Bang Out a Hadley: Sleeves of Clay

By Kay Gardiner
February 16, 2017

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74 Comments
  • Would duplicate stitch (aka Swedish embroidery) solve the problem?

  • You could even pick up the stitches just after the cuff and re-knit the colourwork section (thus avoiding having to do the ribbed cuff) and then graft it onto the rest of the sleeve.

  • Well it looks great as it is- intentional, quirky, individual, stylish. What more can I say? I love it!

  • That indeed is a brilliant solution. Don’t you love Instagramers?

  • When I was a PYT, 1000 years ago, and I sewed a LOT, every blouse I made had 2 left cuffs. Inevitably. I was incapable of making a right sleeve. I just started telling people it was a design feature….

    • Im still in the camp of Design Feature. I love that the two cuffs are slightly different.

  • I think the duplicate stitch is the perfect solution. It seems like a lot of blogs I have read over the past few days talk about mistakes. Why do we
    feel obligated to point out our mistakes? Knitters should learn to embrace them…easier said than done. Then again, what a different world it might be if people actually did admit to a mistake and try to fix it.

  • It’s totally fine. A beaut sweater made by a human – warm colorful and attractive.

  • I was going to suggest duplicate stitch, but somebody beat me to it.

    • Me too. Or leave it. Only we will know!

  • I’m in the “fix it” camp – but then again, I never work on a deadline, and by the time I’m done I’ve usually reknit the whole thing through at least twice (double the knitting!). Finding creative ways to correct my knitting is how I learned some of my fancier knit-tricks, like Kitchener in-the-round. I would do what Christine65 suggested: cut before the ribbed cuff, pick up sts, rework through the colorwork, then Kitchener it on, over the top of the finished sleeve, cutting after you’re done.

    Yes, there is character-building valor in accepting the error and moving on. But why do that when you can feel smug and triumphant and knit-brilliant instead? 😉

    • I have a hunch it would be useful to learn this trick. How do you kitchener the new piece onto the sleeve but not cut it until after you’re done?

      • I’d like to see that, too. Can’t picture it, but so far my kitchenering is almost entirely limited to sock toes.

  • I thought of the grafting solution right away too. But Kay, repeat after me, two sleeves at a time on two circulars!

    Even if you blew past the green on one sleeve, you would do that on the other sleeve too, that is the beauty of it. Symmetry. Try it. You’ll never go back.

    • Why have I never thought of this? It’s positively brilliant. Thank you.

  • I didn’t even know you could do that. Knitting is so cool.

  • Most importantly, on which network have you found DCI Banks playing?!!! I know that it was on PBS for awhile, but not lately (at least, not on CPTV that i can find).

    • I purchased episodes on Amazon.

      • I haven’t gone over to Amazon (or Hulu) yet. I guess i should!

        • I did that a while back when I wanted to catch up on missed episodes. The showings on PBS were kind of random. I don’t know if they are available on different platforms now. I still haven’t figured out what happened between Alan and Annie. I’m not sure the showrunners resolved it or whether I even have all the relevant episodes.

        • There appears to be a Season 5 that aired in England in 2016. It will be available on DVD in April of this year in the U.S. Possibly it will be shown on PBS, though.

    • I’ve been watching DCI Banks on Hulu. I don’t know if they have all the seasons, but I did see the first three or four.

      • I have been tempted to get Hulu. I’m thinking of giving up cable tv and just using internet with netflix and Hulu. This makes it more tempting!

  • A perfect design element .
    No need to change your interpretation of what “green” is.;)

    • Exactly 🙂

    • Isn’t “blue” part of “green” anyway? Perhaps Kay could accuse “yellow” of scampering away and leaving “blue” behind to bear witness to “yellow’s” perfidy. Just saying. (I like a good, creative rationalization.)

  • I always return to this idea of imperfection in geometric arts from stories I’ve read about creating mistakes on purpose because “only God is perfect”. I saw this in a documentary on Indian rug weavers and have also read about it in Islamic tiles and rugs. Not everyone says it’s really a “thing” that is always done, but I love the idea. Mostly now when I make mistakes I pretend it’s purposeful and that I’m leaving it in because “only God makes things that are perfect”. I think the concept is cool and it saves me knitting time!

  • Leave the mistake! Do you really want a sweater that looks like everyone elses’s? Besides, it’s a charming mistake.

  • Could you duplicate stitch with green over the errant blue stitches? Would that be too obvious?

  • My first thought was that the green and blue were part of a self-striping yarn, and the second sleeve simply skipped the green and darker (to me, darker, but it may be a shadow from the green) blue of the first sleeve, continuing to a medium blue…

    It’s beautiful as is. I wouldn’t change anything about it! But then, you wouldn’t find me doing fair isle in the first place.

