Ask Patty: Perfect Husbands and Easy Sleeve Caps

April 3, 2019
Knit a sweater for someone you love, including yourself.

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26 Comments
  • Good way to explain gauge math. But I still find it easier to understand cookie math!

  • What magic are you using to make the edges of the sweater look so beautifully even? Is it a bind off? I thought I was an adequate sweater knitter, but now everything is in question, because that is breathtaking.

    • I thought the same thing! All my knitting is now going under the microscope. Lots of unraveling ahead! Patty, please give us a neckline tutorial!

      • Me too!! That neckline is amazing. Mine looks so terrible next to Patty’s. I need a tutorial like no body’s business.

    • Do you mean on my reknit sleeve cap? It’s not what I’m doing, it’s what I’m NOT doing. In the original cap I didn’t know that you weren’t supposed to decrease at the actual edge (hence the hot mess I knit). The second sleeve cap shows the decrease being one stitch in from the edge. Then when you seam (or pick up stitches like the V neck) you are left with just your lovely shaping stitch.

    • Yes! I knew about the row gauge thing, but the edges of your sleeve cap #2 are beautiful. How do you do that?

      • Read the comment directly above yours

  • I always learn from Patty! Thank you!

  • I have knitted many scarves, shawls, cowls, etc for my adult daughter, but the one she wears EVERY time I see her is the one that started out as an Afghan in a Feather and Fan pattern. I am mortified to see it because it reminds me of my failure to do a simple 4 row sequence. However, she loves the color and the yarn and apparently, me.

    • awwww, this truly made my tear up a bit. i have only a few precious baby items my mom made me, but the one item i keep out (in my closet) is a swatch of garter, stockinette, seed stitch, and some cables she made me the day i asked her to teach me to knit. bless that woman’s heart; she had to knit with acrylic because that’s what i’d bought to learn on and she’d always preferred wool, which i didn’t understand at the time. she passed away a few months later.

      i love when daughters love their mom’s knitting, whatever it is.

      • And this story makes me tear up!

  • Perfect timing as I just got back from NYC where I went to Schoolhouse Yarns (thank you, MDK knitters for the recommendations – Schoolhouse Yarns was wonderful and my daughter’s musical theatre team loved the meal at Becco). I came home with 13 balls of a cashmere merino blend and a pattern with set in sleeves. I swatched last night and will start today after I find a tip that I believe is in Patty’s DVD about what to do at the end of the row when you will be picking up stitches later. It has been a while since I have done a sweater…

  • Love your writing! Love your knitting! I can easily convince myself a knitting project is less than perfect and simply put it away to begin something new! I believe your husband would love the first sweater in any case, just because you made it for him and because of the wonderful colors! You inspire me! Thank you!

  • Brilliant! Thanks so much Patty. I could have figured this out, but so much easier with your explanation.

  • Oh I love the perfect husbands! And the possible solution-“alone time sweater”! My husband also proudly wears my knits. Most times he has the hats on backwards displacing the wonky start of round as he cheerily tells everyone I knit him the best hats.

  • Patty,
    So nice to see you were not born a perfect knitter. This growth always apparent even in my current intermediate stage when I go to fix WIPs that have been in hiding a few years. Dilemma….do I start over or make my knitting clumsy to match what is already done? LOL

    • Perfect Knittter! Haaaaaaa. My “Improve Your Knitting Technique” students always face that same issue. Once you start sizing your stitches and making them perfect and even, I’m afraid you can’t unring that bell.

  • I do have an “almost” perfect husband. “Almost” because he won’t wear hand knit socks because they make his feet too hot. Same with sweaters. And as for the lovely, bunny soft hats. I have knit him over the years, he loves his Chevy gimme stocking cap (I threw away another cheap acrylic cap and this one appeared) The man is simply not knit-worthy. Thank goodness I have a son who loves all my efforts.
    But why I am writing is to tell you of a sweater I knit in 1974. It was Red Heart worsted in grey/black/white to mimic ragg wool. It probably was not perfect and the relationship fell victim to the boyfriend sweater curse, though we are still friendly enough for people who live on opposite sides of the country. He recently wrote and told me how often he still wears that sweater, it keeps him comfortably on the ferry, and he gets many compliments on it-as does his wife, who denies having anything to do with it. Acrylic; impervious to moths, wind, solvent, felting, and time. I am not sure I would want my name associated with that sweater, but the story made me smile.

    • Adorbs!

  • Patty is hilarious and I can’t say how many ways I love the first letter.

  • Wonderful tutorial — thanks so much! Do you remember the pattern for your husband’s sweater?

    • The “Manly Sweater”

  • Please tell me what you mean by sleeve cap. As I see it a cap is what arises vertically directly after a shoulder seam due to the gathering required (at least in sewing – haven’t knit a set-in sleeve yet) which would make anything over half an inch too puffy already let alone 5 or more inches. Or do you mean simply all the fabric that covers the curve of the shoulder where it meets the arm? BTW, my very supportive husband daily wore to work an alpaca hat I knit for him even after it grew, as alpaca does, long enough to cover his eyes. I finally wrested it from him, felted it and turned it into a nice bowl, which saddened him every time he passed it on the shelf.

    • In a set in sleeve for sewing or knitting, the sleeve cap is the bell curve shaped bit of knitting that comes after the sleeve is finished it’s length at the underarm. It must fit into your armscye (the hole made when you seam the front and back of your sweater together). If the cap height is not correct it won’t fit. The picture (see the thing that looks like 1/2 a bell) is the sleeve cap.

  • Thank you for another wonderful post. Awhile back you posted a tip for better looking SSK’s and now I cannot find it!

  • Oh man. This is your idea of a bad sweater? You should see the one I knit for my husband in 2009. Thing 1: I used cotton yarn instead of wool. And cotton stretches. Result: gorilla arms, and it’s halfway down to his knees. Thing 2: Somehow it wound up with a Flashdance neckline. I followed the directions, but…straight up Jennifer Beals. So I ripped it out and tried to fix it, and it looks atrocious. But it’s comfortable, and like most guys, he loves loves loves comfort. He will never get rid of this thing. There may be an element of “and he also loves embarrassing me about this sweater” in there, but I digress. 😉