Knitting for the top: Set-in sleeves???

I have used Barbara Walker’s ‘Knitting from the Top’ for top down raglan shaped tops and cardigans before and it works beautifully.

I have been fascinated by the idea of knitting set-in cap sleeves from the top down with short row shaping and in theory it seems like a great idea. I’m working on a cardigan that is knitted from the bottom up and will have cap sleeves. I thought that I’d see if I could design myself some top down sleeves to make sure that the cap sleeve fits nicely.

However I’ve hit a stumbling block with the maths.. unless I misunderstand I can’t make the numbers work.

If I measure around the top of the shoulder to the underarm area I would need 90 stitches, which includes picking up the bound off stitches at the underarm. So far so good – now if I follow the Barbara Walker method you take 1/3 of the stitches centered at the sleeve top and work short row shaping back and forth picking up one stitch each side until you reach the picked up underarm stitches and magic you have your nicely fitted sleeve cap.

Sounds perfect doesn’t it?? Here is my problem … I don’t want 90 stitches at the top of the arm, I want 68. If I have 90 stitches the sleeve would fit a gorilla.

Maybe I need to work a combination of the methods – short row shaping but at the same time decreasing the stitches so that the upper arm diameter will be the size I want it to be by the time the short row shaping is finished and you reach the end of the sleeve cap.

2 thoughts on “Knitting for the top: Set-in sleeves???

  1. Sounds like that might work. I’ll be very interested to hear about the results.

    Or you could try decreasing the 90 stitches near the middle of the edge of the cap sleeve to give a slight puff effect? Dunno how that might look. Just a thought.

    Good luck! and keep us posted…


  2. I am just now knitting the entrelac sweater in the Debbie Bliss Noro #2 book. I would prefer to do the sleeves from the top down but am also having difficulty figuring out just how to proceed with it. The sleeves are just stockinette stitch, so once I get the “how to”, it should be easy. If you figure it out, let me know! :-)
    Gale in Arkansas

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