  • I saw your post and could feel your pain. I am not sure what I’d do. I’m to the point where I’m getting a little nervous about the fit of the yoke when I start doing the colorwork (since my sleeve was a little snug) and kinda just want to bag this baby up and go back to working on my other projects. But I’m carrying on and love seeing your progress. If you end up slicing up the sleeve and grafting a new bit on, please post about it! That whole idea is fascinating to me.

    • Amy B

      I thought my sleeve was going to be snug as well until the whole thing got put together. It isn’t, it fits perfect. Don’t give up!

  • Ha! I’ve got a sweater that I knitted with 2×2 ribbing on one cuff & 1×1 ribbing on the other. I wore it for a couple of years before I noticed that my cuffs didn’t match! I still wear it, mismatched cuffs & all.

  • Call me crazy, but I kind of like the all blue sleeve better! I’d redo the green one.

    • Me too!

  • I’m in the Design Element camp. And it’s not just because the re-knitting, grafting and kitchener strike fear in my heart, but because I think it looks good. Asymmetry is a good thing.

  • I love combining non matching clothing so I really like the different sleeves and will do a mismatch when I bang out my Hadley next month. Sadly, I have some deadline knitting this month

  • I love the fraternal sleeves! Keep it!

  • I vote to leave it. I like it as a design element. If it’s driving you crazy, though, I would re-knit the sleeve. It’s a smooth enjoyable ride after you pass the colorwork, which you have to do anyway. I can Kitchener, but I would rather Stockinette.

  • I would totally leave it. Imperfection is wonderful!

  • I am a “hardly ever go back and fix” knitter. I think it looks fine. As long as you aren’t trying to win a ribbon at the State Fair, I’d leave it.

  • I’m in the leave it camp. The pix remind me of dogs or cats with one blue eye and one yellow eye. Unique. Distinct. And lovely.

    • David Bowie had two different colored eyes, just sayin.

      • Oh yes – it can be a tribute sweater in a subtle way.

      • So does actress Jane Seymour (“Live and Let Die,” “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”).

  • Another vote here for duplicate stitch.

  • If you do reknit the piece, I’d love to see a photo of how you attach it.

  • I’m going to be bratty, and suggest a solution that has not been mentioned yet. Cut off both cuffs, and change the sleeves to short sleeves. No colorwork needed. (Sorry, Veronik.)

  • Brilliant. It takes a village…

  • If I had done this I’d go straight for the easiest solution, I’d randomly duplicate stitch a bit of blue over the green, and a bit of green over the blue. Matching but not identical. Voila!!

  • You know, I am not one to let a mistake go uncorrected. I have gone to great lengths to fix and change projects. But, I’m not sure I would change this one. I think there is a charm in it that, if done by a designer, you’d call “clever”. Course, I am not seeing it IRL, so maybe it doesn’t quite come off that way. Just sayin that sometimes a mistake is the beginning of thinking outside the box. XOC

  • You know, I kind of like it without the green!

  • There are some low-tech artsy-fartsy tools to help – felt tip markers for coloring fiber. This may sound like cheating, but you did knit it once. Could also be tricky as heck, never tried it. Like how it is in blue 😉

  • The suggestions and comments are fantastic! I would probably leave as is or reknit the entire sleeve, because the just idea of cutting and grafting leaves me schvitzing like I’m on the edge of a cliff at the Grand Canyon.

    We’re all knitters and makers who appreciate the wisdom and uniqueness of the thing left as is. If you do that, I suggest always wearing one blue sock and one green so that the non-knitworthy, non-makers who notice don’t think it came from a seconds table. You can tell them it’s a trending design element.

  • Karin’s idea is fantastic but I save a little more time if you wanted identical instead of fraternal sleeves. “Divorce” the sleeve fabric above the color-work (I’ve done this to shorten Icelandic sweaters I’ve knit before – the glorious thing is that there’s usually some memory in the yarn you take out so that when you graft it back the loops fall right into place.) Then ravel (or unravel – I never know which it is) just from where you cut the fabric til you get to the gold/cream section and knit the sleeve back up from there – that way you’ve saved the ribbing and first color work bit and only had to take out I’m guessing 15 rows!

    • I’d thought about saving the ribbing too! It’s great there are options!

  • Or it could be varigated yarn that didn’t have any green in it at that point!!!!

  • You are most welcome!!! I’d stared at your sleeves for a couple days and suddenly it hit me. This woman knows knitting! She knows how to dissect and graft knitting! She’ll understand what I’m saying! Hooray! And the solution became obvious.
    Whew. Onward.

  • I think it’s a great conversation piece and I would leave it. You can make bets with a friend on how many people actually notice it!

  • Kay, I’m kind of glad you can just carry on and then decide later. And if I was a betting knitter, I’d bet you’re going to decide to keep it the way it is. It looks nifty, and besides, you’re going to have a little time to get attached to it 🙂

  • I actually love the blue over the green! Lovely work!

  • And then take that cut-off cuff and finish it off: voila! A baby hat. (Been there finished that that way.)

