Two sleeves at a time

My least favorite part of knitting a sweater is the sleeves. They are somehow monotone, and dealing with the magic loop again and again slows down my knitting. Also, like when knitting socks, it takes me ages to start and complete the second item (called SSK – second sock syndrome), and I’m always worried about my tension. Some time ago I used to knit my sleeves with tighter tension than the rest of the sweater. Luckily I’ve learned to correct this, but still, I have to make an effort while doing it, so knitting two at a time is the answer for me to all these troubles. I do it on bottom-up sweaters (the kind where you knit your sleeves separately and then join to the main body) but also when knitting top-down. A sweater at that point ceases to be very portable, so this is not a big sacrifice for me.

This is Marion, one of Andi Satterlund‘s cardigans. I’ve knit the complete cardigan and left the sleeves for the end. I knit separately each sleeve cap and one or two extra rows and then I placed both sleeve stitches on a circular needle. At this point each sleeve is knitted from a separate ball of yarn, but the biggest was winded leaving the center end outside just in case the small one runs out. You can also start a new ball but I prefer to finish the ones I started instead of having a zillion half skeins. I start knitting from two separate balls because it’s more convenient for me, but you could have a different preference. With two balls it’s really easy to avoid your yarn from being tangled. I always mark the beginning of the round (double round) with a marker to know where I am, and that also helps because you have to keep in mind how to turn your knitting when doing this. Usually, when knitting in the round, our knitting turns counter clockwise. If you keep doing that here you will have a problem. The secret is turning counter clockwise after half a round and then clockwise after the other half. Like that your yarn will always be tangle-free.

And you, how do you knit your sleeves?


  1. This is my preferred way of knitting sleeves. It takes some fiddling, but your only bored once, instead of twice. Your sweater will be so bright and spring-like in this blue. I’m anxious to see it.

    1. Yes, it still takes me time but I wouldn’t go back to knitting one at a time. I’m already working on the cuffs of this one. Let’s see if sewing buttons doesn’t take me another month 😉

    1. Hey, Katie, so nice seeing you here. I hope everything is well with you and your family. I’ll try to find some time this weekend to make a video 😉

  2. I’ve only made two sweaters so far. The first one was top-down in the round and I was doing a newbie knitalong, so I just followed the directions as given. For the last sweater I made (bottom up), I did them two at a time, and loved that! It took forever to knit the sleeves, it seemed, but I was thrilled to get to the point of attaching them to the cardigan and feel like I had a lot done all at once! Hopefully next time, I’ll be able to figure out how to get the visible line where each half ended on my needles out of the sweater…since I can’t work with wool, blocking doesn’t always even things out as well for me.

Comments are closed.