Kimono sleeve

When I took the finished sleeve out of the tub, it was large enough to comfortably serve as a sail.

I kid you not! I was like, WTF?!? I aimed for 16 3/4” to armpit and 15” at the cuff, but this monster grew to about 20” to armpit, and about 17” at the cuff. I knew the cuff was going to stretch, but the length to armpit totally messed with my head. All those calculation, and now what?

I let the sail dry (without pinning) for about 24 hours, and no big surprise, it shrunk back up! As I handled it a bit this evening, it continued to reshape itself until miraculously it was close the size I intended it to be – 16 1/2” to armpit, and 15 1/2” at the cuff.

If I say so myself, it’s looking pretty good!

At the same time, it’s been a bit puzzling and very nerve wrecking to knit this from scratch while taking the ever-changing fabric into account. Knits up at 6.5 spi, becomes 5 spi when wet, then dries to 5.75 spi. Tomorrow it may change its mind once again. How can anyone tolerate such fickle yarn? Oh yes – it’s my little angel baby kitty bunny goodness foofoo.

Votive sleeve

There has also been some progress on the votive sleeves:

I’m enjoying this project very much, although it’s going a bit slow. First, it’s much slower to knit with wire than with yarn (am I stating the obvious?). Second, the intense movements hurt my hands, elbows, and shoulders if I knit for too long of a time. The hardest part is definitely the first stitch of every row – it’s like some kind of upper arm acrobatics! So I’ve been taking it easy, working just a few rows every day.

Just like with the Kimono sleeve, the votive sleeve supplied plenty of gauge puzzlement. I followed the pattern exactly, but at first my votive sleeve wasn’t nearly wide enough for the votive. I wrote a quick e-mail to Annie, and she explained that wire fabric needs to be shaped (blocked, if you will) after it’s knit, just like typical knit fabric! Armed with that info, I tugged the sleeve this way and that, and voilà! And the sleeve width will stay this way, too!

One more thing: the knit and purl sides look different enough to me to actually consider which one I want to be the right side. I’m sort of leaning towards the purl side (above) because it shows off the beads better, although the knit side is quite good-looking, too ;).


28 thoughts on “Sleeves!

  1. Kate

    Sorry about gauge woes, though I have to say, the bell of that sleeve is quite lovely. And I like the wire knitting — would love to hear more!

  2. Zarah

    The votive sleeve is beautiful! I bet it looks really pretty with the candlelight flickering behind the beads.

    And there is one solution to your gauge woes… just quit swatching and cross your fingers! (not for the faint of heart)

  3. Jennifer

    All of your sleeves are looking great! Love the votive sleeves! If you ever solve the incredible growing and shrinking yarn mystery, please fill me in. I’m having some size confusion on one of my projects as well.

  4. Angela

    The sleeve looks fab! For some reason, I would have thought the wire would be pretty soft, like speaker wire, ha! I guess I was wrong.

  5. Annie

    YOU, my dear, are AMAZING!

    Thank you so much for your hard work on the wire – and you certainly have excellent results! SO lovely – you make me look better than I should!

  6. yahaira

    That wire sounds painful, but the results are so gorgeous.

    That crazy split personality sleeve is beautiful as well, but how is going to look tomorrow? Hang it somewhere to see how it “lives”, then maybe it’s true personality will come out

  7. Martha

    LOVE the kimono sleeve. it’s just perfect.

    Thanks for being the guinea pig on the whole knitting-with-metal thing. I was curious about it. The results are gorgeous but I’m not sure I’m up for the pain.

  8. Jayme

    I’d recommend throwing the sweater and/or pieces in the drier on air fluff since handling shanges the guage so much.

  9. Carolyn

    Love the sleeve. I am excited about this sweater and you havent even knit it yet! Love the votives. I hope to try them after christmas…or maybe now. They would make a lovely gift for my brother and SIL.

  10. Stephanie

    I know you love that yarn, but it sounds scary! Ever changing gauge – stretching, shrinking… eeks. However, I’m sure the finished sweater will be magnificent. I like the purl side of the votive – it looks awesome (although the knit side looks great too, of course).

  11. juno

    I think the trick is to utterly ignore the spi when wool is wet. It’s a transitional stage, the wool is weaker then, and the spinning style -an elastic one – contributes to the extreme variation.

    You can use that elasticity to coax size variation out of something that’s short on ease (by pinning to size), but other than that, the wet dimentions really don’t have much to do with the final product.

  12. Kim

    I love the wire knitting!! From what I know about it.. it’s best to start with really fine gauge wire so that it doesn’t hurt and you can get a feel for it.. I don’t know what kind you’re using but it seems thick to me. The beads do look better on the purl side, so I think you made the right decision : ) I think it’s pretty impressive and if anyone says “Wow, where’d you get that?” you can say “Oh.. I knitted it” and they’ll freak out.. Hehehehe.

  13. Jen

    Umm, clearly I must not have had my coffee today because I can’t really tell the difference between the knit and purl sides on the votive! I’m just going to get back on the special bus and go home now…

    Regardless, the votive is really freaking awesome. Hope the weather isn’t crazy over there…

  14. Melissa G

    Great sleeves. Ummm, after reading 12/7 I got an idea and was wondering if you have totally given up on the diamonds for Kimono or would like to try M1 from strand between 2 sts instead of YO?

  15. Winter

    Oh, that votive sleeve looks gorgeous! Isn’t it funny how something like that could sell for $5 in a store, and must cost considerably less to make on one’s own? That sort of thing never ceases to amaze me.

    The kimono sleeve looks nice, too. I see that style of sleeve in a lot of patterns, and every time I do, I keep wondering to myself how hard it would be to turn into the “swinging sleeve” style of a young woman’s kimono. I’d love to make that.

    (Of course, this comment comes from someone who has spent far too much of her time researching traditional Japanese anything. :p)

  16. Karma

    Thanks for the info re: votive sleeve progress. I just dove into my copy of Handknit Holidays and was considering a few of these for my girlfriends. I agree, so far your purl side shows off the beads much more effectively. Pretty!

  17. Mary

    Your sleeve is brilliant.

    And the votive — yours looks way better than the example you showed us the other day. You rock! And I personally like the purl side better myself. Yay you!

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