My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Hogget Sleeves

A couple of you asked in the comments why I don’t knit Teal Hogget’s sleeves from the top down.

While I will happily knit drop shoulder design sleeves from the top down, and fair isle sleeves whose stitches are picked up around the armhole and knitted down, I will not knit a shaped sleeve cap from the top down. Though theoreticallly it is possible to do so, by reversing all the shaping.

Anyone ever seen a pattern that has a sleeve with a shaped sleeve cap knitted from the top down? I’m just curious — I never have.

I’m pretty sure I’ll have enough yarn for long sleeves on Teal Hogget anyhow. And I’ve got a couple more ounces I can spin up (courtesy of L-B!) should I need them.

Bolero Jacket

I’ve made a whole lotta progress on the Bolero Jacket — here are the two side fronts, the back, and one sleeve in a pile:


It’s a quick and easy knit, but as I mentioned ealier, the pattern is deplorable. Written by ferrets, as Kristine would say.

Lucy’s Excellent Adventure

Lucy’s daddy got her a great new toy: a laser pointer. She spent some time trying to figure out how to catch it:


But her favorite weekend activity?


Being brushed by her daddy!


  1. I believe that Hopeful by Jenna Adorno has the shaped sleeve from the top-down method.

  2. I just love the colors of your Bolero jacket! Being a complete sweater novice, the bad pattern would have crushed me. I’m glad you can sort it out.

  3. Yep, Hopeful has short-rowed sleeve caps. That part of the pattern went just fine.

  4. I’m sure that somewhere around here I have a pattern for a whole garment w/ top down set in sleeves, but the technique is wonderfully easy and applicable ot any pattern. (heck, if only I’d WRITTEN the pattern for DH’s sweater in progress… I could send that to you. I’ve GOT to start writing things down as I knit them!)

    I took a class from Lorna Miser, but I’m sure its out there somewhere in a book or magazine… folks… do you know???

  5. Top down set in sleeves are really easy once you understand the mathematics of the whole thing. I believe that the Sweater Wizard has complete directions, but a friend gave me the directions and I was amazed by how simple it is.

  6. You know a guy loves you when he brushes your cat. ๐Ÿ™‚ (That sounded sort of dirty tho. Whoops!) My cat also loves laser pointers, and runs wildly about trying to catch them. It’s o fun, but I feel sort of mean as she can never “win.”

  7. Yes, “Hopeful” has top-down cap sleeves. They went very smoothly for me.

  8. Dear Lucy – It looks like you had a great weekend! Glad to see you so relaxed.


  9. hi wendy! melinda at the purlwsie blog has a little photo essay on the sleeves.

  10. What a sweet photo. Lucy looks like one very blissful kitty.

  11. “Knitting from the Top” by Barbara Walker offers many variations on a top-down, shaped sleeve; the one I tried worked beautifully. Just might be one of those life-changing experiences! Or, at least, sleeve-changing!

  12. There is nothing funnier to me than animals chasing laser pointer dots. My parents have 2 golden retrievers and when they were puppies you could keep them entertained for hours making them chase the little dot. My dog thinks he’s too cool for such nonsense.

  13. Ha ha ha!!! Written by ferrets. I think I have a worked a few patterns written by the same ferrets.

  14. Lucy sez: “True Bliss”

  15. Aah. Okay, I understand if it’s something that involves colorwork and shaping at the same time that it’ll be a bit difficult. Debbi mentioned Barbara Walker’s book and in fact I’m using the same book to knit my own sweater using the inset sleeve chapter. I’ll let you know how that works out.

    If anyone can knit a Fair Isle, top-down inset sleeve, I’d think it would be you or Yarn Harlot, Wendy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. The laser pointer is a big hit in our house. We spend hours waving that silly thing around. The best is waving it at the ceiling and then the cats make this really weird bug catching cry. Its the weirdest sound ever!! It’s these really fast staccato pulses that they make by quickly moving their jaw. It’s wild!!

  17. My cats are dedicated to finding out where that red thing sleeps when it isn’t tormenting them. Does Lucy look for it when it isn’t turned on?

  18. I don’t recall seeing shaped sleeve cap knit from the top down, now that you mention it.

    Lucy looks so happy in that photo. I figure if I’m really, really good in this life, I will be reincarnated as a well loved house cat whose biggest responsibility is to find a sunny spot to sleep in all afternoon.

