An Unvention

albert's picture

I have been experimenting with square armholes lately. I wanted to find a way to knit a sweater in the round, with steeks which would have fitted shoulders rather than dropped shoulders. This technique would also have to be almost as simple as knitting a drop shoulder. I was not satisfied with any of the methods I found, so I came up with my own. I devised a way whereby I put 15% of the body stitches on hold at each underarm before casting on steeks. After cutting the steeks and joining the shoulders, I picked up stitches around the armhole, and knitting back and forth, simultaneously formed the sleeve cap, joined the sleeve to the underarm, and decreased away the underarm stitches. I am pleased with the result, and attempted to include the instructions for the armhole technique here as a file, but the CyberGods will have none of it. I have, however, figured out how to email an attachment, so if any one is interested in adding this technique to your collection drop me a line and I will email the instructions.

I am adding a second post with another photo because I am unable to get two photos in one post- apologies in advance.

The yarn is New Lanark aran weight wool/silk blend, Cobalt Tweed.
The needles are size 5 (3.75mm).


crmartin's picture

That sweater is just

That sweater is just beautiful. The fit is so perfect.


ronhuber's picture

I love the sweater. Good

I love the sweater. Good choice of wool - I have used it before. Your sweater looks so much better than a drop shoulder. Congratulations on your unvention, Albert. Is the back plain?? The front is beautiful and so well proportioned. You really outdid yourself.

albert's picture

Thanks, Ron. Yes, the back

Thanks, Ron. Yes, the back is plain- my objective in knitting this sweater was to have a full scale test of my experiment; I had swatched it to death!

albert's picture

Joe, that's 15% at each

Joe, that's 15% at each underarm for a total of 30%. I have emailed you the file. I tried PGR's techniques, as well as BGW's and found them both wanting. The underarm stitches are held on a thread, not bound off. I picked up all the underarm stitches at the first pass, but then I decreased one stitch at each side till they met at the middle, thus I don't knit across the underarm stitches with each pass and do not create unwanted fabric which will distort the body and create a blob of fabric at the underarm. I tried the triangular way but ended up with the aforementioned result. In my file, I picked up the stitches around the armhole as follows: pick up two, skip one, but this ratio should be calculated for each individual project based on stitches per inch. The decreases are ssk on the knit side, and ssp on the purl side. Also, on the last pass when preparing to join in the round to continue the sleeve, there is a gap which must be closed, and I have provided a technique for that.

rjcb3's picture

Very beautiful! I do love

Very beautiful!

I do love the jersey pattern going all the way up the body...with the cables and seeded bars and diamonds.

Are you familiar with "Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys & Arans" by Gladys Thompson?

I don't steek for sleeves, so, I don't even understand the mathematics.

...but very beautiful. I do like that a lot. Perhaps, if you're in town, I'll recognise you by the sweater.


albert's picture

Thanks, Rob- Yes I have the

Thanks, Rob-

Yes I have the GT book, it's a great resource.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

I love Thompson's book! It

I love Thompson's book! It was one of my first purchases when I was away at university, spurring me to get back into knitting after a break. Crazily enough, as much as I love ganseys, I've never knit one. I have used patterns from them in socks, however. Great sweater, Albert. Thanks for sharing it. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

rjcb3's picture

OOOoooooohhhhhh Joe! I've

OOOoooooohhhhhh Joe!

I've seen gansey socks before, they're all wonderful and the designs are just as good, but, nothing affects the knitter than when finally knitting a gansey. They're addictive. You'll want to knit square-yoked designs forever and ever, until you burn yourself out on them.

...that or the knit-down arms. I much prefer knitting down the arms, m'self...perhaps it's a perference to decreasing down rather than increasing up.

This book is one of my treasures!


Joe-in Wyoming's picture

You're right, Robert. I

You're right, Robert. I prefer to knit sleeves from the shoulder as well. And I have designed my dream gansey several times but just haven't sat down to do the knitting. Part of it is working with the dark yarn: I really have to struggle with it because it is hard for me to track patterns, etc. Even knitting socks in dark colors turns into a big chore. But I want to knit a traditional sweater and that means beautiful indigo yarns. Someday, I just need to bite the bullet and cast on. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

QueerJoe's picture

ahhh...I just saw a

ahhh...I just saw a closer-up view of the I see what you meant...when you picked up around the arm-hole, you didn't pick up the bound-off stitches??? I kind of picked them up at the end of each back and forth sleeve row?

QueerJoe's picture

I'm glad to read that

I'm glad to read that someone else has gone through a process to try and make a sweater in the round that doesn't have drop-shoulder sleeves. I did a similar thing with my stranded knitting pullover trying to use percentages from Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. I thought she recommended 10 percent, and I got a little scared thought that was too many stitches, but I have to admit, your 15 percent looks great.

Did you decrease the bottom stitches in a triangular fashion?...decreasing one stitch at each side of the bottom until they met in the middle? (if that makes any sense)

If it's easier to send me the file, you can send it to my e-mail at