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Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Sleeves

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Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Sleeves

Time to move on to to the SLEEVES section.  This week’s installment is pretty easy, technique-wise, but there’s a lot of knitting to do (both sleeves).

The last time we talked about the sleeves, we had placed them on a length of scrap yarn to be worked later:

Now transfer the sleeve stitches back onto your US8 needle.

When all of the stitches are back on the circ, the sleeve will look like this:

If you are happy with the width of the sleeve, you’ll just attach your yarn here at the beginning of a RS row. Continue with the pattern, just following the directions as indicated.  You’ll begin working in Textured Stripe wherever you left off in the stitch pattern.  On my sleeve, before I put the sts on the scrap yarn, I had completed 5 rows of reverse stockinette and so now I’ll start right in on 8 rows of stockinette stitch.

The instructions say to work 2 rows even, this just means to work two rows straight (no increases or decreases) whether you should knit or purl according to the stitch pattern.

Sizes 40-42 (44-46, 48-50, 52-54) begin working decreases to narrow the sleeve as it goes down the arm.  If you don’t want to narrow the sleeve, just work straight (no increases or decreases) in textured stripe until the sleeve is the length indicated in the pattern, or to desired length.

Other sizes just work straight (no increases or decreases) in textured stripe until the sleeve is the length indicated in the pattern, or to desired length.

The length indicated in the pattern is FROM THE UNDERARM…so measure from where you are starting TODAY, not from the very top of the sleeve.


You simply cast on a few stitches at the underarm.

I’ve cast on about 10 st (using the “knitting on” method) at the under arm, to show those who want to modify the sleeve width how this would look.

To see how to cast on sts, check out the “Cast on” videos

Here’s what the sleeve with extra stitches looks like as you knit it:

You can cast your stitches on where I did, at the beginning of the first RS row, or you can cast half on at the beginning of the row and half at the end, or all at the end. It depends, really, on how many extra stitches you need. The more you cast on, the more the seam will move around the arm. If you’re casting on more than about 10 sts, I’d cast on half at the beginning of this first row, and half at the end, so that the seam stays in the center of the sleeve.

Here is what my shrug looks like with the sleeves finished.  (I’ve lightly steamed mine, just so that you can see how it looks; you do not need to steam your knitting at this point.)

You can see that I’ve done two different sleeves.  The one on the left is done “normally” without increasing at the under arm.  For the sleeve on the right, I’ve added extra stitches at the under arm.  I’ve done this so that I can work the next step of the pattern as an example for everyone.  Your sleeves will (hopefully) be the same.  Your sleeves may also be longer or shorter than mine, depending on how you prefer them to look.

Next week, we’ll pick up stitches and start working on the ribbing.

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  • Wonderful instructions! Thank you again for such a great Knit-along!

    Still plugging away at the ribbing…

  • I’m right with you and ready to start the sleeves! I’m planning to do them in the round, rather than back-and-forth. I don’t think there should be any problems with this, but just in case anyone knows of any, please post!

  • Quick question as I wait for my sister to call me back about underarm measurement….. If I cast on a total of 8 (more) stitches for the arms, I will then have a total of 68 stitches (I added two when doing the back so for last week (before doing it) I had 60/90/60) for entire piece. If I have 68 stitches, it puts me between the 40-42 and the 44-46 sizes – I started with the 36-38. Should I then be following the original instructions for 36-38 or do I switch over for the sleeves to the 40-42 or 44-46??? If I switch, which one do I follow? I think it would be the 40-42 since that has even number of stitches……… As always, I appreciate all of the help given!
    This is a wonderful way to try new patterns because of all of the input and advise.

  • I’ve completed one sleeve so far, working exactly to the pattern for size 44-46. I have to say, I’m loving this pattern! I’m crossing my fingers that it looks just as good on me as it does on my needles.

  • I am going to do the sleeves in the round using dbl. points also! The less seams to sew the better.

