The Story of the Sleeve

I bought a kit from Knit Picks a while back, a sweater.  The most gorgeous pattern I’ve ever seen (that I could imagine myself wearing).  Full fair isle, 3/4 length sleeves, folded cuff, scoop neck, and raglan styled.  Perfect.

I started said sweater October of last year.  I got gauge and started at it.  The first sleeve was done in about a month… I just finished the second sleeve last night.  Why the delay?  Well let me tell you a little story.  A story of the sleeve.

After I had finished the first sleeve, I was so impressed with it that I immediately started on the second one.  Got about 3 inches done and realized it was slightly too wide.  Measured it, confirmed, ripped it out.  It took me a few days to calm down, but I was ready to try again.  Started the sleeve again.  And once again I had knitted about 3 inches and it was looking wide again.  I measured it, confirmed my fears, and set the sleeve in time out.

The calendar was an important factor at this time.  I had only a little while to go before Christmas, and I always try to knit most of my gifts.  I figured I’d just set the sweater aside until after my Christmas knitting was complete.

Fast forward to the beginning of this year.  I ripped out the old sleeve and decided to start fresh.  I cast the sleeve on and just had at it.  Measured my sleeve at 3 inches in, and the gauge was spot on.  I was so happy that the sleeve was practically knitting itself.  About half way through the second sleeve I decided to check on gauge once again.  (One becomes paranoid after a history such as this.)  Gauge was still spot on, but something didn’t look right.  I took a closer look at the two sleeves side by side… I had made the mistake of not knitting them the exact same way, and in not doing so the wrong color was dominant.

I don’t know if you are aware (I hadn’t been), but when knitting fair isle one strand becomes dominant.  This blog post made it all crystal clear to me.  It was like a light bulb had gone off and then I realized how silly I had been knitting with the wrong color dominance.  The quick and dirty version of yarn dominance is such.  The strand that is being held behind the other one, is going to be the dominant color.  For me, when I knit fair isle, I hold one color in each hand.  The left hand becomes the dominant color.

Needless to say, the sleeve needed to be ripped out… AGAIN.  And I was in no mental state to do such.  So Alex, being the knight in woolen armor, ripped it out for me, while I found another project to start.

I’ve just recently gone back to this project, but knowing about yarn dominance, and how to make myself get proper gauge, I have a second sleeve (almost) identical to the first.  The real lesson that I’ve learned from this experience… knit the sleeves at the same time!

2 thoughts on “The Story of the Sleeve”

  1. I’m so sorry that you had to restart your sleeve so many times! It’s disheartening to lose so many hours of work… I know by experience. But, it’s good to know about the yarn dominance. I also had to learn the hard way and I still sometimes put the wrong yarn in the wrong hand! But, it’ll all be worth it when your gorgeous sweater is finished!

    1. I know! I can’t wait until its done, but alas its going into minor hibernation while I try to attack some super secret Christmas presents.

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