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by Ysolda May 05, 2020 4 min read

In our last post in this series we looked at how to pick up around the armholes to knit the sleeves. Knitting the sleeves is fairly simple, although, if you're a newer knitter you may have to pick up a new skill: knitting small circumferences in the round. You might also want to adjust the sleeve length for a better fit. As the sleeves are tapered you'll want to adjust the spacing of the decreases rather than simply knitting the sleeve until it's the right length like you did for the body. Fortunately I made making those changes really easy with a spreadsheet that you can plug your numbers into – it does all the maths for you! 

Knitting small circumferences in the round

If you're making size 6 or larger you should be able to begin the sleeve with a 16" / 40cm circular and switch to a different method after working the first few rounds – you'll know when it's time to switch because your stitches will get stretched around the needle and won't flow smoothly as you knit. If you're making a smaller size you'll want to start off with one of the following methods. 

Photo showing a blue glenmore with the sleeve in progress on double pointed needles

Double pointed needles (dpns)

The traditional method that makes you look like a badass, but can be a bit tricky to juggle, especially with larger needles like the ones used for Glenmore. Divide the stitches over 3 (or 4) needles, so that the EOR gap is between two needles (you might want to mark this with a removable marker since a regular stitch marker will fall off). Don't worry about dividing the stitches perfectly evenly. Here's a tutorial on using dpns.

Photo showing a blue glenmore with the sleeve in progress on one long circular needle with a loop of the cable pulled out. The image has a text overlay saying magic loop.

Magic loop

A way to use a longer circular needle to knit smaller circumferences by pulling out the extra cable into loops. The nice part of this is that you can use the needle you used for the body of the sweater and don't need to buy extra supplies, it's also a bit more portable than dpns. The stitches will be divided in two, with one half on the needles and one half resting on the cable. Once you've worked across all the stitches on the needle you rearrange the stitches so that the resting half are now on the needles. Here's a magic loop tutorial if you haven't tried it before. 

Photo showing a blue glenmore with the sleeve in progress on two short circular needles. The image has a text overlay saying two circulars.

Two circulars 

Similar to magic loop in that the stitches are divided in half, but they're split between two circulars (these can be any length but 16" / 40cm is easiest to manage). Each half of the stitches is only ever worked with its own circular, at the end of one half you'll drop the needles and pick up both points of the other needle, sliding the stitches up so that the next stitch to be worked is on the left needle tip. This method requires more supplies, but some people find it easier to manage and faster than magic loop or dpns. Here's a tutorial for this method.


Adjusting the sleeve length

Before beginning the sleeves you may want to try on your in progress sweater and measure from the shoulder edge of the armhole down to your wrist. This is a bit tricky to do on yourself so if there isn't someone else available you could tie a piece of yarn to the shoulder, try on the sweater, cut the other end of the yarn to the right length, take off the sweater and measure the yarn. 


Photo showing in progress Glenmore being tried on with an illustration of a measuring tape and arrow showing where to measure and the text: measure from edge of shoulder to wristCompare your desired measurement to the sleeve measurement on the schematic, and if you need to make any changes, use the spreadsheet linked in the pattern to update the numbers in the pattern. 

Here's a brief tutorial of how to use the spreadsheet and mark up your pattern with the adjustments. It also covers changing the bicep circumference but that will require adjusting the armhole as well as the sleeve. If you forgot to do so you should be able to get away with small adjustments of 2-4 stitches by changing the number of stitches that are picked up around the sleeve.


Completing the sleeves

There are a few things to pay attention to while knitting the sleeves:

  • That you're maintaining the faux seam to match the body. One stitch at the beginning and end of the round is always knit.
  • That you're reading your knitting to keep the dots in a checkerboard pattern while decreasing.
  • Your gauge might be tighter than it was on the body, this is very common when knitting small circumferences in the round. Double check after a couple of inches and, if necessary, start over with needles one size larger. 
Finish the cuffs in the same way as the bottom ribbing of the body, which I covered in this post. The sleeves might take you a while, I know I always struggle with the fact that I have to make two! Don't worry if you get stuck on sleeve island for a while, but remember that once you're done with them you'll be so close to a finished sweater. The only thing left to knit is the neckband, which I'll look at in my next post. 


Join the Glenmore KAL!

You don't have to do anything special to sign up, just buy the pattern and share your progress. Use the hashtag #glenmorekal on instagram, twitter and your Ravelry project, so everyone can see your photos and come and say hi in our Ravelry group. There will be prizes! 

Read all posts in the Glenmore KAL series. 

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Ysolda designs knitting patterns, spent years teaching at events and loves to find new yarns and books to share.

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