12 November, 2012

How to::: easily knit sleeves & armholes

There comes a time in a vest or jumper, that you can't put off any more and that is the armholes/sleeves.
Yep, I hate them.  That is until my mum told me how to easily count the stitches whilst casting on/picking the stitches for the sleeve as that is the bit that I always found the hardest!  So I've listed the steps below to help you... and to help me when I have to do it again!
Firstly, lay the garment (good side up) as flat as you can on the table - this is trickier than it sounds as it always curls up!

Stick your finger in the approximate middle, fold over from the armhole bottom to the seam (shoulder) and mark it with safety pin (or a stitch marker but I can never find mine!).     Basically, what you have done is made it easier to cast on stitches - lets say the length of the armhole (to the seam) is 32 stitches, by marking the middle you know only have to cast on 16 stitches in each of those gaps (a lot easier than trying to cast on 32 evenly).
But lets make it easier, if you fold it in half again & mark it, you now only have to cast 8 stitches evenly - way better than trying to cast 32 or even 16 evenly.   Now do this for the rest (the back to the seam on the same side & of course the other side of the garment too).
 Now let's talk about how we are going to create those stitches to actually knit the sleeve with!
By pressing the garment flat along your fingers between the markers, you can quickly see where you will put your 8 stitches. If you see below, I'm going to put a stitch on the before the first green stitch (from the left).
Now, I find this bit easier to do with a crochet hook, but you can just use the knitting needle if you have more patience than me!  Gently 'poke' your crochet hook through the two strands that make up the stitch.
 Wind the yarn around the hook and put onto the knitting needle.
Once you have worked your way to the edge of the armhole it should look a little like the below picture. Now, wasn't that easier working out where to put 8 stitches at a time rather than ... eek 32!
Then you can take out all the markers and knit the sleeve according to the pattern on two needles - rather than try using a circular needle or dpns - you then sew the sleeve up at the end.
 AND.... I did this all with a toddler playing 'pony' on my leg! 
Did this make sense? Did this help you at all?
Or do you just not care because you like sewing & have never picked up a knitting needle except to scratch your back with?!!

Oh & by the way, this technique of marking also works wonders on necklines too!

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