Yarn School behind me, I’ll be available once again.