Death by Sleeve

Remember the Dyemonds tee? The last time I wrote about it was in this post from March 27th, and I had gotten this far:

I had been zipping along on this, and was also writing about how intuitive the pattern was, and how fast it was going. And then… I decided to knit the sleeves. Cue ominous music: Dum-da-dum-dum! This is where things got dicey.

I decided to knit the sleeves at this point for two reasons. First, if one doesn’t save the sleeves for last, one gets all of the messy (or boring) stuff done first, and then sails on to the end of the sweater. Second, I wanted to try to match the colours of the sleeves (more or less) to the body. Due to the nature of the Spincycle yarn (long colour shifts and extreme differences from skein to skein), I wanted to do this early on while I still had enough yarn to do a proper match instead of getting to the end and finding that the only yarn remaining didn’t allow me to match up the sleeves. As an example of the colour matching problem, see here my two remaining skeins of the yarn:

So, I put the sleeve stitches on my trusty DPNs (double pointed needles), picked up the stitches under the arm, and tried to knit the first row. I tried to knit the first row for about 3 hours, pulling it out and starting again, and reading the instructions over and over and over again. I basically hit a conceptual wall. It was a case of Death by Sleeve. I ended up throwing the project into the naughty corner, and proceeded to finish Doug’s beautiful Ursula waistcoat, and knit the Tin Roof tee, before I gave myself a strict talking to, and dragged out the Dyemonds tee for a second attempt at the sleeves. And voila!

Two sleeves! They fit nicely too:

There are two types of problems with the sleeves. The first is conceptual. I had a hard time with the instructions. I am pretty sure this is my fault and not the designer’s, but I really struggled. She utilises two markers: a BOR (beginning of row) and a BOC (beginning of chart), something which I think ended up confusing me. Mostly, however, the problem is that the patterns don’t match at the underarm of the sleeve (which is a natural effect of the pattern and the way that sleeves work), but I couldn’t get my head around it. And, of course, no one ever shows you photos of these things. So, in case you plan to knit one of these, here is a photo of the underpart of the sleeve:

The pattern doesn’t match along the inside seam of the arm, which makes sense because you are decreasing in order to make the sleeve fit. But it also doesn’t match on either side of the underarm, in other words the stitches which you pick up at the underarm, do not flow from the already established pattern of the sweater body. Of course, the pattern does flow from the already established pattern on all of the visible parts of the sleeve, just not at the underarm and inner sleeve. To see this, look at the below photo of the sleeve from the front. The green stitch marker is the same one from the photo above, so it helps you visualise the pattern placing.

See how gorgeous this part of the sleeve is? The pattern integrates beautifully. That’s because all of the messiness is hidden away and never gets seen unless you walk around with your arms above your head, and point to the offending bit saying “Look! It doesn’t match!” For some reason, however, I really had trouble with conceptualising the way the pattern behaved at the underarm. Once I figured it out with the first sleeve, I no longer had this issue on the second sleeve. That, however, brings me to the second problem with the sleeves: doing stranded knitting on double pointed needles is really fiddly and hard to do. This was equally as fiddly on the second sleeve as on the first. So, once I got my head around what I had to do to knit the pattern, I had to get my fingers to sort out what they had to do to actually knit the damn thing! I am telling you, this really was death by sleeve and came close to being frogged. Now, all I have left is easy knitting. So I am hoping that the rest of this tee will move along at a jaunty pace.

The colours in this look very different depending on the light and it’s difficult to capture. Sometimes the oranges and yellows pop and it looks very warm, and sometimes the reds and pinks pop and it is more cool. This photo is pushing the exposure a bit but I like it:

If you are wondering about the results of the poll from earlier in the week, I will report back soon. I think I’ve figured out which sweater kit I will ask for, and am now thinking about colour. I hope you had a lovely weekend!

6 thoughts on “Death by Sleeve

  1. Your sweater is lovely, Kelly and worth all of the work to get the sleeve colourwork right, especially given the Spincycle yarn colour issues/differences. And, doing the pattern sleeves on DPNs is an amazing feat! Good luck knitting the rest of the sweater and can’t wait to see the pictures of you wearing your beautiful finished object!

  2. Well done for persevering and not popping it back in the naughty corner. The pattern along the raglan really does look great. Unless you become one of those tour guides that holds a brolly or flag in the air for tourists to follow then I’m pretty sure no one will see your under arms 😉

  3. Your tee is beautiful! Good for you persevering and getting through the tough part 🙂 Also thanks for sharing what the difficult bits look like – you are right that there are never pictures of those parts of patterns.

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