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 Sweater armpit: what's with the reseved stitches?
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robinstephanie
Permanent Resident

USA
1256 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2014 :  08:32:15 AM  Show Profile Send robinstephanie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm just finishing up my first baby sweater, Candlestick. (SO cute.) The pattern says to reserve four stitches on each side of the body (where a side seam would go, if it wasn't knitted in the round) and four stitches at a certain point on each of tthe sleeves, and then you're supposed to graft them together at the end of the project.

I'm finding this hard and sloppy. There are holes on either side of the graft and the grafted stitches just look puckered. I was able to clean this up a bit on one side when I wove in ends. Any advice for the other side before I start it?

Why not just seam all the way down to the armpit and be done with it? Why with the p.i.t.a. grafting?

Robinsteph

Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover

Ceil
Permanent Resident

USA
1792 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2014 :  2:23:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit Ceil's Homepage Send Ceil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Seems to me the reason for that is to give the sleeves an easy way to move when the arms do. Yes, it IS cumbersome, but you might find it more difficult to wear the garment while driving a car, for example. Except that baby better not be driving a car. ;>)

Ceil
(Ravelry: ceilr)
Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
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eldergirl
Permanent Resident

USA
1802 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2014 :  6:52:13 PM  Show Profile Send eldergirl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dear Robinsteph, I remember that Meg Swanson on Schoolhouse Press (Elizabeth Zimmerman's awesome daughter), offers coaching on this particular design feature. It does sound to me as if you need to loosen up on your grafting, and twist the next stitch on either side, as you weave in the ends.
I don't know how you grafted, but if it were me, I would use a set of bamboo double points (they are the least slithery needle, IMO), so your tools are small, because the sweater is small. To be hones, it does sound like a p.i.t.a., and if the enlargement is needed, I think a wee gusset would be easier to manage.....maybe not! Just casting about here for ideas.......
Hang in there, and good luck. You are gonna hack this!
Best wishes,

Anna

Life is beautiful.
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Kade1301
Permanent Resident

France
1438 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2014 :  02:29:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit Kade1301's Homepage Send Kade1301 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've never done it in baby size, but I knitted a few sweaters in the round for myself, with grafting under the arms, without a problem. If there were holes at the sides of the grafting (I honestly can't remember) I suppose I sewed them shut with the tails from the yarn used for grafting.

Really, grafting is no big deal - the instructions I learnt from are in Jacqueline Fee's Sweater Workshop.

Happy knitting, Klara

http://www.lahottee.info
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Shelia
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USA
2363 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2014 :  07:15:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The reserved stitches serve the same purpose that a gusset does in a sewn garment, provides ease without too much bulk. An example of what happens when ease is added without a gusset or gusset stitches is a dolman-type sleeve, which always has several folds of the fabric under the arms (can you tell I've worked as a seamstress?)

Some patterns have you bind off the reserved stitches, this can be easier to sew together neatly rather than grafting reserved live stitches sometimes.

Shelia
www.breezyridgestudio.com
ravelry name - sheliaknits
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robinstephanie
Permanent Resident

USA
1256 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2014 :  10:09:02 AM  Show Profile Send robinstephanie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi guys--Thanks for the feedback and information. I find it really helpful to know the "why" of structural choices in patterns.

I took the second sleeve slow, and it's better than the first. I think the real problem here was that I didn't leave slack for the reserved stitches and they were really tight. It was REALLY HARD to get the little beasts back onto needles and manipulate them.

One reason I'm making a baby sweater (aside from my friend having a baby) is to practice techniques I'll need for a me-sized sweater. Now I know: don't tug those stitches tight! And I will try Anna's twisted stitch trick too, when I do this again.

I also practiced sleeve shaping and set in sleeves, mattress stitch, a short-row collar, and I freelanced a little button placket at the front of the neck. Set in sleeves were hardest, other stuff was really easy-peasy, my mattress stitch has improved, all of which was cool to learn. I tried a me-sized sweater two years ago, and man was that a butcher job.