  • This post made me feel so much better about the fact that I need to frog *again* a really simple scarf that looks like a shawlette – you know the popular crescent shape, with horizontal cables. It’s a small project (altho I’ve enlarged the outcome by usung the rustic-ish Eco Wool instead of a merino DK. I love that the yarn swap has done exactly what I wanted).

    Anywho, I think I was 2/3 through when I noticed a cable mishap. But I continued knitting based on the galloping horse theory (that was my mother’s MO), but the since it’s such a small project it just got to me and so worried since the mishap was at the end of the row I might notice it often even if no one else ever saw it. So I frogged down to the problem. But after re knitting the next row twice using 2 different chart rows and having neither work, I needed to frog another few rows to reach the start of the cabling. And once I was frogging, I went all the way because of a selvedge change I made on row 6.

    Anyhow nearing the end of the first cable row it was clear I’d screwed up big time somewhere because the stitch count was widely off, it would be quite clear from a galloping horse.

    Mostly I just felt stupid and confused. How could I need to re start this easy pattern 4 times!?

    So, thank you for your perfectly-timed post. I am no where near as good a knitter as you. And I never ever think any error you confess is based on a lack of intellect. So, perhaps, just maybe, mine wasn’t either? Besides even if *my*!mishaps were pure idiotacy who cares, cuz, like you, I also enjoy knitting, and on a small simple project like this one it’s not so demoralizing to start over 4 f’in times.

  • I have done this in a class on a swatch, have not yet tried it on a sleeve. Basic idea is to duplicate stitch the new color in, and then remove the stitches of the errant color.

    Probably practice on a swatch first. Use the desired color to duplicate stitch over the errant color, matching the floats as well as the stitches. Leave a generous tail on the desired color. Your final step will be to weave that in. While stitching, take care not to split any of the yarn in the swatch, especially in the floats. New yarn in place, remove the errant yarn. I had good results using the tip of a blunt curved-tip darning needle for the removing, and also for the neatening up. I picked out the errant yarn a half stitch at a time. Every few stitches, I neatened up the tension on the replacement yarn, and shortened the tail on the yarn I was removing. Blunt tipped scissors, and never cutting close to the surface of the knitted fabric.

    On the sleeve, I would probably execute this one row at a time, or even a half row at a time.

    Disadvantage, the color you remove gets cut up into short pieces. Advantage, less opportunity to make an additional color error. Also, less chance of introducing a tension change.

    As always, speak calmly to the yarn before you start in. Pet it, tell it about the good days to come. Then, one more time, double check that it is the right color of the right yarn. Three deep cleansing breaths, and off you go.

  • I love Karin–she’s a wonderful dyer–and super-smart knitter, obviously! I was going to suggest duplicate stitching, then undoing the old color from under your duplicate stitches, if that makes sense. But I think Karin’s suggestion is much cleaner.

  • Sorry, trotting horse rule?

    • Can the error be spotted by someone astride a horse trotting by? No? Then leave it! 😉

  • This is stressing me out a little because I think I might like the color work better without the green…I’m knitting at a snail’s pace because of frozen shoulder. I have some time before I need to decide whether to abandon the green!

  • Kay – A suggestion that I have not seen here yet is to pick up the row of stitches just above where the ‘alternate design feature’ ends, cut the yarn (I know, it takes a bit of courage), unravel that row of stitches so that you have a new ‘live’ edge to knit from, then knit down to finish the sleeve in the correct pattern. You will have to adjust to figure the color pattern from top to bottom as you are knitting the ‘wrong’ direction – down toward the cuff instead of up from the cuff, but it’s pretty easy. And, no grafting – yeah! I added about 3 inches to the bottom of my way way too short Stopover like this with excellent results.

    Eunny Jang has a detailed video expaining the technique that I have used a few times as a refresher. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxa1qDFRBN4

    Best of luck!
    Amy B in NC

    • Absolutely – this is the way to go. Although you are half a stitch off as you knit down and reverse the shapings if any, upside down knitting is indistinguishable from bottom up. I’ve done this many times to correct a fluting hem line or to shorten a sweater which has sagged.

  • I am sure no one else will know its an error. The beauty of fair isle are the different colors. The Amish deliberately make an error intheir needlework, because only God is perfect. Let it go!

  • Karin’s suggestion is indeed brilliant, except for this: “the time needed to get my Kitchener on to do the graft”. In my knitting universe, the time needed to get my Kitchener is reliably at least 6-9 months, if not well over a year.

  • “All I want to do is cram this problem in a plastic bag and cast on something new.”
    Truer words were never spoken.

  • I love knitting socks – and since I have two different feet, it has never occurred to me to knit two socks that are exactly alike! I just wear different socks on the different feet – same essential colors and yarns, but different stripes and patterns. And you have two arms – why not just embrace that fact and have two sleeves that are related but different! I say barge ahead to the next step! Claire