Let's Steek! Sleeves
YAY! We are BACK and I have lots of progress!
I finished the body—I bind off the steek before I start the ribbing and then knit the ribbing flat (it’s the same technique as the neckband). The ribbing is flipping a little bit but I *think* blocking will sort that out. (Yarn Spouse decided this photo needed a beaver puppet in it, so here we are. Also I took this at night and the remote is in the photo.)
I have to admit that I was REALLY dreading the sleeves on this, so much so that I put it off and went and designed a new colorwork sock pattern to avoid talking about them (and knitting them).
The pattern isn’t written for full-length sleeves that are decreased at regular intervals (there’s an option for three-quarter length sleeves without decreases and for full-length bishop , and I knew I’d have to do some figuring out on how to manage the decreases and maintaining the colorwork pattern.
The body chart is used as the sleeve chart (a little more on that in a bit).
MAGICALLY, there are two rows of plain stockinette about every inch in the pattern (I usually decrease sleeves every inch,) so I could decrease on the first row of plain stockinette and not worry about decreasing in colorwork (this was a delightful gift).
My solution isn’t perfect but it pattern repeat is 6 stitches, so before starting decreases, I placed a stitch marker 6 stitches before the beginning of round and 6 stitches after (sleeve decreases are worked before and after beginning of round marker. This is fairly standard sweater practice so I won’t go into all the details).
After the first decrease there were 5 stitches in each of these blocks, and with every decrease I worked, the stitch count in each block decreased by one. For the block of stitches after the beginning of round marker, I worked the last (however many stitches were in the block) stitches of the pattern repeat. I worked the first (however many stitches were in the block) of the pattern repeat before the beginning of the round marker. I worked a partial repeat at these spots in order to maintain the colorwork as written for most of the sleeve.
You can see that it isn’t perfect and there may be a better way to do it, but it was surprisingly not obnoxious and the wonky bits are at the underarm and no one will be that close. It works in this pattern because everything is geometric and the colorwork motifs are fairly tight—if I do a custom one I think I might do a faux seam at the underarm to break up any weirdness.
Usually for a sleeve, I work 10ish decreases, but because this is colorwork and the gauge is a little tighter, and I’ll be wearing this cardigan as a layering piece, I decided to only work 6.
Working 6 decreases allowed me to work the rest of the sleeve straight without any underarm weirdness (stitch count went from a multiple of 6 to a multiple of 6, yay!).
The sleeve colorwork comes from the body chart, but the body chart isn’t long enough for full length sleeves. I worked it all the way through once, then started again, but switched the colors up so it wouldn’t look so repetitive. When the sleeves reached the length I wanted (less the ribbing length), I worked a decrease round and decreased my stitch count by 12. The ease in the sleeves is great, but I really dislike super floppy cuffs so I wanted to tighten it up a bit. They're still a little looser than I prefer but it's okay.
Knitting all over colorwork sleeves is FAR more enjoyable than I thought it would be and it’s been nice to pick up this project again.
Next up is reinforcing the steek!
There will be video content for all steek-related things. It’s only scary the first time you do it. I cut my first steek after multiple swatches, watching every single video tutorial I could find, talking to all of my knitting friends, and making sure I was awake, hydrated, and not over caffeinated. I cut my second one while I was laying down and watching TV in bed. IT’S FINE. YOU CAN DO IT.
The description of the difference between your first steek and second had me ROLLING. I can relate so much to being completely over prepared for a first attempt at something.
Thanks for the blog. I’m loving it.