Thanks for the help,



Robinsteph

Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
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strandedgirl
New Pal

USA
38 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2014 :  12:17:55 PM  Show Profile Send strandedgirl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
All of the sweaters that I have knit in the round have had the holes at the beginning and end of the grafting. I did try twisting the first stitch and I still got the hole. If you find a way to eliminate that please share! Good luck! It is a brilliant idea to work on technique with something small so you have it down before you tackle the big stuff.

My name is Michelle, and I'm a yarnaholic.
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azblueskies
Permanent Resident

2387 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2014 :  07:11:17 AM  Show Profile Send azblueskies a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Are you all working your sweaters from bottom up? I'm trying to picture this but from the top down and am failing miserably. I never graft anything when working top down and I don't have any holes. What am I missing?

azblue
------------------------------------------------------------------
Reminder to myself: PROVISIONAL cast on for EVERYTHING except toe-up socks.
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robinstephanie
Permanent Resident

USA
1256 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2014 :  08:52:45 AM  Show Profile Send robinstephanie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, it was a bottom up sweater, Azblue. I knitted the body up to the collar without the sleeves, then knit the sleeves in the round separately. The pattern has you leave four stitches on either side of what would be the side seams of both the sleeve and the body. Then you basically have to match them up, like notches on a sewing pattern, and graft them. They're at the base of the armscye, four on the sleeve, four on the body, two on either side of the "side seam". Once that's done, you mattress stitch the rest of the sleeve to the body. Does that make sense?

I don't know enough about sweater construction (yet) to know what the structures are when knitting top down, so can't give you any comparisons.

Robinsteph

Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
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azblueskies
Permanent Resident

2387 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2014 :  12:14:59 PM  Show Profile Send azblueskies a Private Message  Reply with Quote
OK...now it makes sense. I'm tall and like longer tops so I usually work top down and put the body on waste yarn until I get the sleeves done and then put the body stitches back on the needles and knit until I run out of yarn. Sometimes I've worked bottom up with a provisional cast-on to achieve the same thing but haven't in a long time. Anyway, thanks for clearing it up for me, Robinsteph. I hope you'll post a photo when you finish your sweater...I'd love to see it.

azblue
------------------------------------------------------------------
Reminder to myself: PROVISIONAL cast on for EVERYTHING except toe-up socks.
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robinstephanie
Permanent Resident

USA
1256 Posts

Posted - 06/28/2014 :  11:09:45 AM  Show Profile Send robinstephanie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ach, I forgot to take pics, Azblue, and a friend was taking pictures at the baby shower, but they all come out blurry! I'm totally bummed. It was really cute.

Glad my description made sense helped to clarify. It's interesting to read the description of the top-down construction too. Sweaters are slowly starting to make sense to me.

Robinsteph

Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
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azblueskies
Permanent Resident

2387 Posts

Posted - 06/30/2014 :  07:40:51 AM  Show Profile Send azblueskies a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I like top down because I can try it on as I go and made adjustments - guess you could do the same with bottom up but I think it's a little more difficult to adjust working that way. Probably just me. "Knitting From the Top" by Barbara Walker helped me understand the construction and once you take body measurements, you can easily make up your own patterns. The book covers all types of necklines, sleeves, etc. Really good resource. Whichever way you do it, though, it's a lot of fun, isn't it?

azblue
------------------------------------------------------------------
Reminder to myself: PROVISIONAL cast on for EVERYTHING except toe-up socks.
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robinstephanie
Permanent Resident

USA
1256 Posts

Posted - 06/30/2014 :  12:31:25 PM  Show Profile Send robinstephanie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ooh, that book sounds really interesting, Az. I just ordered it from the library. And YES, tons of fun. As I get better at knitting, the more complex patterns are more fun instead of just frustrating.

Robinsteph

Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
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metromaples
Seriously Hooked

USA
878 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2014 :  01:21:44 AM  Show Profile Send metromaples a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm not a grafter except in extraordinary circumstances. I use a 3 needle bind off to join underarm stitches, leaving a tail at the beginning and end of the "graft" to close the holes.

-- Jeri
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