I received this question about working pattern on a top-down from MJ, who has watched my youtube videos:
“…do you know/ is there a formula for knitting a lace pattern down the sleeve? I just cant work it out to make the sleeves match the front, or must your method be plain? The pattern is row 1: K, Row 2: 46 p…”, etc.
I have worked a K6P2 ribbing in the top-down sleeve, so I know some patterns can be worked, I’m just not sure all of them can. Here’s what I did: Read more »
I like a three-needle bind off at the shoulder seams because I think it makes a neater looking seam. This means my shoulder stitches must be live, which is why I do all that horsing around with short rows for shoulder shaping that you saw in the previous post. Another way to work your shoulders is via binding off stitches, and then grafting the seams or sewing them with a backstitch, but try as I may, mine always look messy. That’s why I like the method I’ve shown.
Here is an excellent and extensive article about armhole shaping and sleeve styles. It doesn’t use the top-down method for set-in sleeves, but if you’ve been wondering about drafting a sleeve, plus drop-shoulder and modified drop shoulder (and raglan and everything else), check out this article from Knitty.com.
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a new video because I am in the process of putting the whole method into an ebook (coming soon). I thought is would be a fairly quick process (hysterical laughter here). It hasn’t been, and that’s why the videos have been temporarily tabled. However, I’ve had several requests for information on how to work the sleeve, and I hate to leave anyone hanging.
So here is a quick and dirty description of how to knit a top-down sleeve:
1. Measure upper arm and add half of body ease (e.g., if your body ease was 3″, add 1-1/2″ to upper arm measurement).
2. Use your stitch gauge to compute the number of stitches this is. This is the number of stitches you need to pick up around the sleeve opening. You will pick up the bound-off underarm stitches one-for-one, so subtract this number from the total to get the number of stitches distributed around the rest of the sleeve. You could count the total number of rows and figure out a ratio, or be a little more casual and divide the sleeve up by folding and placing markers. Whatever method you choose, you will also want to place markers at the shoulder seam, and 1/3 of the way down each side of the opening.
3. With right side facing you and a 16″ circular or double-points, start at center of underarm and place a marker. Pick up the bound-off stitches one for one, then pick up the rest of the way around in the proportion you’ve determined, and finish with the rest of the bound-off stitiches.
4. Knit around again, up one side, past the shoulder seam marker and on to the 1/3 marker beyond. You will now start short-rowing. Wrap and turn at the 1/3 marker, purl back across the shoulder seam again to the other 1/3 marker. Wrap and turn.
5. Here’s the pattern now: work back and forth across the cap, each time working one additional stitch past the last row, then wrapping, turning, and working back. According to my sources, you don’t need to pick up the loop–it’s supposed to snuggle into the seam.
6. When you reach the bound-off stitches, work straight across them, picking up the center underarm marker, and your sleeve cap is worked. From then on you’re working in the round and decreasing to shape the sleeve.
7. To figure decreases, measure your fist. This is the cuff measurement. Figure the number of stitches this is. Subtract this from the number of stitches in your upper arm to get the number of stitches to decrease–round up or down to make it an even number. You will be decreasing one stitch on each side of the center marker.
8. Check your row gauge to figure how often to decrease. Typically on the sleeve it is two stitches on a right-side row every four rows, but do what works.
9. When your sleeve is as long as you want it (minus edging), work your edging stitch and bind off.
Armholes are next. I have you start on the back of the sweater, where we’ll concentrate on the armholes. We leave the back unfinished–we’ll return after the front is finished. That way we can take one new technique at a time.