Ideas and solutions welcome - adding sleeves

Hello all
I’ve got this far with drops nordic brocade 60-6 pattern.
I have adapted it in a few places.
The hem should be a deep folded stockinette, looked awful and added bulk around my belly in the most unflattering way. I cut off the hem and put in a picot bind off. Made an error and knitted a round prior to the bind off when I should have purled and now my bind off is rolling. I may re do it.
The top is much shorter then I expected although correct to the pattern. I’m thinking of adding another band from behind and above the picot bind off to give a layered effect. ANY ideas or comments about this are very welcome.

The neck has ended up huge compared to the pattern which is odd as I worked a gauge swatch. Never mind it’s actually quite an elegant, relaxed look on the neckbeing scooped like this. I did not crotchet the neck as per the pattern but did a picot bind off, purl wise as the stockinette curls so after curling the picot is right side. Then the neck decreases could be seen due to the curl so I added another picot edging to add to the flounce of it all.
Not awful, I feel.

Now to the arms.
I do not like the length of the pattern arms so had a go instead at the seamless set in sleeve in this tutorial

I thought it was going quite well as I worked it but the result is far from acceptable.
There is a line of loose pick ups and ugliness. My circular needles are either too short or too long I don’t even know which, which put stress on the stitches.
There was a big hole in the underarm I sewed up.

I’m looking for ideas of how to get a sleeve in. This sleeve is too wide for me now I try it on but if I follow the tutorial for narrower sleeves I’ll pick up fewer around the arm hole and it will surely just be loose and messy?

I would prefer a full length, long sleeve although I bound this off at a cap sleeve length but the arm hole is not worked enough for this length sleeve.
I’m going to rip this sleeve out.
ANY and all comments, ideas and suggestions are welcome on where to go from here. The top is far from perfect but it would be a shame if I couldn’t finish it in some way.

All in all I need some creative ideas on how to finish this up.
Thank you.


The top is coming along quite nicely and you’ve been very inventive in modifying the pattern.
You might pick up sts along the armhole and then decrease at the underarm. Decrease a stitch at the beginning of row or round and at the end. You can space out the rows for decreases as you need.
It the needles don’t seem right, too short or too much stress on the sts you might consider knitting the sleeve flat. Short rows to shape the shoulder will work either in the round or flat. Here’s a video for a sleeve with short rows. The example has a saddle but you can still follow the technique disregarding the saddle and picking up across the armhole top.

1 Like

Thanks for the video.
I used wrap and turn for my first trial and have not done German short rows before but have now read how to do it and will give that a try.
I worked out my stitch count based on the precious tutorial have today have seen another couple of ways to work it out which I think will lead to a narrower sleave without necessarily making it gappy around the pick up. I’ll try those out.

When you say I can work the sleeve flat, is it possible to do the top down sleeve with the short row cap and then continue the rest of the sleeve flat to seam? Is this possible with the body being knit in the round? I haven’t seen how to do this yet and I’m not sure how to transition from the cap to flat. It seems the short rows arent worked all the way to the underarm, is this right? Would tha flat knitting be from where the arm hole decreases begin (body is knitted bottom up), or from lower down?

Do you know of a tutorial or video showing this please?
At this point I’m not sure if I’m think the right way about it.

I liked working the short rows and certainly the cap worked out neat and I liked it, just a bit too big and then it went a bit sloppy after that.

I did struggle with my needle so I think flat could be the answer. My needle is bamboo with acrylic cable, it seems the bamboo section feels too long to allow me to knit in the round well. I used magic loop, traveling loop but it was not great.

You could knit the entire sleeve flat. Start at the underarm, knit across to the end of row and turn. Maybe have an extra stitch on each end of the row for the seam. Continue the short rows back and forth flat. Of course you can work it in the round just as well. I was trying to avoid the use of magic loop or the wrong size circular which seem to be causing problems.
The shape and extent of the short rows depends on the fit you want on the shoulders. If you can find a pattern on Ravelry to use as a guide for the sleeves that might help too. Either way, it undoubtedly means trial and error here. You’re being your own designer!

1 Like

Your knitting is beautiful!

