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trusting my knitting

Over the weekend I knitted a hood for my mom out of Crystal Palace "Poof" (thanks leandra333. I didn't use a pattern; I started making a triangle and then began to knit more or less straight up and then did a short row or two and decreased, trying it on as I went. Then I picked up stitches along the sides to make earflaps and finished off with icord for ties. She loved it.

A couple of days ago I seamed up a cardigan I've been knitting. The pattern called for seaming it after installing the sleeves, but I wanted to make sure it fit reasonably well first. I eyeballed the sleeve openings, and tried on the sweater after seaming it up, and they are just right, no binding or huge gaps. The seams look nice from both sides. (I used slip stitch crochet to seam them.)

Because I eyeballed the sleeve openings, I don't trust the pattern when it comes to how many stitches to cast on for the sleeve. So I thought "Hm, why not pick up stitches for the sleeve?"

I wasn't sure if this was something that was done, so I looked at the knitting books within reach (the book that the cardigan pattern is from, and something called The Big Book of Knitting). Neither of them mentioned it, but the Big Book of Knitting had lots of information about picking up stitches for collars, and I thought "If you can do it for collars, surely you can do it for sleeves. What the hell." So I did it on one sleeve and knit a few rounds and it looks OK so far.

This morning I googled for "pick up stitches sleeves" just to make sure someone else had done it somewhere along the line, and sure enough they had:


Now, it took me several years and reading at least 50 different knitting books to get to this point, but I'm still pretty happy with myself. And also bemused that a book called The Big Book of Knitting doesn't mention picking up stitches for sleeves at all, as far as I can tell.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 20th, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
Well done!
Jan. 20th, 2007 11:20 pm (UTC)
Does it mention steeking? I think usually you pick up stitches from a steeked armhole, not from a knitted one. I have no idea why that is; I haven't gotten back into sweater-making again yet. I suspect it's simply because they leave all the seaming up to the end.
Jan. 20th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
I crochet and I've changed patterns (or made my own) where you work the sleeves out from the armhole. It's so much easier.
Jan. 21st, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
Wow, go you. The hood thing is way more spatially sophisticated than I would do from scratch. Congrats for figuring out that you could pick up stitches for sleeves despite your book being bizarrely blind-spotted, too!
Jan. 21st, 2007 01:38 am (UTC)
*grin* Isn't it great when you know enough about the craft to begin improvising with some confidence that it will all turn out?

I suspect the reason most sweater patterns don't call for picking up stitches for the sleeve has to do with the fact that seams give more structural support. But if it looks good and wears well, why not? I'm getting pretty good at seaming, but I still don't enjoy it.
Jan. 21st, 2007 05:38 am (UTC)
This sweater has dropped sleeves so where I'm actually picking up is about halfway down the upper arm. I figure there's no particular reason for that area to be strengthened.

It's not that I mind seaming, but it takes a different kind of attention than other kinds of knitting work which means I have to set aside a separate time to do it.
Jan. 21st, 2007 09:05 am (UTC)
*nod* When I seam, I have to take off my glasses and hold the work *real* close to my face to see where the needle needs to be inserted. Which can get to be a (literal) pain in the neck. And it means I can't, for instance, watch a movie while I'm doing it.
Jan. 21st, 2007 11:33 am (UTC)
I imagine part of the issue is that typically, sleeves are knitted from the bottom up, and depending on your pattern, can't be reversed.

I've done the other thing, though: knitted sleeves and a front/back up to the armpits, then joined them all and knitted the raglan/yoke area. There's a little hole under the arms you have to close up at the end, but it's much less sewing than most patterns.
Jan. 23rd, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)
Someone posted this very question, more or less, to the Knitting community:

Jan. 23rd, 2007 07:40 am (UTC)
Thanks, that was interesting! I usually don't have time to read that community.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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