My current work in progress:

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


Three Needle Bind Off

There were a couple of questions in the comments asking why I am attaching the sleeves for my gansey via a three-needle bind-off rather than picking up the stitches and knitting the sleeves down from the body.

Yes, I could have picked up stitches along the edge of the body and knit the sleeve down from the top, reversing all the shaping to make the sleeve narrow as I knit towards the cuff. I have successfully done that many times, but it does have its drawbacks.

First of all I would have the weight and warmth of the entire sweater resting in my lap while I knit the sleeves. This is a deal-breaker for me.

Second, the direction of the knitting is reversed. For my simple diamond pattern this is not a huge deal, but if the sleeve is patterned with something other than straight stockinette or garter stitch, you will need to figure out how to knit the pattern upside-down. Depending on the complexity of the pattern, this may or may not work.

There was another comment asking what ratio I used to pick up my stitches. It all depends.

My completed sleeve was 20″ across the top, so I measured 10″ down the front and 10″ down the back of the body of the sweater and placed markers at those points.

After I finished my sleeve increases, I had a total of 101 stitches. That means I needed to pick up 50 stitches up the front, 1 stitch at the shoulder seam, and 50 stitches down the back. So on the body I placed a marker halfway between the bottom marker and the shoulder seam, and then another marker midway in each of those sections so that I had 4 even sections in which I needed to pick up stitches on both the front and back.

Starting at the bottom marker, I picked up 12 stitches in the first section, then 1 stitch right at the next marker, then 12 stitches in the next 2 sections, then 1 stitch right at the next marker, then 12 stitches in the next section — which takes you up to the shoulder seam. That’s 50 stitches for the first half of the sleeve. Then I picked up my 1 stitch right at the shoulder seam, and picked up the remaining 50 stitches in the same manner as the first 50 stitches.

Here’s my sleeve:

And here’s the sleeve joined to the body:

But this photo is the most accurate representation of the color:

Hard to take photos after work in the winter when it’s dark!

To change the subject . . .

See this little angel?

Hard to believe that someone who looks so sweet and innocent would wake her Momma up 7 or 8 times during the night for no good reason, huh?


  1. Melissa HB says:

    It’s always the cute ones that you have to watch out for 😉 I wake up in the middle of the night clutching the last 6″ of the bed. Who knew that a 7lb maltese dog could take up so much room on our KING sized bed.

    Hopefully you get a good sleep tonight 🙂

  2. Lots of good information here, thanks! Also, I feel your pain on the interrupted sleep front. I have a nearly-20-year-old cat who does the same thing. I’m sure they have very good reasons for doing it, they just aren’t telling us what they are.
    Connie B. in OH´s last blog post ..Miss me?

  3. “I want love! Now!” Seems to be reason enough for my cats to wake me up at night. *Sigh*
    Valerie´s last blog post ..Still truckin’

  4. thanks so much for the walk through of the pick up, this is very helpful. And, Lucy. Must be something in the air. She is adorable.
    Jennifer´s last blog post ..A visitor at the office

  5. Lucy sounds like my Samson. He knows my alarm goes off at 5:30 and he will come and start walking on me and patting me on the face with his paw. The paw thing is adoreable but not at 5 am!

  6. Maybe Lucy got into something caffeinated last night?
    Geri´s last blog post ..Constant Quest

  7. Barbara Runcie says:

    Be thankful you only have 1. We have 7 who do that. LOL

  8. Lucy would have seen or heard something. They are good watchcats. She would have been trying to tell you something 🙂

  9. Midnite Baker says:

    Thanks for the walk thru on picking up stitches. Definitely needed this review.
    Least we forget, our cats are natural night stalkers & prowlers. Have a great weekend!

  10. Why do you think she didn’t have a good reason? She just thinks you weren’t bright enough to figure out what it was. (Says the woman owned by a new kitten that her daughter wanted and he’s now set to take the place over.)

