Set-in sleeves, from the top

Jul 15, 2015 :: by Jerusha Robinson

We couldn't be more pleased to send Elizabeth Doherty's new book, Top Down: Reimagining Set-in Sleeve Design, out into the world and into your hands. Though I myself love sweater constructions of all types, I am a huge fan of both the fit and stability of a set-in sleeve, as well as the ability to try things on as I'm knitting.

Enter this very useful technical guide (I know you just got really excited) to achieving a seamless, set-in sleeve garment worked from the top down, that you can try on while in progress, and that will give you the tools and know-how to make it fit just the way you want it to.

In the time that we've worked on this book, I've become intimately familiar with Elizabeth Doherty's take on using short rows to follow the slope of the shoulder and shape a sleeve cap, the effect that the shape of an armhole opening can have on a sweater and how the sleeve interacts with it, and key elements of fit. Her background in sewing, and knowledge of the intricacies of fit, really shine through in this offering.

In addition to breaking down the concepts of sweater adjustment and fit, Elizabeth also touches on some essential basics of knitting: the importance of gauge, swatching, and getting to know your fabric. She also shows you how to adjust your sweater pattern to your own gauge if it's just a little off from the gauge statement, but the fabric in the swatch is one that you like.

Then, of course, there are the six very-tempting-and-oh-so-ready-to-knit sweater patterns included in the book. If you love this idea but are not ready to break out the heavy-duty math just yet, you can dive into one of these beauties: Clarendon, an oversized live-in pullover (that still fits well in the shoulders); Copperplate, a smart open-front cardigan with a pretty traveling rib motif in the front bands; Serif and Sans Serif, sister buttoned cardigans, that show how one sweater can look dramatically different with changing just a few details; Meris, Elizabeth's first-ever published cardigan, re-worked and revised, that features pretty lace details on the fronts, the back, and the slightly flared sleeves; and Underwood, a pullover with gansey-inspired details and a flattering square neckline.

This book gives the perfect opportunity for beginners and experienced knitters alike to grow their skills, and also to just have fun knitting sweaters that fit well. If I had you at "top down set-in sleeve", I'm happy to say that we at Quince are partnering up with Elizabeth for some knit-along fun this summer. Starting on Monday, July 20th, Elizabeth will be hosting a swatch-along in her Ravelry group, Blue Bee Knits. During this time you can test the process for yourself, doing measurements, testing for gauge, and if necessary, adjusting for gauge in the pattern you'd like to try (only patterns from the book please!), all with Elizabeth's expert guidance and along with other knitters (and there will be a prize for one lucky winner)! Then beginning on Thursday, August 6th, head on over to the Quince & Co Ravelry group for the Top Down KAL, where you can knit your sweater and maybe win a prize if you finish it and post a photo by Thursday, October 1st!

Related posts in: Book | Chickadee | Collection | Designers | Elizabeth doherty | Finch | Lark | Osprey | Short rows | Sweater | Tutorial
Back to article grid