Monday, May 31, 2010

Tutorial- Setting Sleeves in a Sweater Body Tube

I find it so much easier just to knit a sweater body tube, and then cut the armholes (and do the neckline shaping) after it's finished- no jockeying with the chart motifs to make them match before and after the armholes (or necklines), no dealing with decreases, no extra stitches for the steeks. On the other hand, you do have to measure carefully. I say- measure carefully..... it cannot be emphasized enough: MEASURE CAREFULLY, and then proceed.

With this method, you can adjust the armhole length  to suit the finished sleeves, you can adjust the neckline width and depth and style. You can even turn an intended pullover into a cardigan if you want.

This tutorial was written with a pullover sweater in mind. If you're knitting a cardigan, the procedure is the same, just place the *seam* in the center front (instead of at the side), and continue on.

It's easy peasy.
#1- Lay the sweater body tube flat, with the *seam* (the beginning of the round) to one side. Measure the sleeve width at the top of the sleeve, and then measure that length from the top of the sweater body tube and mark with a pin. Repeat on the other side.

#2- Sew along the cutting line with highly contrasting waste yarn, stopping about 2-3 sts from the pin.

#3- Zig-Zag stitch along either side of the waste thread (or reinforce the new steek in your preferred manner)

#4- Zig-Zag across bottom of the cutting line, 2-3 sts above the pin

#5- Cut armhole open between the zig-zag stitching, to within 1 stitch of the end zig-zag stitches

#6- Both armholes cut open

#7- If you know how wide you want your shoulder seams to be, sew them now. Otherwise, just sew a couple of inches in from the armhole opening. (You can figure out your shoulder width when you do the neck shaping).

#8- Fold the new steek edge in 3-4 stitches, and whip stitch in place.

#9- Pin the sleeve in place and sew the sleeve in the armhole
#10- Sleeve sewn in place. Ease the sleeve around the lower opening edge.

#11- Voila!

P.S. You can do this with any sweater pattern- it's not just for Fair Isle.


Kate/Massachusetts said...

I think I am having one of those moments of insanity but this lovely sweater of yours, is it a published pattern that I could buy? I think knitting it your way would be something I could do provided I had enough chocolate and wine for courage!

AnneB said...

Kathleen - what memories you brought forth with that pattern. Made a "bird" sweater in college and wore it for years. Wonderful tutorial as always. You freely share so much of your knowledge.

yarnbarb said...

Love the tutorial on setting in sleeves. Is it possible to do with actual set-in (not drop shoulder) sleeves? The finished sweater looks great on you!
As a side note, I'm bringing a few of your paper dolls to my 4 year old granddaughter-not sure that generation has ever seen them but I have fond memories! Thanks