Picking up stitches
On Wednesday night, I started the first sleeve on Mom sweater by picking stitches up around the armhole.
Picking up stitches is an art. After not being satisfied with the way I done it back in the 1980s, I got Barbara Walker book, from the Top. By the way, I met Barbara Walker she from Harding (Morris County) and she not only a wonderful knitter but a very open and generous person. But that another story.
Walker points out in from the Top that most knitted stitches are wider than they are high, so if you are picking stitches up that will be worked perpendicular to the fabric you already knitted which is what you do when you picking up stitches around the armhole to make a sleeve you can knit into pick up a new stitch from every existing stitch because you end up with too many stitches and the seam/join won lay flat.
For example, at an armhole, if you have 70 rows on each side from the peak of the shoulder to the underarm seam, you might think that you pick up 70 stitches on each side, for a total of 140. WRONG
These sleeves were knitted from the shoulders out, and they puffy because I picked up too many stitches.
Walker recommends you follow a certain mathematical ratio when picking up stitches, and for 20 years, I remembered the formula wrong: I been picking up 3 stitches for every 4. So, for example, at the 70 row armhole I mentioned just now, there would be 140 stitches in the armhole, and I pick up 105: I pick up a stitch in 3 rows, then skip the 4th, then pick up 3, then skip the 4th.
W rolex watches for sale hen you done a few pick ups like this, you will see that the stitches on the side of your knitted fabric aren even. You always have a tight stitch, then a loose one, then a tight one and so forth. This is the nature of what happens to the tension in the yarn when you get to the end of a row, turn, and start knitting in the other direction. And when you start picking up stitches, you must turn this difference into your advantage.
It may seem counter intuitive, but always skip the looser stitches at the end of the rows when you skipping. The tight ones can take the strain and stress of having a stitch knitted into them much better than the more open stitches can. If you stay with the loose stitches, you going to end up with a lot of holes in your seam that you won be happy with.
But I digress. Walker ratio isn 4 to 3, it 3 to 2. So for every three rows, you should pick up 2 stitches and that it. If you have 140 stitches around the armhole, you should pick up about 94 or 95 stitches, not the 105 that I been picking up.
Up above, I show you why this is significant. There a rose sweater I made in the 1980s. See how wide the sleeves are? See how they bell out? This is fine if you want puffy sleeves, but I be honest with you. I got puffy sleeves here because I picked up too many stitches.
The sleeves on t rolex watches for sale his sweater are so wide because I picked up too many stitches at the shoulder to knit down to the wrist.
This is exactly why my Inca Cardigan sleeves started out so wide at the join, where the sleeves join the body. I picked up too many stitches there, too. I should reread Walker book before I made the Inca Cardiagn, not after.
So the Inca Cardigan, which I made this summer, has sleeves that started out wide and remained so because I didn decrease fast enough. Knowing this, I could rip them all out and redo them, but that a lot of work, and I lazy. I rather just keep wearing it and make new sweaters that fit better.
For example, the Fantasy cardigan that I made in October was constructed in a similar way. But I tried an experiment, just to see what would happen. Instead of picking up stitches in the 3 to 4 ratio that I been doing for years or the 2 to 3 ratio that Walker recommends, I tried at 1 to 2 ratio. Basically, what I did was pick up a stitch in every tight stitch in the existing fabric.
In the Fantasy sweater, the sleeves fit much better because I picked up fewer stitches around the armholes.
In the picture here, it not easy to see, and frankly, the whole sweater looks a little big because I a 1X gal, but if you compare the sleeves at the shoulder of this sweater with the sleeves of the Inca Cardigan, you see that the sleeves are much narrower there and they continue that way, narrower, all the way down to the wrist. The sweater fits much better.
All this is explanation is a long winded preface to what I did last night on Mom sweater. Without checking the pattern for the basketweave jac rolex watches for sale ket that I been following in the on Down book, I picked up 72 stitches, knitting only into the tight stitches on the side of the armhole, and I began knitting the first sleeve. I did this because I was very happy with the way the Fantasy sweater sleeves came out.
After 5 or 6 rows, though, a nagging voice in the back of my head compelled me to get the book out and see how many stitches the designer told me to pick up for the size I making mom. Of course, the book wants more stitches: 82. Just 10 stitches more, but in the gauge I knitting, that 2 whole inches. That 2 inches of give, 2 extra inches to make it easier for clothes to slip in through the armhole as Mom puts this sweater over a turtleneck or a blouse or a T shirt.
And so I reluctantly frogged (ripped out) the sleeve and went in search of those extra 10 stitches. It took me a while to figure out how to space them evenly around the armhole it simple math, but I was so tired at that point that the mathematical part of my brain had probably already gone to sleep. But it came out okay, I think, and I have done 9 rows. Tonight, when I get back to knitting after a full day at work, I will attach the yarn from a second dye lot and start knitting alternate rows with the two dyelots.
Take it easy, and keep knitting. Or, as one of my new friends in the Prayer Shawl group on Ravelry likes to say, of yarn. Her parents were real estate brokers and office managers, and she herself was a licensed agent in the 1970s. But early on, Pam discovered she’d much rolex watches for sale rather write about the industry than sell. Now in her eighth year as the real estate editor at the Courier News, Pam believes she has the best job at the paper. In this blog, she’s on a mission to empower readers to give them a strong understanding of anything and everything that can impact their ability to own a home. And she believes passionately that when you understand the real estate industry in New Jersey, you understand so much more: the education system, economic and racial bias, the way politics works or doesn’t work and ecology, to name a few. She invites everybody to leave lots of comments, even when they disagree with her. Pam learned to knit at age 6, when her friend’s mother made Pam’s doll a dress, and Pam wanted to make more. Her mother wanted her to learn how to sew in high school, but she was afraid of the sewing machines, cutting fabric the wrong way, and the potential that sewing would have for bringing down her grade point average. Every year, she managed to find a course conflict to avoid sewing classes. But the day after high school graduation, she took her graduation money to a fabric store, bought a kit to make a sweater, taught herself to read patterns and never looked back. These days, she knits a prayer shawl every month, along with sweaters, tote bags, gift bags and other goodies. She also designs many of her projects. Read More About Pam