Top down sleeve head tutorial

I think I have cracked it! Neat and well- fitting sleeve heads are an ongoing fascination for me and I have researched and studied them extensively! this is a method I swear by and it is a pleasure to share this with you. Do try it at home!image

The pattern I used for this Henley constructs the garment bottom up, that is the body and the sleeves. Well, I hate bottom up sleeves for more than one reason. Firstly, I find sewing fitted sleeve caps into the body tedious. Secondly, it is a pain to adjust the sleeve length.

I looked at the pattern and it said that 14 sts is the final amount to be cast off at the sleeve head (remember: 14).

So I picked up with a slightly smaller needle the sleeve head stitches around the armhole. I started picking up stitches at the bottom of the armhole in the section AFTER the armhole shaping. The armhole was shaped binding off on the body 1 x 4 sts, 1 x 3 sts, 2 x 2 sts, 2 x 1 st. So I started picking up on the straight section and I picked up 1 st every 2 rows.

Why? Because when I knit the sleeve head with short rows, I add ONE stitch every two rows on each side on the sleeve head!

When I got to the top of the sleeve head (after picking up 20 sts), I put a maker in the work, picked up 14 sts 2 sts for each 3 rows. After my 14 sts I put another marker in the work and picked up 20 sts (one st n every 2 nd row) and I cut the yarn.

Why 2 sts to every 3 rows? Because that is where the ‘fabric’ is flat, stitches are joined to rows, just like on a button band…image

I then moved the sts. I slipped 20 sts so my needles were ready to start knitting the sleeve head, the first 14 sts.image

With a second dp needle (correct for my gauge), I knitted the first 14 sts, put a short piece of wool for the short rows to mark the turn, turned the work, knitted back 14 sts AND an extra stitch from the holding needle AND I put a marker thread as I turned the work.image

Then I knitted the right side again, this time picking up an extra st from the holding needle, which I knitted together with the loop from the marker thread. Before turning the work, I re-positioned the marker thread.image

I knitted all stitches back and when I came to the end, I picked up a stitch from the holding needle, positioned the loop from the marker thread to the left of it, pulled them together, re- positioned the marker thread, turned the work and so on… Until all 20 sts on both sides were used up.

Then I added the bound off stitches and incorporated them into the short rows, so I added on the sleeve head what I had bound off for the armhole.

Voila! This sleeve head is definitely fitting neatly into the armhole! Yay!

PS: In row 3, I re- introduced the basket weave pattern…




Proudly Presenting TD #2

Well, TD refers to “top down” and TD #2 indicates that it’s the second cardigan version of a pattern I originally designed last year (and knitted up), and that there are more versions of this to come. BECAUSE I LOVE IT and it fits so well…image

This second version of the pattern is simply a little shorter and the front lace has got an extra vertical row of a small pattern. It’s probably not that noticeable to the uninitiated eye… Or is it? Here is a shot of TD#1 in comparison.image

I think this is going to be my standard pattern for ‘a little knitted cardigan’ – it is so very light (380 gr) and comfortable, both relaxed and smart… and by now I have the pattern fairly well internalized, so it’s not hard to make another one.

I used Barbara Walker’s method of top down sweater knitting as outlined in her book Knitting from the Top. I refined her method by knitting short rows on the top sleeve to create a perfectly fitting sleeve cap.image

So, both cardigans are knitted in the round and then I steeked the centre front and added the button band. TD#2 is knitted on slightly smaller needles to keep the shape better!

For all edges I used a rib that features purl stitches and the lace knit that occurs in the lace pattern.image

And with this accomplishment under my belt, I sought out something small and quick for my next project. I have always intended to whip up this lovely little Henley.image

When I knitted up a sample for the waffle knit, the pattern was very unimpressive and I had saved something more bold on Pinterest which seemed to work really well!image

And look at the reverse side, it’s very pretty, too!image

Have I mentioned that I have started a 6 month contract on the costume’s for Disney’s Aladdin? The designs are amazing and I am thrilled to be on Australia’s A team of costume manufacturing to realize them. The hours are long, the production scope is epic, the organization/ coordination of a all the making, beading, hand painting and other embellishment is EPIC, but it’s so much fun! :).