  • Stephanie–Could you tell us what your intended measurements for the sleeves at the underams are? I’m not seeing that in the diagram.

  • What a great idea to work the sleeves in the round to avoid a seam! My question is, I want to taper the sleeves as I knit down so that it is more fitted towards the elbows. What would be the best way to make decreases in a circular needle?

  • The KAL instructions have been so informative. If I want to knit the sleeves in the round to avoid the seaming, do I need to make any adjustments to the pattern? Or do I just follow the directions exactly as written, except for the last switch of each row completing the round?
    Thanks for your help.

  • Sorry about my last name and associated comment appearing. I never posted to a blog before. The comment does appear immediately!

    Zontee says: Hi Barbara, we removed it. Please note that your name will appear exactly as entered when commenting on the blog.

  • I’m finished with both sleeves, I think. I did both at once on the circular needle with 2 skeins of yarn (Vanna’s Choice – spring green). From the directions “Measure from beginning of piece”..I can’t figure out if I should measure the sleeve from the underarm,(I think correct) or from the cast on edge (the true beginning of piece). I’m uncertain as if I should flatten the piece to measure or as it lies. I did make an error in that I did equal rows of reverse and plain stockinette and was unwilling to rip back when I realized it far into the sweater so that it’s a little “puffy”. Oh well, it’s a “design choice” not an error, right?

    I think I’m supposed to bind off after the 5 rows of reverse stk, but it’s not really clear.

    I’m ready to start picking up stitches so I think I’ll hash my way on without waiting until next weeks KAL blog and hope I’m correct!

  • I used yarn that had been in my stash for several, around 18, years, which at the time seemed like a good idea. However, now that I’m well into this project I realize that they are not all from the same dye lot. It’s acrylic yarn. Any tips on my ability to dye it once it’s completed to erase any differences from the various dye lots? (in my house light it all looks the same, and most of the sleeves were lost over the years!)

  • To Kathy #11
    I’ve used the following technique when I have different dye lots.
    Use the different dye lots for all the stockinette portion of the sweater (8 rows, I think) and one dye lot for the reverse stockinette portion which pops out more.
    This helps hide the fact that the color is a little off or you can call it a “design choice” as Vivette said in #10.

  • Vivette (#10)
    You are supposed to measure from the underarm and finish with the five rows of reverse stockinette.

  • I would also like to knit my sleeves in the round. Do i knit the same as the directions, or is there any changes you need to make.

  • I generally assume that there is a structural reason why designers opt for seams over knitting in the round. Before I make a decision on which to do (because I would probably go with round)I was wondering if taking the seams out would compromise the design somehow, no matter how miniscule. Stephanie, do sleeve seams hold an importance for this particular design?

  • I started to knit a sleeve in the round but realized that my 29″ circular needles are too long! So rather than buying smaller length needles or dpn, I’m sticking with the original pattern. Loving this pattern!

  • An ammendment to my prior question (#3)… My sister has decided that if I add total of 6 stitches to arm (bringing it to 66 stitches) that would be fine; so do I stay with the original instrx for medium, 36-38, or do I switch to the 40-42?
    I will deal with her other adjustments when we get to the back length………….

  • Phoenix(#13) Thanks for the answer to Vivette(#10); I was wondering the same thing and had not yet gotten around to asking! I’m well on my way to finishing the first sleeve. I’ve never kept up on a project like this and am enjoying seeing the progress! Looking forward to showing it off.

  • I want to make my sleeves longer than the pattern calls for but I am concerned that if I do they will be “puffy” or draw up more than would look nice. All of what I have done so far does draw up a lot (doesn’t lay very flat). I even blocked the back before starting the sleeves and it still draws up as much as before I blocked it. I am using Vanna’s Choice yarn. So I am wondering if I want to make the sleeves longer should I put more length on them using the 1k 1p ribbing like for the back? Thanks.

