Monday, February 10, 2014

About Those Sleeves

I think that it is about time that I posted some details about the added sleeves on my Taiga #2.  I shared other modifications last spring as I taught a class at GYI! on colorwork and steeking.

[Warning to most readers: This post will be number heavy, project specific, and of no real interest, unless you wish to add sleeves to a similar non-sleeved sweater.]

[Reference to any non-knitters who read past the warning: st(s) is the standard knitting abbreviation for stitch(es).]

Pattern:  Taiga by Svetlana Volkova
Size:  Large
#6646 Salt Water, 8 skeins (480 yd) 
#6614 Cranberry Bog, 6 skeins (360 yd)

Unfortunately, it would be more than I wish to take on, to write pattern-like directions for all of the sizes.  What I can do is to describe (using my notes) what I did for my own size L project, with the hope that it might help other knitters.

1) Keeping in mind that I found the short ribbed cuffs on my size M shop sample Taiga #1 rather narrow, I picked up 3 extra stitches at the underarm (Ref: 35 sts were picked up from waste yarn, and 9 sts from underarm, for a total of 47 sts). I went with an odd number so that I could center the center stitch of the chart at the center of sleeve.

2) The size L uses the lower, 33 st wide, chart. To center the 33 st repeat (with 14 extra sts, Ref: 47-33=14) I drew a heavy pencil line on my chart after the 7th and 26th st. So for each of the initial colorwork rounds, after the underarm, I began: Slip marker, work sts 27 to 33 of chart, then sts 1 to 33, then sts 1 to 7.

3) I worked 17 rounds even. I decreased a stitch at beginning and end of charted rounds 18, 22, and 28. (I moved my pencil lines out accordingly.)  I did not come up with these rounds in any regular way. Truthfully, I had to knit the first sleeve twice (it came out too short and a bit narrow the first time), and I did not want to rip out more of the colorwork than I had to, so these decreases were not evenly spaced.

4) After round 28, I calculated (using desired length, row gauge, and what I learned by trial and error) that I should decrease every 6th round six more times. I had a total of 9 decreases, going from 47 to 29 sts. 

5) Finally, I worked two more rows, decreasing (k2tog) five times on the last row for 24 sts. I changed to my smaller size needle and worked 12 rows in 1 x 1 rib. I switched color for the bind-off.

6) Important advice:  Try the sweater on as you go, work one sleeve at a time, and write down enough notes on what you actually do on the first sleeve in order to make the second sleeve the same.

All that remains to finish this sweater is to sew in the zipper.

It is pinned in now, but I have very recently come across two interesting and very different (from each other) blog posts about sewing zippers into hand knits.  I plan to review them to decide if they could improve my zipper insertion, and will post here once I am done. 


  1. I did not read the specifics, but I must say that the cardigan is stunning!

  2. Thank you for sharing your hard work at making the sleeves longer on this sweater. I know it will be something that I will be able to refer back to some day. I'm looking forward to the zipper post.

  3. The colours marry so well. It's a beautiful sweater!

  4. You do such beautiful work - great sweater! Look forward to hearing what method you choose to sew in the zipper.