You’ll find that many sweater patterns are knit in pieces from the bottom up. Most of these patterns instruct you to start knitting the body first and then move onto the sleeves.
Recently when I cast on for the Playful Stripes Sweater, it wasn’t until I was nearly done with the body that I wished I had started knitting the sleeves first. I was straying from the pattern and trying a different cast on method. It would have been easier to test the cast on with only 38 sleeve stitches compared to the 144 body stitches.
There are a few reasons you might want to start with a smaller number of stitches on a sleeve before knitting the body.
- Trying out a new stitch pattern or technique
- Testing color combinations in your multi-color project
- Straying from the instructions in the pattern and not sure you’ll like the changes
- Hate swatching so a sleeve essentially becomes your swatch so you know if you’re using the right needle size.
If I was going to start my sweater over, I probably would have done something a little differently on the cuffs and hem. It wasn’t until I was too far into the body that I realized I wanted something different. But I felt I was too far along to make it worth ripping out and starting over. But if I had started with a sleeve first…I wouldn’t have hesitated to start over and get the cuff/hem I really wanted. Live and learn.
Are you a strict pattern follower? Or do like to use a pattern as your guide and change things up a bit?