It almost seems as if I made negative progress last week. On Thursday, I finished the assignment that was interfering with my knitting. Because the work was tedious and exhausting, I decided to fall back on my “easy project”—a second pair of STR socks from a simple pattern in Sensational Knitted Socks. On this second pair, I wanted to make the socks a bit higher, and to get the twist of the pattern stitch to fall in a better place under the ribbing, I started with row 6 of a 12-row pattern and not row 1. This bit of ingenuity caused multiple problems. First, I couldn’t follow the instructions for repositioning the stitches for the heel, and my first heel fell asymmetrically in the pattern. So I frogged. Second, the pickup row for the gusset didn’t have the attractive row of purl stitches along its side that the pink sock did.
So I frogged. I decided to fix the knitting so I could follow the instructions, and I knit 6 more rows so my work would match what Charlene Schurch had in mind. But this time, I messed up the pattern stitch, and I had to tink back two rows. I’m finally back at the point where the heel is correct.
I managed to do some blocking without messing anything up (aside from my living room floor, for a few days—Cotton Fleece takes forever to dry). I blocked Liv’s sleeve and I blocked the pieces of the Calvin Klein sweater so I could use them as a giant gauge swatch for redoing the sleeves. The Calvin Klein design has oversize sleeves, but even so, my first attempt at these produced sleeves that would have billowed on Arnold Schwartzenegger’s arms. Luckily my arms are considerably less muscular, despite all my swimming. So the pattern needed adjustment to narrow them.
In addition to adjusting for the width, my recent experience with Liv taught me to check the length also. The original pattern calls for sleeves that are 17 ½ inches from armhole to wrist—and it calls for a 5-inch cuff that you turn up. This is a warm-weather sweater. I don’t want to have the bulk of double-thickness cuffs so the first, easy change, was to reduce the cuff length to 2 ½ inches.
But to check the overall sleeve length, I had to measure from shoulder to wrist, and this required attaching the fronts to the back and basting the sides.
So far the sweater looks pretty good, but the thing I was after was exactly where the drop shoulder fell. The 17 ½ measure seems fine, but to verify, I measured the sleeve of the brown Rowan sweater I knitted in 2007. (The drop of the sleeve goes lower on my arm for this sweater than the red one, so this sleeve measures just about 17 inches.)
It also allowed me to check the sleeve width at the bottom of the armhole, and the 19 inches across seems ok too. And I narrowed the cuff width from about 10 inches to 8.
Another measure I checked was the cap circumference. This measure (the heavy black line) should equal approximately the circumference of the armhole (black line on front schematic—doubled for front and back).
I measured this on the assembled sweater body, and it was ok too. (If you want more fabric in your sleeve than the body, you should have a bigger cap than armhole—and then you’d need to ease in the sleeve. For sweaters, I don’t think this kind of alteration is worth the trouble because knitted fabric stretches. I like them to be approximately equal.)
So the only major change is in the width. Using the blocked sweater back as a guide for width, I decided that I need three cables over the cuff. After increasing, they will end up as five cables at the armhole. The red shaded areas are the cables—and this isn’t drawn to scale. I’ll need to increase 1 stitch on each side, every half inch for 10 inches, and then one stitch on each side every inch four more times. I plan to knit the sleeves one at a time so I can check the length on one before knitting the other.
So this week I have a choice of tasks—assembling Liv, getting one red sleeve started, and getting past the heel on the sock so it returns to “easy project” status.