Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sleeve Doctor

OK, so blogging about the stack of sweaters that needed final touches got me off my ass and over to the almost-FO pile. I sewed buttons on my Auburn Camp Shirt, but will do an FO post once I get The Brain to take some pictures. For now, I will tell you about the awful time I had finishing my B-Side.

Remember that post (you know, like 3 days ago) in which I laid out my problems finding enough yarn to finish this sweater? Well, I finally picked it up again yesterday to sew the sleeves in but I realized that I had no matching DK yarn to use for the seams. I still have all those partial balls of Knit Picks Merino Style that I used for the Wild Stripes Baby Blanket, so I picked the color that best matched my sweater and fell to it. This blanket is the same one I use for my banner, so you can see that finding a close match for a deep eggplant color wasn't going to happen.

I sat down and got one sleeve stitched in, and found a problem. Um...the sleeve caps were a bit too big for the armholes. So big that I had a princess pouf look going on that was not going to be solved by blocking it. Before I put the second sleeve in, I ripped out about two and a half inches off the top of the sleeve cap, bound it off and then sewed it in.

This is where some rudimentary knowledge of sleeve cap shaping would have helped. It turns out there's a reason that sleeve caps are shaped the way they are, with all those calculated sloping decreases and stuff. Those decreases actually serve a purpose! Simply halting the knitting when you think your cap is big enough, and then binding off in a straight line, will not do anything for you. You actually need to get rid of all that extra fabric or you will end up guessed it: princess poufs on the front and back of your arms, just not on top! I didn't take a picture of that one because it was too depressing.

Next step: I ripped out both arms, frogged one down to the beginning of the sleeve cap, and rejiggered the required decreases to fit into the necessary length. Nice! Then I repeated the process for the other sleeve, sewed both sleeves back in, gave the whole thing a bath, and now my sweater is lounging on the floor, drying lazily and waiting for some buttons.

One last problem though: it seems to have lengthened considerably since it took a bath. It is easily 3 or 4 inches longer in both the body and the arms than I knit it (according to my notes). I mean, I'm 5'10" so everything I knit has to be lengthened, but...I actually laid down on my wet sweater (is this an acceptable measurement technique?) and I swear the thing covers half my butt. Not quite what I had in mind for a streamlined, comfy cardi! Hopefully my highly scientific and perfectly accurate measuring system is wrong and it will fit me nicely. Otherwise, I went through all that yarn drama for nothing!

P.S. I did straighten out the sweater some more after I took that picture. :)


leann said...

Aack! I hate sleeve cap problems! I had to reknit the sleeve caps of my Hogwarts Sweater 3 times! Turns out I *can't* multiply in my head and I should've used a calculator when I was designing them.

Check out the Interweave Knits Winter 2007...there's an article in there. I believe there is also an article in the Knitty archives that's very similar.

Yarndude said...

Aw man, you were so close to finishing that without any problems! I'm sure your next sweater will go without any hitches - I have a feeling about it. :)

Jacey said...

I can't believe the patience you possess! If I had made that sort of discovery (and I have, don't be fooled), I would throw an enormous tantrum and not touch the sweater for weeks (maybe months-ahem!).

I hope it fits as you want it to. You deserve it after all that hard work!

Kristen said...

sleeve caps are the devil. it's too bad sleeveless sweaters aren't more useful.
i kinda like princess puff sleeves, but i guess puffs on the sides and not the top would look a bit odd. ;)