I feel like I must be the last knitter on earth to figure this out, but I do think the potential is there to change my knitting life forever! Hyperbole?!? You bet!
What am I talking about? The best kept [knitting] secret of all time: the bottom up contiguous sleeve. Yes. A fitted sleeve knit in one piece with the body from the bottom up. Others have tried it. Others have succeeded. But this is a first for moi.
Let me just say for the record that I don’t have a problem with seams. They have their place and I am comfortable doing them. But, that said, I hate sewing sleeve caps into the armscye. Just hate it. Many designers have glommed onto the fact that people do not like seams: there are many top down sweaters out there right now to prove it. But there are still many bottom up designs that are worked in pieces to achieve the look of the set in sleeve.
Recently, Jared Flood introduced a new series of patterns, one of which really caught both Sally’s and my attention: Burr by Veronik Avery. It is knit bottom up in pieces. Could it be converted to bottom up contiguous? I had to know.
The answer. Yes.
Burr knit in Rowan Tweed, Color Reeth
Look at the beautiful set in sleeve! And it fits me perfectly! It is still wet and blocking, but I was too excited to wait to share it with my knitting peeps.
I love the beautiful details in this sweater: the YOs on the front and back, the gorgeous collar, and the inverted “V” ribbing details on the hems of the body and sleeves. I did make major modifications though to achieve my goal of seamless, fitted sleeve:
1 – work both fronts and the back in one piece (I also made some other small changes in my set up)
2 – work to the armhole
3 – work sleeves in the round to the underarm
4 – join all pieces (leaving live sts at the underarm of both the sleeves and the body — ‘bound off’ sts in pattern) and start all shaping as needed (for this step, I graphed out all of the pieces onto graph paper to figure out my shaping)
5 – at the top of the sleeve cap (which was 2 inches wide at that point = 12 sts), stop knitting the sleeve and instead work the fronts and back as separate pieces for 1 inch each (and add short row shaping for the shoulder) — I added a ‘make 1’ to the fronts and back at the edge next to the sleeve cap for the seaming in Step 7
6 – join shoulders using 3-needle bind off
7 – graft the sleeve cap sts to the front and back extensions
8 – graft underarm sts
The picture below shows the work in progress after Step 5 is complete:
I am thrilled with the results and will share additional photos when it is dry and I have buttons. This easy to do method is just one way that people eliminate the seam on sleeve caps. I have experimented with other ideas for doing this and will try them out in the future.
This is another reason I love knitting — even after doing this for over 45 years, there is still so much to learn!! Yowza!!