Another Levenwick

I have finished a cardigan for my niece. We celebrated her third boy’s first birthday and Christening today. Since I didn’t manage to finish Harriet’s cardigan for her birthday in June, I was pleased to present her with it today! It’s Levenwick by the formidable Gudrun Johnston. I made mine in red and have had so much wear out of it. And am always getting very flattering comments :).

I finished this one last night, so didn’t have time to block it. A jolly good steam had to do the trick. And I also didn’t have the time to make the little pocket, will knit it up and sew it on next time I see her!Harriet

I hope that the sleeves will ‘grow’ when Harriet blocks it, or I will have to extend them.

It really is her color, I love this pattern!

Proudly Presenting: The most wonderful top down cardigan

Hi, I will do what I say I will do: presenting proudly the cardigan, top down with fitted sleeves and done, re-done, frogged, ripped and knitted with the stamina of determination. I am over the moon with it!!! image image This project would have been going on since February.

I am so pleased with the entire fit, how the sleeves are fitted elegantly, the lace pattern, the front button band. And the buttons! I love the buttons. I felt like being different, so I grouped them – two together. The sleeves are long enough, and slim enough to fit into a winter coat… everything is perfect. I freaked at blocking stage because all of a sudden (when it was soaked) this cardigan looked enormous… but it shrank again. Phew.

This has been a long weekend, so an extra day to chill and play. On day one I did a 3.5hr dog walk with my husband and it was soooo very nice to catch up, get fresh air and exercise and chill together. 20150606_072948 And to casually come across some very contemporary art by a young, up and coming artist in unexpected places.20150606_075404 20150606_075453 20150606_082159 20150606_082341(0) Then Sunday we mounted an expedition to the Blue Mountains and we did a 16km walk with 4 kids… unbelievable scenery and physical challenge. Technology failed us and no photos are available for this post – but believe me, it was magic! We saw a lyrebird! This is obviously an image from google (technical issues…) – but it is really rare that one can see these in the wild. We were very lucky.We all slept well and had a quiet day today. And a beautiful sunset to finish the day.20150608_172750


This was going to be a winy post, about the cardigan I ripped, re-knitted, ripped (etc) and now finally finished and it is a little bigger than I had hoped. MAJOR drama in my little life…

BUT NO – there is so much else to share – I went to see the Melbourne Ska Orchestra at the Opera House last night and wow it was fantastic! So much energy and sophisticated stage craft.20150530_222046 20150530_210954 20150530_222105Check out some of their videos. Hilarious.

Guest artist Mojo Juju was also terrific. What an utterly uncompromising performer… inspiring.

When we walked to the train station, we were able to enjoy some of the Vivid light installations. Here are some shots of the Contemporary Art Museum.20150530_225434 20150530_225446 20150530_225450

So here a few images of that cardigan that made me feel all wound up and made me wind up for the next few cardi drying

So here is the winding up location.winding yarn

Here is some merino 2 plyin the shade of ‘Magnolia’ – it’s going to be a lace shawl that I will knit in tandem with Sue (since I couldn’t even figure how to do that particular cast on…).winding white yarn

And this is the alpaca that I ordered for my gift voucher won at the Knitters Guilt, this shade is ‘Jade’. I was thinking of another small fitted cardigan…Jade Alpaca

And these are my flowers. image

Mothers Day flowers (red roses in the middle) are just about on their way out, last weekend I got a beautiful bunch of Lilys from my husband (just like that…), they are about to open and the closed Lilys are from Little Red Riding Hood (aka Sue) who braved a visit to poor sick me (and Jo) on Friday, despite us having horrific head colds. She DID bring a basket, with fresh home made scones (plain and savory), whipped cream and home made jam – but all was gobbled shortly after her arrival, in any case before way before it could be documented…

