Last night I did get the sleeves separated! A reader, who is not a knitter, asked about the process of separating the sleeves. I will take more pictures and I think you’ll be able to see it better after I’ve knitted a bit more but here’s what it looked like last night when I stopped knitting for the night.
There are several ways to knit sweaters. Let’s just talk about pullovers today. They can be knit from the top down (which is what I usually do), from the bottom up, where you knit til you get to the area where the sleeves would be and then follow the pattern to knit the sleeves, or there are patterns where you knit the front, knit the back, then knit the sleeves. You would end up with the four separate pieces to sew together when you’re finished.
I mostly knit sweaters in the round, top down, which is what I’m doing with this green one.
When you start knitting a sweater in the round, you’re knitting in a circle – the front, then the left sleeve, then the back and then the right sleeve . . then you’re back to the front again. As you’re knitting down from the neck, you’re adding stitches to make the front and back wider, and adding stitches to make the sleeves bigger to go from the shoulder to your upper arm.
You can see the line where stitches were added and it makes a “seam” of sorts. Once you’ve knitted a few rows below your underarm, you have to separate the sleeves or you’d end up with a poncho – something without real sleeves.
To separate the sleeves, waste yarn is threaded onto a larger darning needle, the stitches from the knitting needle are slipped onto the darning needle and the waste yarn is pulled through and a knot is made to keep the stitches from slipping off.
Next, a prescribed number of stitches are cast on to create the “under the arm” area and I’ll continue knitting in the round, but only the front and back — no sleeves.
After I’ve finished the main part of the body, I’ll go back to one sleeve, slip my knitting needle through the stitches on the waste yarn, pull the waste yarn out and continue knitting my sleeves. Make sense?