Your link is where I started to figure out how I can do knit in place, top-down, set in sleeves. I do them a lot now. I’ll include a link to a video (part of a series) that shows a way to deal with the loosey goosey picked up stitches - picking up stitches is actually a cast on if you think about it but I digress - because no matter what I do to eliminate the problem there is always excess yarn. Anyhow, you have sleeves that, if you’ve not already frogged them, can help you figure out how many stitches you need for a good fit. I would put the sleeve on, pinch up the excess, then count the stitches to see how many I need to eliminate and subtract them from what I’d already done. I’d pick up that number of stitches as evenly as possible around the armhole and then work one complete round before beginning any short rows. I find it’s much easier to adjust the tension on the picked up stitches if I do that. As for how many short rows, sometimes I work them until I’m at the beginning of the round under the arm, sometimes I stop when I’ve got about one third of my stitches left. I found out it didn’t make a real difference in the fit and some multi-color yarns look better worked up with more short rows.

It won’t work for everyone but I threw the math and calculations out the window. As long as I have a pretty good idea of how many stitches I need in my sleeve I can do it. I mark about 1/3 of the total stitches with half on either side of the shoulder seam (assuming it’s center top) and those markers are where I make my first short row turns. I use German short rows but as long as you are comfortable and confident with the method you choose it shouldn’t matter which one you use.

My approach to things is so other that it might make absolutely no sense to you. If that’s the case don’t worry about offending me and totally disregard my suggestions. I wish you great success in completing your beautiful sweater.

The Top-Down Sleeve: The Sleeve Cap, Part 2 of 2


Tha k you so much.
That’s a great video as I can see the short rows are worked all the way down to the underarm whereas I only worked them to my lower markers (at about one third? Whatever it is on the tutorial I linked). I think I should have kept going although you mention it doesn’t changed the shape much.

Also amazing in the video to see just how much extra yarn there is on those picked up stitches! I thought I just knitted really badly and that all the excess was due to my difficulty with my needle. I’ll have to watch it again to check where and how to pull that excess yarn back to the tail, amazing!

I have not pulled out the sleeve cap yet and understand what you are saying about using it as a guide for how much to reduce by.

I know some of my underarm became pulled and distorted by my yanking it around but the colourwork in the underarm has added to the difficulty there as the floats are providing extra yarn which can pull everything in a loopy distorted way. I am still learning, I would probably try to stay in a single colour for the underarm on another project.

Thanks for your great help.
And thanks salmonmac too, always encouraging.

You’re welcome. If I can help I like to; I try to avoid making things worse. I fully expect you’ll find your solution and this will work out fine. I spent years thinking I was the only one with the picked up stitches were always too loose problem so when I stumbled across that video I was thrilled. She’s obviously a much better knitter than I am and it happens to her!!! Right now I have a top down raglan on the needles and I’m thinking about how many sleeve stitches I’ll need.

I have so many problems with math that I skipped cuff down socks and went straight to toe up and learned knit to fit. I apply knit to fit to many of my projects because for me it works. The more orthodox methods work well for most knitters I think. I’m an oddball. I have to find workarounds.

1 Like

I like your approach.
I have never made socks so I have no understanding of the difference or difficulties of cuff down compared to toe up but the idea of “knit to fit” sounds perfect to me.
I have been enjoying learning to knit. I enjoy the process, the challenge of new patterns and methods, and even the maths - but even though I am pleased achieving the finished project I am later disappointed and don’t want to wear what I make. They never fit well. I keep thinking and hoping that with more experience I will improve to the point of being able to adapt patterns to fit better.

Seeing those stitches pulled up into a lovely neat line was amazing. Like magic.

Thanks again. I am always open to ideas and comments.

1 Like

Hi salmonmac and grumpygramma
The extra stitch, should this be picked up and knitted when picking up around the arm hole? If so, where? Or is it a cast on stitch each end of the row at centre underarm?
The tutorial @GrumpyGramma posted says: “pick up and knit one extra stitch at the end of the underarm stitches* (in the gap between the cast-on underarm stitches and the live sleeve stitches)”
I am finding this part tricky to understand as this description is for a top down sweater which has live stitches and stitches cast on for underarm whereas I have no live stitches and have bound off stitches for underarm.

I’m looking forward to trying out the new sleeve.

Casting the stitch on is probably a good way to go. Cast on one stitch at the beginning of the row and one at the end (this is if you are going to knit flat). Both stitches will disappear into the seam at the underarm when you sew the sleeve seam together.

1 Like

Thank you so much. I’m going to give it a try this week.

I love the pattern work on this. Good job. And I think another band at the bottom would look great. I don’t like bulky hems either. And all the things suggested in order to eliminate rib seem thick too. On the knitting machine I often make the underside with thinner yarn & just as large a stitch. Makes a thinner fabric for the inside hem & it is enough to prevent rolling.


Thank you for your thoughts.

I’m having a horrible time with the sleeves and hope the additional band along the bottom will be a better experience!