  19. Written by ferrets! hahaha I’m going to remember that one. If you read Grumperina’s blog then you know that she recently got a shawl pattern that was written by ferrets. Maybe it was the same ferrets! I would say that a pattern that does not include a TINY little detail like ADD A ZIPPER certainly qualifies as ferret-written. The fact that there are obviously other mistakes just adds to the outrage. Better you than me. I’d be completely at a loss.

  20. I took a class at Stitches East last year on how to design sleeves (or convert existing patterns) to knit from the top down. We did do a set-in sleeve, but I must admit it was hard in that “I’m-not-intuitive-about-math” kind of way. My sample came out screwy because I didn’t subtract before I divided (or something like that), and I ended up thinking that sewing sleeves in just isn’t all that bad!

    I’m glad you’re making long sleeves for TH — I’m not partial to 3/4 sleeves because I can’t grab them when I put on my coat or another sweater.

  21. My kitties love their laser pointer too. I’ve heard that it’s illegal to sell them in California for the purpose of cat toys because it’s seen as cruel. I might be just passing on an urban legend here, though. Anyway, I don’t think it’s cruel. It’s great exercise for them!

  22. I absolutely love the colors of your bolero jacket. totally juicy…

  23. Oh, the laser pointer. My favorite trick is to wait until the Boyfriend goes into the bathroom, then use that nefarious red dot to make the furry kids attack the door. You’d think he had an ogre outside, pounding on the door.

  24. If you are talking about what I think you are talking about with the shaped sleeve thing – Priscilla Gibson-Roberts in both Salish Indian Sweaters and Knitting in the Old Way describes how to do this.

  25. Katherine, I’ve found that it’s not illegal to sell red lasers in California, but that in some jurisdictions purchasers must be 18 years of age. It can be, however, a misdemeanor to shine a laser at someone.

    Here is an extract from a fairly recent arcticle I found at the website of the Health Physics Society:

    “In some states, such as California, it is a criminal misdemeanor to shine a laser pointer at individuals who perceive they are at risk, and it is a felony to aim one at an aircraft. Some local governments have passed regulations requiring anyone purchasing a laser pointer to be 18 years of age or older. It is expected that the pending revision of ANSI Z136.1 will have a special section commenting on laser pointers.

    In summary, laser pointers are helpful tools but they must be used responsibly. Common sense dictates that users should never direct a laser pointer beam at another person. And lasers with power over 5 mW should not be used as pointers.”

    That article also goes on to detail the danger to vision if the laser hits someone directly in the eye.

    “Visible laser pointers operating with 1-5 mW power are Class 3a and can be hazardous if viewed even for a very short time. Users should never look directly into the beam of Class 3a laser pointers, which are required by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations to be marked “DANGER.” (Class 2 lasers are labeled “CAUTION.”) Possible hazards include startle effects, flash-blindness, glare, and after-images if a person is struck directly in the eye. Numerous cases of such incidents have been reported, along with cases where individuals overreacted to being flashed. Reports of those exposed include a pilot, bus drivers, sports figures, a teacher, and police…”

  26. Lucy looks absolutely blissed out! And those laser pointers are wicked.

    I love the “written by ferrets” comment. Hadn’t heard that previously.

  27. I’ve knit shaped sleeves from the top down using the instructions in Barbara Walker’s “Knitting from the Top”. They turned out great and I use her technique any time it will work with the stitch pattern I’m using.

    Much more fun than sewing in sleeves, for sure.

  28. I recently made a pattern called ‘Arches’ by Sidna Farley that has shaped sleeve caps knitted top down. It’s really got brilliant construction – the neckband application is also a stroke of genius. You can see it here.

  29. Elizabeth Zimmermann also describes how to do a set-in sleeve (those are the same thing, right?) from the top down in “Knitting Without Tears”. She picks up stitches all around the armscye first, knits a few rounds and then does short rows. I haven’t tried it but I’m definitely going to – hate seaming! Her instructions makes it seem so easy too.

  30. Robin Kyle says:

    I have attempted skeppsta from the Cornelia Hamilton Noro Revisited book. I understand from Kristine at Knit happens, you just knitted this.
    When first starting out, I cast on 18 sts and at the end of the short row section,R11 tells me to P18, sl 1 st with yarn in back.

    If I only have 18sts on the left needle, what am I slipping?? Please explain what I am missing here.

    Many thanks