  • I’ve knitted to sleeve edge and want to make them longer and intend to seed stitch to get a mutton sleeve effect! I want to see where the neck trim goes before I do!
    Next week hurry up!!

  • Thanks, Stefanie, for all the great pictures and extended explainations here. I am loving this pattern and I’m on the lookout for your book 🙂

  • When I tested my gauge before I began, I had to go down to a size 6 needle. I have finished through the sleeves and it seems to fit fine. On the next part we are to drop down to the smaller needles which means I would need a size 4. I could not find a 40″ circular needle, especially in the size 4. I looked at 3 different craft stores; JoAnn’s, Hobby Lobby, and Michael’s. Is the 29″ needle going to be long enough? What should I do? Thank you for all your help. I am really enjoying this KAL.

  • Trudy #22: Stefanie’s May 7th post says “Do not worry too much if you can’t find the exact lengths given in the pattern. Needles from 24″ to 40″ will work just fine.” Sounds like you should be o.k. with the 29″ circ you already have. Lisa #15: I agree with you that there may be a structural difference between having a seam or knitting in the round. A seam would add a touch of weight and stiffness to the sleeve, possibly pulling down the puffiness of the rev st rows. Will be interested in what Stefanie has to say about this, as I too hate seaming unless I really have to. This is my first KAL and I am loving the excitement of participating. Started late, but I am up to separating the sleeves. Enjoying every minute.

  • I just finished one of the sleeves today and I did knit in the round using the Magic Loop method. Knitting in the round did not compromise the design. it looks great and now that the sleeve is complete I understand better what stitches I will need to pick-up.

  • Even with fitting the shrug before knitting the sleeves they seem to have ended up a little to big for my liking. Therefore, I am pleased I forgot I had originally wanted to knit my sleeve in the round (I didn’t) since I may end up making them smaller when I seam them. This may be an argument for knitting them flat.

  • By the way, I knitted the medium size.

  • I wanted to just jump in here and second all the praise for the incredible instructions. I taught myself to knit over the past 6 weeks ( don’t do any crafts, and as a computer programmer, I thought it would be a good way to relax after writing code all day), and wanted to try this knit along to see what I could get out of it. Incredible! I couldn’t have done this alone, I don’t know anyone who knits, and my resources have been various online videos and a few books. Thank you so much!!!

  • I also knit the sleeves in the round (2 at once on 2 cable needles) – the one draw back was that there is a ‘jog’ on the rows that begin a new texture stripe, this doesn’t bother me because the jog will be the underarm side and won’t be noticeable. So far so good and I really love the pattern. I added 6 stitches for the sleeves and they fit perfectly.

  • I just started this KAL five days ago. I have finished one sleeve and started the next. I love this pattern too, I usually get bored and go on to something else, but this knits up fast and easy so far. This is also my first KAL. I am using a 100% wool yarn. It helps to read other comments because I can adjust as I KAL. Thanks.

  • I finally caught up (sort of) and am beginning the sleeves. I’m going to knit in round because I have problems with seams. Hopefully we can get some help with that too?! That is why this is my first real garment I’ve knit (other than socks and I do those in the round).
    Here’s hoping the sleeves go as smooth as the rest has so far. (crossing fingers)

  • Am I correct that the sleeve ends after the 5 row reverse sst? I had to end my sleeve 1/2 inch shorter than the designated length, because I would have to do the whole 13 rows again and surely make it longer. I’m just wondering which would be the better choice?

  • To Ruth (#31)

    I had the same problem. I opted to knit another repeat and make the sleeves a little longer. But I have long arms so it was a good choice for me.

    There is no right or wrong. But if you are knitting your sleeves flat you can always wait to bind off to see how long they are after you’ve done some of the ribbing around the bottom of the sweater. Just put the stitches on waste yarn. To make it easier to pick up the ribbing stitches, stitch about 1″ of the sleeve seams at the underarm. If you’re knitting in the round, just slip the stitches onto waste yarn and finish after you’ve completed the ribbing around the sweater body.

