No-sew, no-knit

linn_red_setin1I love top-down set in sleeves. After the initial effort of figuring out how to pick up the stitches along the armscye and working out any decreases that are needed before I hit the bicep line (I think I pick up the stitches at a different rate than suggested by Barbara Walker in Knitting from the Top), which isn’t painful at all, there’s the fun of working short rows. And even though the short rows continue to increase until they reach the full width of the sleeve, that’s not painful either, because the rows will never get too long and unbearable, because hey, it’s only a sleeve.

And then throwing in some cables is not only fun, but it impresses yourself because it’s just so neat that you’re working a short-rowed, cabled, set-in sleeve knit from the top down.


(Okay, it doesn’t look like much, but the recipient is at least acting like he’s pleased.)

This is a cabled pullover or jacket knit gansey-style, with the body worked from the hem to the shoulders. The jacket will have no side seams, and the pullover body is worked in the round for one neckline (crew/turtleneck), and flat for another (shawl collar)… I had wanted it all to be in the round, but the shawl collar neckline begins below the armhole bind-offs, and the alternatives didn’t seem to be much more fun (either steek something — and this is an aran-ish gauge — or begin rounds on the body front, or break yarn after the tubular part is finished and rejoin at the neck edge).

linn_cashmereI started one in Colourmart cashmere mill ends, four strands in natural-ish colours. The yarn had an oily yet acrid smell (the yarn was meant for knitting machines, after all), but I could deal with that because I knew just how soft it would become after laundering.

It was going to be nice. Was . See the problem?

Maybe another picture will help…



This one has been in timeout since the winter. It was only this week I started thinking about ripping it out and starting over.

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23 Responses to No-sew, no-knit

  1. minnie says:

    jesus wept.

  2. Shannon says:

    Oh, ow. That’s all I can say on that.

  3. Pat says:


    The only way I’ve figured out to prevent this is to stretch the cast-on and return rows out, if necessary using a second circular), line them up, and then pin the first and last cast-on together with a safety pin that won’t get removed until a couple of more rounds are done.

  4. Jessica Goldberg says:

    Very odd, I just started doing pick-up short row set-in sleeves myself. Kismet? But I was doing it on the fly on very forgiving airy kidsilk pullover. So, have you used the technique yet on any published patterns? I’d love to get your ratios for pick-ups (I have knitting from the top, but your sleeve cap on Rogue fits me so perfectly that I trust you more than Barbara Walker–gasp at myself), especially if they come in the form of, let’s say, a nice cable gansey…even if the original suffers from a touch of moebius flu.

  5. Sorry about the oops. I’d be inventing new cuss words to deal with that one.

    The red cable are gorgeous, and I echo your love of the top-down set-in patterned sleeve. I did the sleeves on my Cables and Os (from No Sheep for You) the same way, and it still makes me giggle like a big nerd to think of the seaming it averted.

  6. thorn says:

    h0ly f-ing cr@p.

    repeat the edging, bind it off and keep it; or if you’re in a warm climate, gift it to someone in a northerly land. after you’ve finished double-checking the gauge with cables.

    nothing’s wasted.

  7. Presents says:

    Shhhh! It’s a mobius cowl. An intricately cabled, doubley twisted mobius cowl. (Technically that makes it not a mobius, but bahhh.)

  8. Carrie K says:

    How rude of it not to say anything all that time!!

    Your table is a thing of beauty.

  9. Andrea says:


    Is it wrong, though, to take a tiny bit of comfort that even a much better knitter than me has had this happen?

    I am very interested in how the Colourmart mill ends work out. I’ve been tempted to try something like that, but haven’t yet.

  10. Rachel says:

    I find it interesting that you’re doing set-in, top-down cables on a cabled sweater that was done from the hem up. I’ve been considering doing that, but I haven’t been able to decide if the mismatch would drive me crazy (or if other people could possibly ever notice). If you find it acceptable though… hmm, maybe it really would be okay. :)

  11. Dr. Steph says:

    Just photoshop it. (Okay, that was mean).

    It’s nice to see you knitting and I’m seeing great things in the works here.

  12. j. says:

    Well, the steeking/cardigan option was there, but I figured I didn’t want to fuss with that… at the center front there would have been a two-stitch-wide steek (i.e., one stitch on either side of the cut) if I didn’t want to eat into the cable, which was a little less than I’d be comfortable with! That ruled out the cardigan. I realized after I discovered the twist that I was going to have the lower-shawl-collar-opening-than-armholes issue anyway, so that was an argument for steeking at the side edge (again with a two-stich margin) and just continuing back-and-forth.

    But I figure, it’s only about 6 inches. And it’s not like it’s a particularly fine gauge. And I think my gauge was a bit tighter than I’d like, anyway. So I’ve talked myself into frogging.

    I think I know where this happened. I was in a pub. However, I cannot blame it on drink, because I had nothing alcoholic. Must have been the darkness and the table chatter.

  13. ames says:

    oh my goodness, you could just cry. All that beautiful work, just to have a twisted join. :c

  14. Bridget says:

    I’d be tempted to perform surgery and turn it into a cardigan…

  15. Carol says:

    Oh god, what a nightmare. If you were Cat Bordhi, you could just bind off and then use it as a … a something (Mobius lampshade? large cowl? felted muff?).

    But you’re not.

    Sending sympathetic hugs.

  16. Lola LB says:

    making it into a cardigan is not an option? I feel your pain.

  17. SRW says:

    Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow.

    I’ve just been meditating on my own knitting screw ups, but for the most beautiful knitting mixed with the most frustrating mistake, your aran Mobius is the winner.

  18. Elly says:

    Damn! What about steeking rather than ripping?

  19. ZaftigWendy says:

    So the recipient has a problem with an almost mobius sweater?

  20. Karen says:

    It took me a minute to see it, but then I realized… Ouch, so sorry :-(

  21. Lucindaat says:

    Oh, my goodness! That would make me so sad. But your cables are beautiful.

  22. Karen B. says:

    Yikes! So sorry.

  23. aliceq says:

    Oh. My.

    I feel your pain.