Armed and ready …

Now that you’re ready to start your sleeves, here are some tips and techniques that you might find handy in making them go a little easier.

  1. Sleeves are like socks – there are usually two of them, and while most of us tackle the first one with a lot of enthusiasm, sometimes, the second one get a little less love. This can lead to one sleeve looking decidedly different from the second. A good method to combat this is to knit both sleeves at once. You would make sure your needles are long enough to hold all the stitches for both sleeves, and use two balls of yarn. Cast on the first sleeve with the first ball, and then the second with the second. The obvious advantage of doing this is that you will have both sleeves completed at the same time and they will be exactly alike!
  2. Increases – It is best to work your increases one stitch in on your sleeve, to make the sewing up later a lot easier. For this it is best to have a selvedge stitch so that you can use the raised increase. The raised increase can also be made as a knit or purl stitch, depending on what your pattern requires.
  3. Use stitch markers to make sure you know on what row you increased last. This is especially important when using the raised increase as it is not always easy to see.
  4. Make sure you increase on BOTH sides of the sleeve each time you increase. If you don’t you will get a very odd shaped sleeve. I like to count my stitches regularly and ensure that I have the right number. It’s worth the few seconds it takes to count the stitches to prevent a lot of frogging later.
  5. When you cast off your sleeves leave an ample length of yarn for sewing them onto the shoulder later. This makes for a better connection and only one end of yarn to darn in!
  6. If you prefer, and you are comfortable with it, you can knit your sleeve from the top to the bottom. This will allow for length adjustments later as children seem to grow tall quicker than wide.

That should be enough to get you through your first set of sleeves painlessly. If you have any tips that have been overlooked here you can leave a comment below or put it in the Knit School section on the forum page.

Yarn Over and Out!