Sep 10, 2013

Easy Peasy Sleevesy!

While knitting yet another Featherweight Cardigan, I realized that I usually stall when I reach the sleeves.  Shouldn't I love to knit sleeves in the round?  No seaming!  No purling!  

As I started to knit the first sleeve of this latest sweater, it hit me.  I hate pushing the stitches onto the needle while knitting in the round using the magic loop method.

I switched to the magic loop method for sleeves years ago after trying many other methods.  I started out with double point needles - I never had the right size set of needles!  Then I tried small circulars - The length of the needles are so short my hands ache after a few rounds.  Magic loop was the way to go.  I enjoy knitting socks this way and isn't a sleeve just a really long sock cuff?

Yes and no.  When I knit socks, I am usually working with fingering weight yarn and US size 1 (2.25mm) needles.  On these needles the cable and the needle itself are essentially the same diameter.  Sweaters, however, are rarely knit on needles that small.  I normally use a US 5 or 6.  The difference in diameters between the cable and needle is much different - so at the end of every half-round I find myself pushing my stitches up onto the larger needle.

Then it hit me!  Wouldn't it be much easier to slide the stitches onto a US 3 or 4 needle? 

Enter my HiyaHiya interchangeable needles!  With interchangeables it's possible to have two different size needles on the same cable...

Now when I knit a sleeve, I use the proper needle to knit onto (right hand needle) and use a needle one or to sizes smaller to knit off of (left hand needle).  My knitting is still to gauge, but I no longer have to push the stitches up over the join.  

One word of caution!  Remember that the stitches will slip off the end of the needle as easily as they slip over the join!

Anyone in the market for some 9-inch circulars?