Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Design Your Own Aran, Part Fourteen: Sleeves

In the previous post I described the process of knitting up the sleeve stitches and working down to the point where the underarm stitches have been subsumed into the sleeves and the whole joined neatly into the round. Now it's time for a few more calculations. 

1. Figure out, approximately, how many cuff stitches to aim for. In a stocking stitch sweater, the cuff would normally be about 20% of the body stitches. So, if this were a plain sweater with no cables, a 36" sweater knitted at 4 stitches per inch would have 144 stitches in the body. 144 x .2 = 28.8 I'd probably aim for around 30 stitches, just to be safe. But, this is a sleeve with cables, so I'm adding a few more stitches, around 34. Don't forget that as you knit the sleeve you can try it on and make adjustments as you go. It's best to end the decreases a little early and allow for a few inches of working even for your forearm. You can always work a few more decreases when you start the cuff ribbing (if you're doing ribbing, that is). Knitting is very forgiving.

2. Estimate how many rows apart to work your decreases. Guestimate sleeve length from the underarm join, using an existing sweater. Multiply the result by your row gauge to learn the total number of rows you have to work with. Divide by the number of decreases.

Example: I had 59 stitches when my sleeve was joined into the round. I knew I needed to get down to around 37 (I adjusted my original number up so it would be an odd number since I was starting with an odd number and would be doing pairs of decreases). 

59 minus 37 = 22:  total stitches to decrease

22 divided by 2 = 11: total number of decreases 

15" sleeve (measured from the underarm join) x 6 (my row gauge) = 90 rows

7 or 8 of my rows would be dedicated to the ribbing, which brought me down to 82 rows. I like to have at least a couple of inches between the end of the decreases and the cuff, so taking away another 12 rows that brought me down to 70 rows. I divided 70 by eleven and ended up with a decrease spacing of every 6 rows, with a few left over. 

3. Play with the ribbing. When I arrived at the cuff, I decided to carry on with the cable ribbing as much as possible right to the end. Actually, I ended up turning the centre of the big cable into a little rope cable and decided to decrease 3 extra stitches in the first round of ribbing, thus arriving at 34 stitches. Don't forget to switch down a needle size for the ribbing. Not a bad idea for the last couple of rounds even if you're not ribbing, just to keep the cuff from flaring out.

And remember, to avoid cable splay, end with a cable turn just before binding off in pattern. 

The last part is here