  11. If the frequent interruption of Mama’s sleep is not part of her usual nocturnal activity, it might be a good idea to check out her eating & elimination for the next day or so–could be she’s got an upset. A check of the kitchen cabinets is in order too–has she found signs of a mouse (“oh boy Mom come see my new toy!!”)? We have a good mouser, the little beasties don’t stand much of a chance, but he must play with them before he dispatches them!
    CeltChick´s last blog post ..More slippers

  12. P.S. I was wondering about a three needle bind off on the sleeves; you must have heard me scratching my head over it. Thanks for the explanation, makes perfect sense!
    CeltChick´s last blog post ..More slippers

  13. maybe she was having catmares.

  14. thanks wendy for the pick-up review. the sweater looks great! my ShihTzu makes sure i’m awake by 5:30-6:00 everyday…then she goes back to sleep!!

  15. My black & white kitty, who is the most affectionate of our 5 kitties, has been pawing me and waking me up a few times at night so that I’ll lift up the covers for her to crawl under. She turns around (head facing out), I put my arm gently around her, and she purrs away. Sometimes she leaves again quickly, but other times she stays a long time. Maybe she’s trying to tell me I’m keeping the house too cool at night!

  16. Cindy91081 says:

    Dear Wendy, I haven’t followed up with your three needle bind-off technique. Where can I find it? Thanks, Cindy (from Beijing, China. A fans since 2002)

  17. That is because she sleeps all day silly! We have a 23 year old dsh that wakes up several times a night. It is like having a baby all over again. For the past five months she has been sleeping next to my head. She either steps on my face to wake me, meows like a banshee or rubs her whiskers on my face. Sometimes if I am lucky she doesn’t wake up until 5:30 when the alarm goes off so my middle guy can head off to school on time.

  18. After being up that much the night before, that is why she is resting now!!!

  19. Thanks for the tips on 3-needle bind off. I have to agree about the weight. I don’t mind the warmth, at least not in the winter, but I don’t like heavy knitting.

  20. Good grief. It’s all so obvious now (sleeve attachment). Mumbling my thanks as I slink off unobtrusively…..

  21. I have two cats. One likes to wake me up, just cuz he loves me so….. Much!,,,,, and wants Mommy to love him back. They now sleep outside the bedroom at night.

  22. I love cats (large, wild one and small, domestic varieties). They are nocturnal creatures, just like me! Given your “early-to-bed-early-to-rise” routine, I can see where there would be a conflict of interest between you and Lucy. Hope the two of you can reconcile your differences. 🙂

    Looks like the gansey is nearly finished. Does it have a name yet? I’m so eager to see the FO. Hope you’ll model it for us; I can imagine that it will look fabulous on you!
    Linda´s last blog post ..Friday Fortunes – A Sweet Surprise

  23. Am I glad I not the only one who is awoken 7 times one night for no apparent reason (‘no mummy, that was the other kitty who was scratching an meowing, not, me, surely not me *huge eyes*)

    And an ecxelent explanation of the sleeve set in, that is what we all came here for in the first place 🙂

  24. Your sleeve expanation makes prefect sense. I have a part maine coon who wants nothing to do with her humans….. unless I’m typing at the computer.
    brandi´s last blog post ..All Around the Farm 1-27-12

  25. Oooh! Another one with a kitty problem. Mine has been doing that too (loudly scratching at the cat flap even though he’s not allowed out at night). It has got to beyond a joke – we need our sleep to function. A fellow blogger suggested I put him in the ‘sin bin’ when he does that. It has worked a treat. I waited until he began his infernal scratching, and then I put him in his travelling crate and left him there all night. It allowed me sleep all night (bliss!!) and best of all, he hasn’t done it again! Far from being angry with me for locking him up for the night, he has turned into a most affectionate cat. Hmm.

  26. That is one gorgeous gansey Wendy! A pattern someday would be a great idea.

  27. One of these days I will put markers in my knitting for picking up. I end up winging it and then ripping it all out when it doesn’t work the way I want it to. That one step would save me a ton of time!
    Seanna Lea´s last blog post ..Iron Craft 2: The search for hearts and flowers