I was immediately unthrilled by the prospect of knitting two long, narrow tubes, aka the sleeves. I have to really buckle down and not get distracted by casting on a new, shiny, and perhaps more summer-y project. (See below.)
These sleeves are living on borrowed time. I have to get them done now or risk not getting them done until it’s cold again. It will be so nice in September to have a completely finished, brand-new sweater on the shelf.
C’mon, will power! Finish the sweater!
The Trouble with Sleeves
There are no perfect solutions to knitting small circumferences in the round. For me, anyway, it’s a pick-your-poison situation. I have been known to knit them flat and seam them, and I think that’s a perfectly good answer. But I also appreciate the elegance of a sweater with zero seams, so I want to knit these sleeves in the round.
The tried-and-true, traditional way of knitting a small circumference in the round is double-pointed needles. I get along OK with DPNs, but I don’t love them. I have never been able to overcome the tendency to pull out the wrong needle, and they don’t travel very well. I’m either anxious about losing one somewhere in the seat of a plane, train, or automobile, or actually losing one in the seat of a train, plane, or automobile.
The alternatives that I know—Cat Bordhi’s two-circulars method and the Magic Loop—are clever and secure, but they both require frequent interruption of knitting to readjust the stitches on the needles. I know that you can get into a rhythm with these methods, but I’ve never been completely convinced. Maybe I just don’t do it often enough. Maybe I’m a weenie.
What if you could combine the 2-circs method (in which the stitches are divided between just two needles) and DPNs?
That’s the solution proposed by the good folks at Addi, with their FlexiFlips. Just three needles (shown lying on the sweater above): two to hold the stitches, and the third to knit with. You go round and round, with minimal interruption, as you do with DPNs. The “flexi” aspect is that the needles bend in the middle, which makes them hold the stitches in a round the way DPNs do, and makes it physically possible to knit in the round on just two needles. They’re very, very short circular needles.
Right now I’m on the first sleeve, and there are still enough stitches that I can hold them all on a short circular, but the stitch count is decreasing fast. I’ve test-driven the FlexiFlips briefly before, and I’m optimistic, but these two sleeves are going to be my Product Testing.
Readers, have you tried these needles? What do you think of them? Should we carry them in the MDK Shop? Does the functionality make it worth acquiring another type of tool? Answers on a postcard, please (in the comments).
The Carrot at the End of the Stick
Here’s my incentive to race to the bottom of these sleeves: Hatdana, a new pattern by Denise Bayron.
When Hatdana first came out earlier this month, it was all I could do not to cast on immediately. I’m not much for headwear, but I’m excited for Hatdana as a summer cowl, in linen or cashmere.
And then, to make it all the more alluring, Denise recently updated the pattern to add a fingering-weight option.
So here’s my weekend plan: knit those sleeves. I promise! I’ll knit them on a flight to Nashville this morning, and then on a drive to Florence, Alabama, this afternoon, and then every chance I get while in Florence.
In my knitting bag, whispering to me like a small child wanting another cup of Sprite, will be the Hatdana pattern and a skein of Sylph in Maidenhair. Linen and cashmere, light as a breeze. I hope I’ll be knitting it on the flight home, with a finished Bottom Line pullover packed away in my carryon.
Wish me luck!
Don’t forget to share your FlexiFlips opinions below.