I can’t wait for that red cardigan to dry…

Going into Winter, and Proudly Presenting a few things…

Being a knitter, originally from the cold Northern Germany (and having spent many years in Scandinavia…) I love the onset of autumn and winter here in Australia. Finally I get to wear my cardies and jumpers again, usually one or two new pieces that have been on the needles in the sweltering heat of the  summer. So here is K modelling her brand new Reverb cardi, in front of her massive “still to do list” before finishing up this job and moving to Melbourne.image I decided to give it to her before the big good bye, since then I still have the benefit of seeing and adoring her in it…

Then I made this one very quickly. It’s Levenwick by Gudrun Johnston. I felt the need of color injection into my wardrobe, and I have stopped wearing this cardigan, because it’s just too big. imageSo I just unraveled, straightened the yarn and cast on… image I am really pleased with this outcome, and have even redone the lace collar already, it had started going floppy already during this first week of wearing it and consequently the entire cardigan was flipping and flopping and gaining in length every day. It was a tricky operation, because I left the lace button band in place whilst fiddling with the collar… We are a two car family again. So I have got wheels once more. So I stayed dry, while this deluge in Sydney went ooon and ooon. So now I can drive by the supermarket after work to catch some dinner. So I can see my father in law more often again. All not to be snuffed at. Despite having wheels again, I will continue not to rush. Why would I? I have this to look at. image Well, I went on a bit of a cultural excursion with my son, last weekend. I still cannot get over how quickly (10mins) I can transition from the above idyllic scenery to this:image Anyway, We had a look at a student design technology exhibition. And guess what else I found in the same museum – ha! image I dread to think what it would have felt to wear this all day, every day… and wait, there was more – and entire exhibition on underwear… very timely, since I just started working on corsets with the TAFE students. To be truthful – all the above is LAST week’s news. It has taken me a week to find a photographer around here to take a picture of the red cardigan, so I didn’t press ‘publish now’ a week ago…

THIS weekend’s news is that it is Mother’s Day and I a stayed in bed until 11am! Then very slowly we gathered the troops, kids and dogs that is, and went for a wonderful walk at the water… image     imageimage

…while this friend was preparing a nice meal for us, ready for when we returned home.image


So here we are, still enjoying the simple things in life, just being alive and well. It’s exactly 4 weeks since the crash and I am unable to rush, push, pull – doing my normal hectic thing. I just cannot do it at all. Instead of being overly worried, I begin to think that this is a pretty good outcome.

Proudly presenting K’s “Reverb”, not a great shot, but I will save that one for a photo with her in it!image image image

Tripple Top Down

Have not talked about knitting for a bit, right? Only mentioned tangentially that is has occurred. So this post is about knitting. Some weeks ago I posted two tutorials about top down jumpers – easy – peasy and no seams! And what a fit! Let me rephrase – easy when you know what you are doing (especially once you have finished the yoke) and when you have the right measurements and yeah – peasy and no seams!

So the reason the jumper tutorial ended where it did was because I probably re- did that section, the yoke, about uhm FIVE times. Yepp. And that is because each time I knitted it, I described in more detail to myself (and for the crowds following this blog 😜), I improved it, clarified it, tweaked and twisted… I am very happy with what came out of the exercise.

Show and Tell Time? So what do you think is in these bags?image

It’s hardly any shopping,  Ok, since I really hate shopping… another clue, here:image

Yesssss, my knitting projects! All top down jumpers/ cardigans! Let’s start with the first one, which is for myself!image

So I promised my nephew to knit him a jumper, and I started (said tutorial) and waited to fit him… And as I was waiting and waiting to get together with him I got very impatient to explore the whole top down thing, and what better way would there be anyway than using up this delightful yarn? So this is what I made – naturally knitted the whole thing FIVE times until it got to this stage! I will steek it and turn it into a cardigan, and then I will knit this over and over and over again, in different colours and with different detail – it is such an amazing fit and nice thin yarn!

