The first ganseys, traditionally fishermen sweaters, had several distinctive features. One of these features included a shoulder strap which carried one of the motifs, from the front of the sweater across the width of the shoulders and down the length of the sleeves. In my last gansey post, I gave you some hints for knitting the shoulder strap. I had decided to use the central motif of a 5 stranded braid across the shoulder and down the sleeve. Another trademark of a gansey was the use of a gusset under the arm which allowed for greater movement.
Once I had the shoulder strap knit, it was time to do my calculations for knitting the sleeve. Using Beth Brown-Reinsel’s book, Knitting Ganseys, a little easy math, and my sketch book, I drew out my plan for knitting the sleeves.
- Calculate how many stitches to pick up at the armhole edge: (armhole depth x 2) x stitch gauge=number of stitches to pick up
- Calculate the rate of pick-up: number of rows in the armhole/number of stitches to be picked up
- Account for the shoulder strap stitches: total number of sleeve stitches-number of shoulder strap stitches=total number of stitches to pick up from both sides of the shoulder strap.
- Calculate sleeve shaping:
- first determine the circumference of the cuff: total body stitches x 20%=cuff circumference
- factor sleeve ease: ease + circumference = lower sleeve circumference
- determine rate of decrease: number of sleeve stitches – lower sleeve circumference = number of stitches to decrease
- determine the length of the sleeve minus the cuff (distance you will decrease): sleeve length x round or row gauge
- determine rate of decrease: number of rounds in which to decrease / number of stitches to decrease = number of rounds or rows to work the decrease stitches
Phew! That was a lot of math and took focused time to figure it all out. Beth Brown-Reinsel recommends graphing your sleeve before starting to knit. After all that math, I just did not have it in me to graph every sleeve stitch. I simply drew a sketch with lots of notes written so as to remember what I had done.
Last night, after casting off my first sleeve I realized that I had left out another important feature of the gansey sleeve. I have not carried the definition ridge from the body of the sweater over onto the sleeve! In my diligence to get the sleeve knit, I forgot to add the garter stitch ridge. I have decided to ignore that feature, instead of ripping out and redoing the lower sleeve. I feel I have reached another great milestone in my knitting knowledge as well as towards finishing this sweater!
Follow my gansey project start to finish: