Today I finished the first of the sleeves and as you can see from the pictures, it’s a pretty good match to the left front section. With this in mind, I have decided to start the fifth ball of yarn to knit the second sleeve which will hopefully match it quite closely to the right front section of the cardigan.
Right, so back to the first sleeve.
Putting aside the good colour match, this was actually quite a tricky piece to knit up. The problem, once again, was the pattern row. The pattern designer had obviously designed the sleeves so that the pattern panels were spread evenly across the width of the sleeve, so the finished sleeve looked nice and balanced with five columns of lace interspersed with four columns of ‘scallops’. However, in doing so this made the stitch increases incredibly difficult to incorporate into the pattern, in fact I’d go as far as to say that certainly for the second size, it was impossible to work the new stitches in.
You see to make the sleeve look even, the pattern row initially started with k1,*(k2tog) twice, (yfwd, k1) four times, (k2tog) twice, repeat from * until last 5 stitches, then (k2tog) twice, k1.
Translated across the 62 stitches I had cast on initially (and into English) this meant I had effectively decreased the stitch count using the k2tog instruction ( knit 2 stitches at the same time which leaves just 1 new stitch) by 20 BUT I had also increased across the row using the ‘yfwd’ (yarn forward) instruction which had created 20 new stitches. So each had cancelled out the other leaving 60 stitches still on the needle at the end of the row.
With me so far?
Okay, so four rows in and the first set of increases came with one new stitch being made at each end of the fourth row. These increases didn’t actually affect the pattern at this point but the increases on the ends of the 21st row and every following 24th row (until 70 stitches) were, according to the instructions, to be worked into the pattern.
And there in, dear readers, lies the problem.
Remember, the first pattern row of the sleeve called for an equal number of stitches to be cast on and off. However, by the end of the second set of increases, the stitch count had, correctly, risen from 62 to 66 which equates to an extra 2 stitches, at each end of the needle. If I followed the instructions and incorporated each new pair of stitches correctly into the pattern, I would be using the k2tog instruction which would involve casting off an additional 2 stitches overall because the number of ‘yfwds’ (or cast on stitches) would have remained unchanged. In simple terms 22 stitches cast off the row and only 20 cast back on!
End result, 66 stitches had reduced to 64! Arrghhh!
I pretty quickly realised that I wouldn’t be able to reach the required 70 stitches until I had done sufficient increase rows to add enough stitches to hit the next ‘yfwd’ section and as there were 24 rows between increases, the length of the sleeve would very soon surpass the 28cm required before the shoulder shaping decreases began!!!
In fact, the more I think about it (and by now, I’ll have you know, my head has been aching for several days with the strain of having to think about this), the more I am convinced that what ever I do, I will NEVER get above 64 stitches! You see by the end of the next 24 rows another 2 stitches will have been added, 1 to each end and, knitting that in pattern, will return the same result: 66 stitches to 64!!!!! That can’t be right, can it?
Enough was enough and after much consideration, I decided the only option was NOT to incorporate the new stitches into the pattern. As the number of stitches overall was a relatively small number and their location along the sleeve seam meant they wouldn’t actually be seen, I don’t think it will make much difference to the look of the finished garment ……. whereas, should I ever manage to reach 70 stitches, Orangutan length sleeves on a 4ft little girl might look a tad strange, don’t you think?
Decision made I was soon through the increase section and almost before I knew it, I had begun the decreases for the shoulder shaping. Thankfully this proved a much easier exercise to carry out and I was soon casting off the final 4 stitches. Once again I couldn’t resist putting the finished sections together to see how they looked and I did like the similar, though not too symmetrical look of the garment so far and opted to start the second sleeve with the pale end of a new ball of yarn to give it a slightly more balanced appearance.