    I’ve been watching our 3 grandchildren since last Wednesday while their parents are on vacation in Hawaii, so I’ve not been able to finish the shrug. I just have the seed stitch edging to do. I’ll finish it on Sunday when I’m back home. I’m anxious to get it done and wear it.

  • Hello all,

    I’m enjoying hearing everyone’s progress. I finished the sleeves last night and started reading over the instructions for picking up stitches; I’m looking forward to Stefanie’s wisdom on this since I usually have trouble picking up the stated number of stitches in patterns, and I’m also worried about gaps where there are loose stitches (where the markers were, mainly). Also, I’ve never knit in the round before! I’ve been poring over others’ progress at Ravelry and Flickr – some of them look GREAT and I’m a bit intimidated….does anyone else ever find that their work looks messy and uneven for a while before it’s finished? (Mine is starting to look better, and more like an actual garment…)

  • I feel like I’m in K1 P1 purgatory right now. It’s taking so long to knit the ribbing (or maybe I’m just too impatient!) that I’m actually considering knitting it continental-style (after teaching myself how to do so).

    Stefanie, is that your secret for being able to knit so fast? 🙂

  • […] Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Sleeves […]

  • I am still working on my sleeves … didn’t get to work as much this last week but will feaverishly try to catch up soon

  • If you knit the sleeves in the round, is there any trick to minimizing the jog where you change from knit to purl? I’ve seen articles refering to color striping. Does the same technique work with stitch changes?

  • (Kay #37)

    I knitted my sleeves in the round and the jog is minimal. Since it’s not a full length sleeve, I believe the slight jog is fine due to the fact that part of the sleeve is usually close to the body. Hope that helps.

  • I fell behind and am trying to catch up. I am having a hard time understanding how many decreases to work and when. I added some stitches, so I have 62 stitches which puts me between a size 44-46 and 48-50. I knitted the two even rows and I am about to start the decrease row. The instructions then say to work 1-67. Is that 67 rows for size 44-46? Then it says (67) stitches remaining, but I started with 62 rows and I am doing the first decrease which will leave me with 60 stitches. Then the istructions say work the next 21 rows (1) time and then repeat decrease row 1 time more for (63) stitches rem. This does not add up to me. Please help. I may not be reading the instructions right. Thanks for your help.

  • Correction to my previous post. I should not try to post questions at 1:00AM. At the moment that I am starting my decrease, I have 62 stitches, so how can I have 67 stitches remaining? I would appreciate the help.

  • I have knitted the 33 rounds and it looks that at the back neck is too wide; does not look like shown in the pattern.

  • Reply to Norma16 (#39) Do you still need help figuring out the decreases?

  • I am terribly behind because of other projects with earlier deadlines. I am just to the sleeves, and am very disappointed there have been no “official” answers to all the questions about knitting the sleeves in the round. I, too, hate the seaming part, and my daughter hates the bulky feeling at the seam. I’d like to do them in the round, but am a little confused by all the suggestions – “2 at a time on 2 circulars”, dpns, or what length to try on a single circular. Since there were so many questions about it, I wish someone, either Stephanie or LionBrand, had responded.

    Zontee says: Hi Beth K, the reason that there hasn’t been an “official” answer is because knitting the sleeves in the round is more of a matter of preference than anything else. There are no technical reasons why they need to be made flat. In an earlier comment, Stefanie said that she preferred to make her sleeves flat and seam them, but if you would like to make them in the round, feel free. Simply pick the in-the-round method you would like. DPNs, 2 circs, or magic loop will be best, because a single circ will be too long and will stretch out your sleeve. If you need a demo of any of these methods, click here to see’s videos of small-diameter circular knitting. Hope that helps.

  • […] Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Sleeves […]

  • Do I cast on the raglan ribbing stitches when making the neck?

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