So, next in line comes that said jumper for my nephew and I can’t help but sneak some photos in from our rendezvous that we eventually managed to organise.image

image But back to the jumper for Dominic. I have improved the sleevehead since the said tutorial by adding about 12 short row shaping rows, I think it looks so great!image

So the body is crunched up and looks super slim  – but that’s just because I didn’t unload all the stitches on a 2nd needle for the photo shoot… Sorry… One set on thee stripes on one sleeve only… Cool cat. More photos upon completion.

So, the last bag contains something for my colleague who scored a job at Monash University, and it will be cold in Melbourne when she gets there in July. She is leaving her old job (with me, sob, sob…) in May, so I thought I better slot this project in pronto! Of course I was going to design something special, but then, considering my rate of re- knits of every section, I thought it was prudent to opt for a commercial pattern. I looked for something feminine, yet feminist and decided on this one – Reverb – by Brooklyn Tweed. To be honest, I fell in love with that old truck just as much as with the cardigan!

I saw, I downloaded, I cast on…

And have sped ahead with this top down raglan ( in Bendigo wool, needless to say, found it in the stash)  – it’s a miracle how fast a project grows without being unpicked all the time!image

Tutorial: Top Down Set in Sleeves, Part 2

Hope I didn’t let you hang on that cliff for too long, fellow knitting yogis, searching for deeper sleeve experience… This is a quick tutorial sharing the real MAGIC about this technique – so welcome, get comfy in you lotus position and let’s get started!!! Voila:image Please forgive give me this wonky shot of the magic, but it was kinda shot on the run. I picked up 24 sts on the rows between front and back panel (2 sts per 3 rows). These are the stitches for the sleeve head! Have a look at the beautiful cast on row here|: image Here you see me increasing 1 sts each side of the sleeve head by making one st (inside the two markers) every 2nd row. You will also notice in the previous photo that I had to enlist just about every circular needle in the house!!! Few of us have 4 of the same size lying around (let alone of the size we currently are using!!!) – so I enlisted anything long enough and in similar size to get the job done… Another gauge fudge… And then, after a few more rows of back and forth, knit and purl, I reached the point where the front neckline was done and I cast on the remaining 24 sts in one hit and now I am just going round in circles, not worrying about a thing until I come to the bottom of the armhole…image Once a few rows of the sleeve head had been knitted, I was able to retire the sundry needles and carry on on the ONE long circular one (I happen to have a 120cm in the correct size, yeeeha!) Don’t you think this is worth the initial fiddle? Once you are at this stage – do fit the jumper! Just change it if it’s not quiet right, it’s quick enough! Everything that follows from here on is a walk in the park!image

Tutorial: Top Down Set in Sleeves Part 1

I hope this post will be for some lone knitting googlers the answer to their knitting prayers – an explanation and tutorial on those magic set in/ fitted sleeves that are being knitted from the top to the cuff! Disclaimer : I am entirely self taught by reading Barbara Walker’s “Knitting from the Top” and by working my way through a number of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s top down jumpers (but they did’ have the fitted sleeve).

So here I am starting: casting on 24 sts with invisible cast on for the first shoulder, then knitting 6 rows with short rows for the shoulder slant. See how I am increasing at the neck 2 sts to shape the back neck? image

At the end of the final row, I cast on 40 sts, the remaining neck sts.image

And then I cast on 24 sts for the other shoulder… image

After I have finished the slanted bit for the shoulder, I join the piece to the first one by knitting over the entire new neck stitches and the other shoulder. I knit another 16 rows of stocking stitch, without decreases or increases.image

Then I pick up the 24 sts from the first shoulder for the first shoulder front. Here, too I knit the shoulder slant with short rows. I also add some increases for the rounded deep neckline. I knit a total of 22 rows, just like on the back.image

And then I do the same on the other shoulder.image

Any questions so far?

In the next tutorial I will cover the magic bit – picking up the stitches for the sleeve head! BTW – I am using 3.75 mm needles and am knitting with Bendigo Woollen Mills ‘Classic’ wool. It’s going to be a jumper for my nephew Dominic, size 40″ chest… I would not be surprised if I had to re- work the thing more than once… That seems how it goes… But I never regret the frogging/ ripping… If that means the piece is going to worn and treasured, that’s ok…