Double the Fun KAL: Guildenstern Sleeves and Blocking

Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh! Can you believe we’re about to finish our lovely little summer shirt? I have had so much fun knitting up this cute little Guildenstern top; I hope you have, too! So, let’s get down to it so we can start wearing it and showing off to the Muggles!

Side Seams? Who needs ‘em!?

If you’re reading through the pattern and notice that I haven’t said anything to date about the Side Seams section, it’s because we won’t need to work them! Since we worked the Body of the sweater in the round until we divided for the armholes, that section is negated. So, yay! We get to move right on to the Sleeve Edging section!

 WOO! THE SIDE SEAMS ARE ALREADY DONE!

WOO! THE SIDE SEAMS ARE ALREADY DONE!

 

Sleeve Edging - Pick It Up!

We’re going to continue using our smaller needles to knit our armhole / sleeve edging. Stitches are generally wider than they are tall so we do 2 things to compensate:

  1. we use a smaller needle than that used to knit the overall garment, AND,
  2. we pick up fewer stitches than there are rows to avoid puckering!

Since our stitches are so tiny, I’m going to route you over to a fabulous blog post that Heather wrote a little while ago when she hosted a Carbeth knit along. She used a nice bulky weight yarn so you’ll be able to see her stitches very clearly!

While we aren’t picking up for a front of sweater button band, the exact same principles apply: we want to pick up stitches with the RS of our work facing us so that the pick-up seam ends up on the inside of the sweater, and we want to pick up at a ratio of 3 sts to 4 rows of knitting. Our exact number of stitches doesn’t matter since we aren’t working in a ribbed pattern, we just want to be sure that the number is the same between the two sleeves. Be sure to count the number you pick up when you work the first sleeve so that the second sleeve matches!

VISIT HEATHER’S BLOG POST BY CLICKING HERE!

 

Finishing the Sleeves

Once you have all of your lovely little stitches picked up for the sleeve, whether you use Magic Loop or DPNs (or heck, even 2 circulars, however you prefer to work small circumference knitting) it’s smooth sailing to the end. Just two quick rows of garter before binding off purlwise.

 sleeve stitches picked up at a 3 stitches to 4 rows ratio, using the Magic Loop technique

sleeve stitches picked up at a 3 stitches to 4 rows ratio, using the Magic Loop technique

Tip Time!

When binding off, I recommend going up a needle size or two unless you know you have a loose-ish bind off tension. If you work the bind off too tightly you could get some minor puckering, so stay loose on this one!

When the sleeves are all done, take the time to weave in your ends! I find it useful to weave everything in but not trimming the tails. If there’s any stretching that goes on during the blocking garment, you don’t want a trimmed tail coming loose which could mean you end up with tiny ends poking out everywhere.

 

Blocking Your Guildenstern

So, how many of you tried on your Guildenstern like 8 times before you even blocked it? No? No one? Just me… ok….

As  I was admiring my handiwork, I noticed that the armholes definitely tried to roll inwards despite the sleeve edging. That’s the nature of stockinette, baby! It’s gonna curl. Which is why blocking this out is so important!

Once again, I get to refer you to a blog post that Heather wrote about the steps needed to block a garment. It’s a great visual step by step to get you going if you’re new to blocking.

VISIT HEATHER’S FABULOUS BLOG POST ON BLOCKING!

What I will add to Heather’s post is specific to the Guildenstern. I’m not a big fan of pinning out sweaters when they block, as you’ll note that Heather didn’t with her sweater either. BUT! Since so much of this Guildenstern garment relies on straight lines, I decided to buckle down and block out my edges to they’d be nice and crisp.

Why don’t I like to pin?

Well, because the first time you block a sweater is the way in which you should wash/block it on all future cleanings/dryings. So, the least amount of work I have to do with a garment on subsequent washings the better.

But I reiterate, with the Guildenstern, it’s totally worth it to have clean, crisp edges to my sleeves, neckline and bottom hems.

 

What to pin, what not to pin, that is the question!

As I might have said ad nauseam above, I don’t like to pin garments. But when I do, I’m particular. I don’t want to pin more than I have to so I focus on what’s important. For this garment it’s the sleeves, hems and neckline. Here’s how I went about it after completing the soaking and rolling aspects of the blocking process from Heather’s blog post.

BLOCKING OUTSIDE IN THE SUMMER HEAT WILL HELP THIS DRY FAST!

Step 1: I used a blocking wire and placed it along the neckline/sleeves inside the garment so I had a nice straight edge to work with.

Step 2: Using T-pins, I pinned the neckline (both the Front and Back layers) just below the blocking wire so that they’re all pinned to the same height. I highly recommend using a pin every ½ to 1 inch so you don’t get scalloped edges.

Step 3: I used blocking combs (thought you could totally use T-pins if you don’t have combs) to pin out the edges of the sleeves. I used my ruler to measure out the width of the garment as per the schematic on page 2 of the pattern.

 Step 4: I used blocking combs again (and some T-pins since I ran out of combs) to pin out the two bottom hems). In this instance, I recommend pinning out the Back hem first and then the Front so you don’t pull any stitches.

I didn’t bother pinning out the sides. I could have, I suppose, used some blocking wires run vertically up the side seams but it didn’t seem worth the effort.

 

Rock Your Guildenstern

That’s it, folks! Once this baby dries (and mine did in less than 3 hours because it was 95 degrees in my yard) you just have to trim the ends from your woven-in ends and start showing off your handy-work. 

 

Share your Guildenstern!

We would love to see your finished garments! Heather and Meaghan are still here to answer any questions you might have about finishing up the Guildenstern shirt.

When you’re done, be sure to share yours online on Instagram with the hashtags #DoubleTheFunKAL and #EweEweKAL. Follow @eweeweyarns and @notsorryknitter on Instagram now! 

Email us if you have any questions! (We're just a click away.)