on the needles: big pink beach house pull-over

on the needles: big pink beach house pull-over

I have fallen back in love with a WIP. It's kismet - the color, the staghorn cable, and the nice big needles are making me so happy. And, I am rocking on this project, knitting a total of 9 inches on the body over the weekend. My big goal: have it done to wear on my birthday at the end of the month.

Even better, I've finally found the right order of operations to make sweater knitting more fun with less ripping out. My epic knitting epiphany: start with the sleeves. 

Sleeves are quite possibly the least glorious part of sweater knitting. If you do them at the end, after you've already done the body, knitting the sleeves can feel like one endless slog, a rewardless barrier between you and your finished sweater. Even worse, there are two of them for twice the boring agony.

I started working sleeves first as a way to make sure they end up the right length. As a tall and curvy person with long arms, I have learned to never, ever, trust either the sleeve length or the body length in a pattern (unless it's CustomFit) - they're always too short for me. 

In order to avoid being outsmarted by my knitting, I work the sleeves up to the cap shaping, put them aside, and knit the body up to the arm holes. I then baste the sleeves together along their seams, do the same to the body pieces, and then attach the sleeves to what will become the underarms of the body with safety pins, and then pin the whole mess to whatever I'm wearing at the moment. The resulting look is super stylish, and the still-attached balls of yarn rolling around on the floor really complete the outfit.

With the help of a mirror and a measuring tape, I can then check the length of all my unfinished pieces (and add length if necessary) before taking out the basting, working the armholes on the body, and working the caps on the sleeves. 

The other benefit to doing sleeves first is you end up with huge - and therefore highly accurate - swatch before you knit your body pieces. I find sleeves to be much more forgiving in fit than other sweater parts.

What's on your needles this week? Any sweater-knitting wisdom you'd like to share?