Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sweater Update 3: Vale Cardigan Sleeves - Count Your Stitches & Check Your Math

So I've finished both sleeves for my Vale Cardigan.  Usually I don't have much to say about knitting sleeves - they are what they are.  But this time, I have a few notes to share:

 1.  After going back and forth on making the sleeves longer or not, I decided to knit them as written in the pattern.  I just decided to trust Norah Gaughan's brilliance and style, and go with what she had designed.  This worked out great.  On me, the sleeves uncuffed are almost full length.  And when I fold up the cuff, the sleeves are the perfect 3/4 length.  I think this will work beautifully.  The sleeves, are however, a bit snug.  I blocked them to the proper size and I hope with wear, they might loosen up some.

One of the reasons why I decided to knit the sleeves as written is I really loved the way the cables laid out on the model shot, with the full loop hitting in the middle of the upper arm.  I definitely wanted my sleeves to look the same and decided not to mess with the pattern.  I think the cable design is something to think about before you change the length of the sleeves.

2.  Just an FYI - I found some mistakes with the sleeve directions.  I made the second smallest size and found the errors there.  I didn't check to see if the errors affected other sizes too.

For my size, you cast on 42 stitches.  The directions say that after doing the ribbing and the increases to create the cable panel, you should 6 stitches left.  This isn't true - you have 12 stitches left, which centers the cable pattern on the sleeves as it should be.

Second issue:  The next direction starts the set up row.  You're told to purl 13 sts before starting the cable pattern, but you only have 12 sts to work with.  This is obviously a mistake, but you need an odd number of sts for the moss design.  I remedied this by doing a quick increase on this row before hitting the cable panel.  I did a knit front and back while working a knit stitch in the moss pattern.  My increased stitch then became the purl stitch I needed, and I just continued working in pattern.  I did this on both sides of the cable panel to make the 52 sts I needed.

3.  I thought about knitting my sleeves in the round.  I didn't do it, but I think you can.  I would suggest casting on two more stitches than the pattern calls for, to keep your k2, p2 ribbing in pattern, then do 1 less increase along the length of your sleeve.

So, I've completed the knitting on this sweater and have seamed the pieces.  Finished shots of the full sweater to be posted soon, along with my final thoughts and comments!