Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Set-In Top-Down Short-Rowed Bell Curved Sleeve Cap

Or SITDSRBCSC for short. It worked!

Exhibit A: the shape of the short-rowed sleeve cap as set out in EZ's The Opinionated Knitter.
I used this method for my Love the Yarn You're With sweater, and it did produce a very tidy and shapely sleeve cap, but for a close fit on my big boned shoulders, it was a little tight. Also, EZ's method starts with an inch or so of plain knitting around the full circumference of the arm, and I wanted to develop a method that would start the short rows immediately after picking up stitches, so as to ultimately be able to match sleeve and body patterns in an invisible row-for-row manner.
So I set about to reverse engineer a sleeve cap shaped like this:
It really wasn't that difficult, though it took the better part of a day of writing out the numbers in columns to get a visual grasp of the concept. The general idea is to consume one body row (stitch) for each sleeve row, while simultaneously expanding the sleeve at a varying rate of increase.

Here's the sweater with the first completed sleeve cap:
The full on view of the cap:
Leaning the decreases toward the body produces a tidy, almost invisible join:
I had a small crisis of confidence when I tried it on, because there appears to be just a titch too much ease in the sleeve cap. However, when I tried on the first sleeve cap method, it initially seemed just right, and then after finishing up both sleeves and snugging in the neck opening with ribbing it wound up a bit tight, so I have high hopes that this will in fact, be just right in the end.