Thursday, November 05, 2009

Theory vs. Practice

As I approach the bind-off for the back of Marc's sweater, and as I continue to avoid the commitment to cable placement that casting on the fronts for the cardigan entails, I'm thinking about sleeves.

I find sleeves are kind of like what other people tell me about socks. The first one is all gratifying and quick. The second one is just work. My standard method for dealing with this, and I regularly offer up thanks to Elizabeth Zimmermann for the idea, is to cast on both sleeves and knit on whichever one comes to hand. It works reasonably well. There are, however, always some issues. Separating sleeves for one thing. It's uncanny how often they end up at opposite ends of the condo. Keeping track of where I am on which sleeve is another. I believe I have already indicted myself on the whole failure to keep adequate notes, or to keep track of the notes if when I do make them. I want some clever and efficient trick for sleeves.

Clare is a sock knitter. Last year, her Christmas book was Antje Gillingham's Knitting Circles Around Socks. She churns out socks by the pair on a regular basis these days. I doubt she will ever have to pair up two one-of-a-kind socks as some kind of unholy odd couple again.

That is not the non sequitur it would seem to be.

Inspired by Clare and her two-at-a-time socks, I looked at the two sleeve cuffs I recently knit. Might it not be easier to knit them both on the same circular? Each sleeve would then always be knit at the same tension as the other. Both sleeves would always be at the same point of completion. They would always be in the same place. One set of tallies to track increases would suffice. I would never again confuse which tally went with which sleeve, thus ending up with one sleeve an inch or so longer than the other, depending on how long it took me to notice that I had over-knit one and under-knit its companion.

This sounded like such a good idea. You know what, though? It's, not to put too fine a point on it, not. I still seem to forget whether I've knit across both sleeves or one and now I have to juggle two balls of yarn. I've only knit four rows or so. I'll give it a few more before I admit defeat. Maybe I can figure out something clever with stitch markers. Meantime, I'm open to suggestions.

Honestly though, wouldn't you think reality, just this once, could run congruently with the ideal?


Diane H said...

I was waiting to hear about stitch markers - two different colors for each sleeve, the color being the heading on the tick column. Then put another stitch marker every so number of rows in case you stop marking your ticks. I didn't say when.

Cathy said...

I thought about putting them both on the same circular needle, but I don't like having all that extra 'stuff' I guess I don't knit enough sweaters to have 2nd sleeve syndrome yet.