All Roads Lead to Rome

May 3, 2011 § 8 Comments

‘Western Union,’ echoed Miss Sharples, inscribing on her tablets something that resembled an impressionistic sketch of pneumonia germ…'”Happy Birthday”,’ murmured Miss Sharples, pencilling in two squiggles and a streptococcus.  Spring Fever, P.G. Wodehouse

This weird looking piece of knitting is making me inordinately happy.  I recently attempted Barbara G. Walker’s simultaneous set in sleeves from the genius Knitting From the Top.  While I love the idea of this method, I was frustrated with the results.

Walker’s method involves casting on for the top back, working a couple of inches of back, picking up stitches for the front shoulders along the shoulder edge of the first piece (or working from a provisional cast on), and working down the fronts a couple inches to match the back.  Sleeve caps are then created by working across a front, picking up stitches in the side of the work for one sleeve cap, working across the back, picking up stitches for the second sleeve cap, and working the remaining front section.  In subsequent rows, the sleeve cap gains stitches raglan-style with sleeve-side only increases on alternate rows.

I loved watching the set in sleeve caps grow with the yoke, but I found myself frustrated with the little bumps in the fabric at the corners at which the knitting moves perpendicularly to the picked up sleeve cap top stitches.  I also found myself wishing for lovelier smoother rounder caps.

A few weeks back I decided to experiment a little with the method, inspired by Jared Flood’s Vogue Knitting article on seamless set-in sleeves from the bottom up, and this little patch of knitting is what sprang into being.  It is worked using magic loop – imagine a toe-up sock with one side slashed open, and Median or Row Below increases, which conveniently look just like a seam.  My next step is to insert this into an actual sweater – I will work both shoulders first as mirror images to the bottom of the back neck shaping and then join them with some cast on stitches equal in width to the back neck.

I’m finishing my annual spring cardi – photos soon – this time in the lovely Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in Tomato Frog (a loud “transvestite-lipstick” red as the SG website describes it) and then it’s on to my actual sweater prototype, so more soon!  If all goes well, I’ll post a tutorial.


§ 8 Responses to All Roads Lead to Rome

  • Diana says:

    The sleeve cap looks very smooth :-)) Looking forward to your prototype and tutorial. I love seamless knitting and also use “Knitting from the top” book as a guide.
    Happy knitting :-))

  • SoKnitpicky says:

    Wow! This looks very promising! I’m looking forward to hearing more!

  • Alice says:

    This looks neat and clever! I’m impatient to try this technique!

  • Brenda says:

    That is a beautiful sleeve cap!
    I would be delighted if you did a tutorial.

  • Margaret says:

    Not only does the increase method look like a seam — it looks like a seam in which the body pieces were knit bottom-up. (I’ve been noticing this quality in the Skew socks I’m knitting right now, but didn’t even begin to think to put it to this use.) Very clever!

    • indiecita says:

      Yes! And the other thing I forgot to mention is that these increases, as long as care is taken not to work them too tightly, stack up on consecutive rows without the puckering that results when many of the other kinds of increases are stacked together.

  • Amy says:

    Looks beautiful, I can’t wait to see what you do with this!

    The work-as-you-go set-in-sleeve has always been love/hate for me, but I have faith someday, someone will figure out how to make it work- you might have it!!

  • jackie says:


    nice sleeve done ! This is a hate-love suitation for me – i hate to pick up stitches either on the neck orthe sleeve, somehow i just seems to pick even # from both side (both sleeves or the neck band) butilove once my knitwear is completed, i just have to bear with the uneven sight !! shhhh….

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