If you can’t tell by now, I’ve been on a little bit of a sleeve kick – as I’ve been brainstorming for a variety of different garment ideas, I’ve been researching and reading about different types of sleeves.
Sleeves, and shaping, can be a source of mystery for many knitters and crocheters. It’s understandable because sleeve cap shaping can involve a lot of math and that’s not quite what everyone wants to do. That’s why I love the Magic Sleeve Recipe–it takes most of the math out of working a sleeve. You’ll need to know a couple of measurements, and your stitch gauge, but that’s it. No calculating the rate of decreases, no complex geometry. It’ll look something like this:
The Magic Sleeve Recipe is great for looser fitting sweaters, when you have a bit of extra room. Because it’s not as shaped, it has a comfortable, casual look.
You’ll need to modify your pattern a little bit when working it. When working from the bottom up, you’ll want to do your decreases all at once (as a bind off), instead of decreasing a little at a time.
So instead of your sleeve looking like this:
It will look like this:
After you’ve worked the armhole shaping, you’ll want to seam the shoulders and the sides of the sweater. Then, you’ll pick up stitches for the sleeve, starting at one corner and working up and over the sleeve. If you are not very exact, you can just place stitches evenly. If you are, measure the height of the armhole and multiply it by 2, and then by your stitch gauge. You will not pick up stitches along the armhole flap (basically, pick up stitches along the green lines).
Work the sleeve flat (in pattern, if you have one) until the length of your flat work is 1/2 the width of your armpit (or, the length of the pink line in the picture above). Begin working the sleeve in the round.
If you wish, you can work decreases to create a shaped sleeve, or work the sleeve straight down. You can end it as a short sleeve or work it until you reach a longer sleeve. A shaped short sleeve might look like this when you are done:
When you are done working the sleeve, there will be a hole where the armpit isn’t sewn together. Seam the edge of the sleeve to the edge of the sweater.
A note about drop shoulders: unlike set in sleeves, which already have sleeve shaping that you just have to adapt, drop shoulder sleeves will need to have some of their stitches bound off around the armhole in order for this method to work. Normally binding off 1-3″ is enough to accommodate a Small-XL sized sweater.
I love this method for a quick and easy short sleeve – as I find it suits casual sweaters quite nicely! Give it a try sometime.
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