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January 03, 2005

Ask Nona

Dear nona,

I've finished the back and front of my sweater, but am stuck on the sleeves.  Can you please decipher the sleeve directions for me:

..change to 4mm needles and cont. in stocking st inc 1 st at each end of needle on next and following 4th rows to 77 sts, then every foll 6th row to 97 sts.

Sleeveless in Rockville

Dear Sleeveless,

Knitting directions can be so daunting.  They are often written tersely -- in knitting "code" -- and assume a lot of background information.  Let's see if we can walk through your sleeve directions.

  1. First, you'll need to change to your 4 mm needles.  The easiest way to do this is to knit (or purl) the next row using the new needles.  Don't worry about working any increases on this transition row.

  2. Typically, sleeve increases are worked on right side (RS) rows -- on the knit side of stockinette stitch.  Once you've changed your needles, you'll work your first increase row on the next RS row.

  3. On the next RS (knit) row, you'll increase one stitch at the beginning of the row and another stitch at the end of the row.  This is what they mean by "each end of needle".  To keep your edges smooth, do not increase in the first and last stitches of the row, instead increase in the second and second-to-last stitches of the row. Your increase row will go like this: k1, increase 1, knit to last 2 stitches, increase 1, k1.

  4. Next, how the heck do you increase 1 stitch.  Well, there are many ways to do this.  Here is my favorite:

    • Before knitting the next stitch on your left needle -- using the right needle and coming from the back, pick up the loop of the "parent" stitch and place it on the left needle.  The "parent" stitch is the loop right below the stitch sitting on the left needle. 
    • Knit the picked up parent stitch
    • Knit the next stitch
  5. Finally, "following 4th rows" means you'll work one increase row followed by 3 "plain" rows, then one increase row followed by 3 "plain" rows, etc until you have 77 sts.  Once you have 77 sts, you'll work one increase row followed by 5 "plain" rows -- "every foll 6th row" -- until you have 97 sts.

Well Sleeveless, I hope this helps you decipher your pattern directions.  If not, you know how to reach me. 

Anyone else have a question for nona?

January 3, 2005 in Ask nona, Deciphering Patterns | Permalink


Nona, you are the BEST! I would have written sooner but for computer problems! Anyway, I will attack the sleeves this weekend and let you know how it goes. Many thanks for your help (again!) With any luck my next question will be about sewing the pieces together!
Sleepless in Rockville

Posted by: sleeveless in Rockville | Jan 5, 2005 7:52:30 PM

Thank you so much. This is the best description I have seen explaining increases on sleeves. I have been fighting with this exact problem for weeks now. I am so glad I finally did a web search and found you. It has made my day.

Posted by: Brookes | Feb 28, 2005 8:58:54 AM

I am new to knitting (less than 1 year). You helped me so much with the short rows (Aug 5th comment). How do you do garter stitch when knitting in the round?
Your devoted follower,
Sue from New Jersey

Posted by: Sue | Aug 24, 2005 8:13:50 AM

Oh, Nona! If only I had found this post 14" ago!!! I have learned a mighty valuable lesson though... when in doubt, check it out (on the internet!).

Thanks so much for sharing all of your wisdom.

A new admirer,
Brianne from Missouri

Posted by: Brianne | Nov 12, 2005 10:13:48 PM

Dear Nona,

I am trying to work on that beautiful spiral madness pattern that you have posted on this site. The problem is that I am having problems doing it! I'm especially stuck on the "BYO" abbreviation and row 18. Am I suppose to have extra sts when I BYO in order to k2tog 8 times and end with k1? I'm using straight needles and I still don't see the results. What am I doing wrong?


Posted by: Krystal | Feb 20, 2006 11:23:40 AM

hi nona, I have a question about japanese short rows for heels. I have been practicing doing f shot rows (wrapped) for my very first sock, and have gotten some holes. I haven't yet tried yarn-over rows. I've been looking at several books (by montse stanley, megan swanson). I've seen several blogs with pictures, of extremely nice looking 'japanese short row heels.' (not purl/knit encroachment, or sherman heels) and wonder, how does one 'long row' back up, a short row heel? at what point in your instructions, does one 'turn' and go back up, after filling in each gap?
how would i adapt your directions for a heel, specifically the 'long row' back up?
thanks so much,

Posted by: tina c | Jun 3, 2006 10:02:12 AM

i love short rows! i just made a yamulke using them to shape and it turned out really well! i also got expierience using them in the round. i have never knit socks but i would just do the short rows and then knit one round to even everything out. but nona knows better than me the bumbling 13-year-old

Posted by: calla | Jun 7, 2006 6:03:50 PM

Greetings Nona, I simply love all
your footlets. Would you be so kind as to
assist me with this problem>How long should
I make the footlet before I start working
the heel? Shoul I just knit in the round
until "it" get near my instep?

[email protected]

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