How's everyone going on their wee Gidday Babies?
Are you keeping up?
I love that there are a number of people over on Ravelry who have got so excited by this pattern they've knit multiples! That is just awesome!
I'm loving seeing all the colour combinations, it's been really interesting to see what other people have come up with. This week I've been working away on my full size sample for the full pattern range. My testers are all just about finished so I envisage the pattern is probably only a week away..... as long as the model is co-operative! He tells me his Pirate Days are just beginning, so there is a chance I may need to resort to bribery.
Did you knit your Gidday Baby in the White Gum Wool base? How absolutely lush is it? I've been pretty set in using a grey for each of the bodies of my three, but I've used Fairy Wren, Everlasting and Hawthorn in the yokes. I love them all. Gum Grey is a stunning colour for babies. I love that it's not white, but yet has that traditional unisex feel to it. And I am totally in love with Augustbird's Pebbly Beach; such a glorious colour and I am over the moon with the finished cardie. I have a jumper lot of Augustbird's White Gum Wool waiting to be knit up for me next! I am a bit excited about that.
In this week's instalment we're going to be talking all things sleeves. There's quite a bit I want to get through today, so this could be long.
First of all, let's talk about the options for knitting the sleeves.
Small circumference knitting
I've mentioned before that I'm a big fan of small circumference needles and that is what I've used for this cardie. For baby sizes such as this you really need the teeny 9"/23cm circulars that are available from Hiya Hiya. If you google "9" Hiya Hiya circular knitting needle" you should find an online store near you. Addi also makes excellent small circular needles but I think the 8"/20cm only goes up to a 3.75mm. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I do, however, have a whole collection of Addi 12"/30cm circulars that I use for knitting sleeves for larger kid sizes and even my size. I cannot tell you how much I love them!
They are perhaps a little fiddly when you're getting used to them, but they sure are a time saver. There is no stopping and starting and no ladders; one of the more frustrating aspects of other small circumference knitting options.
Having said that, let's look at the other options. For some knitters, these may be the preferred option. Everyone is different, and my way may not be your way. I've provided online tutorial links for you to check out if you need to.
Double pointed needles (dpns)
Knitters tend to have either a love or hate relationship with dpns.
This is probably the most common method.
Two circular needles
Quite an easy method, don't feel daunted by the use of two needles. I find this an easier and less fiddly option than magic loop.
Travelling or Single Loop
A lesser known option but a goody.
Knitting the sleeve flat
While it's good to learn new techniques, for some knitters the good old flat knitting and seaming the sleeve is the preferred option. Later on in this post, I'll look at how you can adapt any sleeve pattern for flat knitting.
Picking up the underarm stitches
My approach to picking up underarm stitches does differ from some designers. I think the underarm pickup should be the complete process, I don't believe you should have to darn holes under the arm as part of the finishing process. That to me, is not great workmanship and no matter how neat you darn it always looks a bit, well, not so neat. Part of the problem, I believe is that patterns generally don't direct you to pick up enough stitches. Usually it's the same number as you've cast on under the arm, but that is not enough to close any gaps. Depending on whether I'm knitting a raglan or a circular yoke I might pick up anywhere between three and five stitches more than I cast on under the arm. This helps to close up any gaps and eliminate any unsightly holes. You can apply this approach to any pattern.
Need a little refresher on picking up stitches?
Here's a great link for picking up along a cast on/off edge:
Where to start
If you look at the photo above the big red arrow points to little bump left by the kfab stitch. The V which this arrow also points to is where you will pick up your second stitch from. Picking up the first stitch from this spot on a circular yoke can leave a bit of a gap. We don't want that. See the stitch I've marked with the pink stitch marker. Around there is where you want to pick up your first stitch. Note the stitch I've chosen to go in through is one with a small hole. Always chose the smaller hole option, picking up through a bigger hole won't close it up; it will emphasis it. We don't want that.
When you're picking up stitches, make sure you pick up through the V of each stitch around the underarm, picking up through two strands of yarn. The yarn on your needle should look like this when you're picking up.
Generally, when you're picking up these stitches if you pick up around to the stitch marked by the kfab you'll have the correct number. You'll recognise this stitch as it's the last obvious one to pick up. If you look closely it looks a bit different, a bit tighter and you can see the bump caused by the kfab.
Sometimes though, this will leave you one stitch short of the required number to pick up. This will be the case for the 15" size, you still have to pick up one more stitch. You can pick up this stitch anywhere in the gap between the last picked up stitch and the needle, remembering to choose a smaller space to pick up through. What I do sometimes, however, is a little unconventional, but it works.
Imagine I've picked up around all the underarm stitches, (you need to imagine it, because unfortunately this photo below doesn't show those picked up stitches). There is still one stitch to be picked up. I've marked the stitch I pick up with a stitch marker. Note that I've marked the right leg of the stitch and it is the stitch next to the one on the needle.
I slip this right leg back onto the left needle and knit it. Unconventional? Yes. Effective? Yes.
What I've shown you here is two different ways to pick up an extra stitch either side of the underarm stitches to help close gaps. You can choose either one, or use a mix of both like I do. It doesn't matter how you approach it, as long as you close up those gaps. As I've said before, there is no right or wrong way, just different techniques that may work better for some people. Play around with the way you approach this, if when you've picked up the stitch there's an obvious hole pull it off and try again.
In the first round of knitting the sleeve stitches, you will notice that you knit a ssk and a k2tog. These also help with closing those underarm gaps, and are really the third step in the process. In this instance, I always slip both stitches of the ssk knit-wise.
Tomorrow I'll talk about weaving in ends which will finish off the underarm beautifully but as you can already see there are no unsightly gaps or holes. Hooray!
Knitting your sleeves flat
if you're taking the option of knitting the sleeves flat, and seriously, if you don't have a 20cm circular, I don't blame you, this is how you go about it. You can transfer this approach to any circular sleeve patter.
Row 1: (RS) Beginning in the middle of the underarm, pick up and knit half the stitches the pattern instructs you to. Knit across the sleeve stitches. Pick up the other half of the underarm sleeve stitches.
Row 2: (WS) purl to last picked up stitch, p2tog with the first of the original sleeve stitches. Purl to last original sleeve stitches. ssp the last stitch with the first of the picked up stitches, purl to end of row. (2 sts dec)
Continue to work the sleeve as instructed but knitting flat, so alternating knit and purl rows.
Work the decrease instructions when knitting a right side row as follows: k3, k2tog, knit to last 5 sts, ssk, k3.
When decreasing down to the final stitch count, decrease to two stitches MORE than indicated. These stitches will be required as selvedge stitches for the seaming. We will talk about seaming in a finishing post in the next few days.
When knitting the garter stitch cuff, all rows will be knit.
So that's it.
The update file for this week can be found below.
Oh, and one other thing. If you don't have a small 3.75mm needle to work the cuffs, don't stress about it. I may have knit mine on the 4mm when I was away. Shh!
Remember to be in the running for the fabulous White Gum Wool and Augustbird prizes, you must post a finished photo on Ravelry on your project page. You must link to the pattern page. Only those projects that show up in the projects on the pattern page will be in the running for the prizes.
The prizes will be drawn next Wednesday May 7th, which gives you a bit over a week to finish.
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Textile artist, knitwear designer and teacher.
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