Thursday, October 18, 2012

Putting on my Thinking Cap

I have not been working on the snowflake sweater for a few days now. (Ok, five days if you're going make me get specific.) It's not that I've been avoiding the sweater, but I've needed some time to sit and work out how I'm going to do the sleeves.

They need to be done top-down, which is already something new for me. It means all the trickier important shaping is done right up front. It occurred to me that it's easier to start a sweater or a sleeve from the bottom because once you get to the tricky stuff you have a lot of momentum behind you pushing you on. Of course, if you get all the tricky stuff out of the way first, the rest should roll along like an avalanche.

So tonight, I shut off the TV for a bit and made some notes so I could think. And I came up with a plan of attack.

1. Pick up stitches all around the sleeve opening.
I could have knit the sleeve separately and sewn it in, but I was really attracted to the idea of a no-seam, no-sew option. It seems more elegant. And I would have feedback on fit and size as I went. (And I just wanted to see if I could do it.)

I picked up a stitch for every selvage stitch. I'm a big believer in picking up every stitch and then adjusting the number of stitches on the next row. You can always decrease or increase evenly across the row to get what you need and it makes for a neater pick up row. (Never mind it makes the pick up row almost mindless!) In this case I picked up 76 stitches and had figured out that I want to end up with 78. I couldn't believe how well that worked out!

2. Knit across the twelve stitches centered over the shoulder and turn. On each subsequent row, knit one or two extra stitches and then turn. I set up a plan of a certain number of rows adding two stitches and then a certain number of rows adding one stitch, to make sure that all the stitches around the armhole opening are used up in the right number of rows. To make this easier both to work and to keep track of where I'm at, I have kept the picked up stitches on one cable and am knitting across the rows with a second cable needle.
When I get to the end of the row, I just knit one or two stitches as needed off the "holding cable."

And with an hour or so of knitting, I have a nicely crafted sleeve cap:
I have never done this before and feel like I am making it all up as I go, but I dare say it's going to work!

Only a few more rows and I will be adding the colourwork to the mix. (But remember, after that it'll roll like an avalanche...get out of the way then!!)

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