As I’d decided, I stopped knitting the body of the cardigan when it reached a respectable length, and moved on to the sleeves. My sister, in between trying on the in-progress piece again and again, said sometime that the body actually feels long enough to her. Or maybe she said it because she got tired of hearing “Here, try this on, and let me look and decide about various measurements some more…”
I’d originally thought the sleeves would be regular stockinette stitches, but somewhere along the knitting process, I’d started to imagine them ending with the same eyelet pattern near the cuffs. Just a few repeats, no more, but patterned cuffs nonetheless. So that’s what I did, and I’m not disappointed. Now, one sleeve’s done (they’re 3/4 sleeves), and it’s time to think of a border that will look good. I tried out a border in my head and discarded it, and my sister didn’t like another border that I tried for real, but I’m sure I’ll think of something eventually.
While I think of finishing touches, I should mention here an important tip that I picked up after my first top-down cardigan turned out too hole-y at the underarms. The bane of top-down sweaters is a hole or two that usually tends to occur when one picks up stitches at the underarms. This is because the stitches in the column right beside the underarm get stretched way too much. You can see for yourself in a mirror when you lift up your arms sideways — it’s that point in your shirt near the underarm that gets pulled in all directions (literally.)
The trick to avoid the holes, or at least reduce them in my case, is to pick up extra stitches near the ends of the underarm pick-up stitches. If required, pick up more stitches near the ends of the sleeve stitches too. And twist these extra stitches while picking them up. (That is, make the left arm of the stitch lie at the front of the needle.) Very important. Not twisting will create more unsightly holes. Depending on how stretched the stitches are, you may need to pick up 2 or more stitches. Then, to reduce the stitch count back to the expected one, decrement as required. For example, k2tog for right-leaning decrease, or ssk for left-leaning one. If holes still remain, they might need to be sewed up in the end.
Now that this handy tip is out of the way… One more sleeve to go, and then the edgings, and the cardigan will be ready! Exciting times ahead… 🙂