View Full Version : Sleeves - on the round or flat?

06-11-2009, 07:32 AM
Am soon to start my 1st wearable item (I hope), a cardigan.

Would you experienced knitters prefer to knit sleeves on the flat (2 sleeves at same time of on 1 long needle??) or in the round?


06-11-2009, 07:55 AM
I would say both in the round. I knit on only circular needles and all my knitting is done in the round whenever possible.

06-11-2009, 12:49 PM
When I do them flat I don't do them 2 at a time. If I was going to do that I'd double knit them, just my preference, if I have to deal with 2 balls at the same time I want to be dealing with both strands at the same time.

I prefer to convert sleeves to in the round, picking up the stitches and knitting them to the sweater, but that's not always possible/practical.
My main thing is I hate the seam in the cuff.

06-11-2009, 01:15 PM
I'd say it depends on the pattern and what works best for it and you. Some patterns mean you simply have to start at the cuff. Others work well top down. Sometimes you want a seam to help stabilize the sleeve. Other times, you'd rather have a seamless tube. Sometimes the shaping is easier done flat, and other times you can do them in the round. You can even end up knitting top down, and have a separate piece that you knit bottom up, and then you graft the two together.

The main reason people knit both sleeves at the same time is to make sure that the gauge stays the same throughout -- it's not at all unusual to find that by the time you've finished one sleeve and get halfway through the second, your gauge has changed, due to any number of factors. This happens, apparently, to both experienced and novice knitters -- YMMV, of course. :)

06-12-2009, 08:34 AM
Thank you all, especially Zina. Yes the pattern knits flat so I will probably stick to that. I understand about knitting the two at the same time but am so new I think it would be a bit complex - I may just live on the edge and take my chances of doing one at a time (And measure the 1st for length not just rows).

We have just booked our holiday to Kenmare for August - are you loving Kerry?

06-12-2009, 12:03 PM
When patterns say to knit a length I always keep track of my rows. The first piece is knit to length, the matching piece is knit to rows.
Then if my gauge was noticably off I'd block them to match.

06-12-2009, 01:56 PM
Yes, Kerry is beautiful! We had a beautiful week of weather last week, this week is a little more rainy. Try to make it up to the Dingle Peninsula if you have the time -- it's a lovely place!

Once you've had some practice at sweaters, you'll often decide to change how a pattern is made -- it will just depend on what you want to do and the results you want to get, which is partly what makes knitting an art instead of just a craft!

You don't have to do two sleeves on a cable -- you can also simply knit one sleeve on one set of needles and the other sleeve on another set of needles, as well! If you do that, though, remember that often you'll get different results from different kinds of needles, so watch out if you knit one on metal and the other on wood! :)

06-12-2009, 04:18 PM
It also depends on the pattern used in the sleeves. Obvious stripes or rings around the sleeve will cause a "jog" when knitted in the round. This didn't used to bother me, but as I progress I find myself becoming a little more knit-picky, pardon the pun!

06-12-2009, 05:08 PM
I prefer knitting sleeves FLAT, and one at a time.
If something is amiss about the modifications for length, or any other thing, I'd rather tinker around on SLEEVE #1. Why 'fix' two sleeves?

Also, I block ALL my sweater pieces...and I do not like blocking 'in the round' stuff.

Mattress seaming is a breeze, so I can't see any advantage for knitting in the round when the pattern doesn't say to do it for some reason.

However, I have been known to knit FLAT when the pattern says to knit the sleeves in the round.

I also prefer to 'fit' and seam my flat sleeve to the body (fronts/back). Easier than seaming a sleeve 'tube' onto or into the body armHOLES.

06-12-2009, 06:15 PM
I've recently been quite lazy on the seaming front and converted flat patterns to knit in the round, I do the sleeves with magic loop. It helps to have a notebook to write down your modifications as your go and straighten things out in your head, then you can make sure both your sleeves are the same.

06-12-2009, 10:03 PM
Just as an aside, I personally think that a pattern and the fiber you choose to do it in will tell you how to actually knit the thing up, which technique to use. There's some patterns and yarns that you really do want a seam to help hold the shape of the garment, for instance, just like there's some patterns and yarns where you'd truly want a shoulder seam rather than grafting it over the shoulder, for the same reasons.

06-12-2009, 11:26 PM
Very good comments, Zina! :thumbsup: You are RIGHT ON!

06-13-2009, 05:31 AM
Thank you everybody,

I really appreciate all your opinions - I am learning soooo much here. I think I will knit this garment flat as in the pattern (Mike TOP tip about sleeve length). Then the next thing I kint I will do i the round just to be able to compare.

Zina - I have been to Dingle before - we intend to do the whole Ring of Kerry. I was able to go out on the boat and saw Fhungi the Dolphin, which was magical. I shall defintely be going to Dingle now to visit that Yarn shop you recommended.

thanks again, Irishmam

06-13-2009, 02:32 PM
BTW, Sheri, you might be interested in the Techknitter's comments on knitting "jogless" stripes (http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2007/01/jogless-stripes.html). It's not perfect, but it's much better than the spiral way.

Irishmam, I only just saw Funghi up close last week! It was my first outing on a boat in Kerry, and we were playing trad music on a catamaran eco-tour -- it was hilarious, but the icing on the cake was definitely seeing the dolphin!

06-13-2009, 05:04 PM
We saw him when I was about 10, we hired a wee boat and he seems to like the smaller boats as he stayed near us til he spotted some canoes and went to play with them, not sure if he was trying to tip them over.

06-13-2009, 06:34 PM
I am also in the process of knitting my first cardigan (fingers crossed). I knitted the body with no issues & the first sleeve as well. When making the second sleeve I found that the increases were laying differently than the first sleeve.
In an attempt to correct I am knitting both sleeve on two circular needles. I have to reknit the first sleeve, but I like the overall look of both sleeves now. ( This was a big help to me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RybPvCNfrT8 ) Hope it helps you as well !

06-13-2009, 09:21 PM
I think he does like the smaller boats - according to our skipper, he loves showing off for people, which he can do better when they're closer to the water.

I've yet to figure out the right way to spell his name. So far I've seen Funghi, Fungi, Fhungi and Fungie. Does it mean something in Irish, I wonder?

06-14-2009, 07:45 AM

Thank you for the referrence. I will have a look later. I have decided to make a practise cardigan for my 2 year old (Less unpicking!) I might do like you and try 1 sleeve falt and the 2nd on the round (and avoid too many increases??)

thanks, Irishmam

06-14-2009, 12:24 PM
If you look at the Increases pics and videos here on KnittingHelp, you'll see that Amy's partnered each kind of increase with the increase used to "mirror" it. You can use these to increase the sleeves opposite to each other, if you like.