Geometry is not my friend

I think it’s time to frog my brain. For this toddler western shirt that I’m designing, I’m trying to do top-down, set-in sleeves done with short rows. Why? I don’t know. It must be my inner masochist talking.

I found a good tutorial online (which of course I cannot now find again), and merrily got to work.

Attempt #1: Blithely smoked my way down to the cuff. Found that in the cotton blend I’m using (Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece), the short row wraps + decreases look really gappy and strange. Decided to ignore this basic flaw. Got all the nice piping and button placket detailing done. Realized that I had misread the directions about how many decreases to do at the top of the sleeve. Blast.

Attempt #2: Did the correct number of decreases. Still had the gapping problem. Also noticing that the underarm looks like it has too many stitches. Double blast.

Attempt #3: Cast on fewer stitches under the arm (only 2 sts for every 3). It’s looking better, but I haven’t determined a solution for the gap problem. I want this pattern to be accessible to an intermediate knitter, so I need a reasonably simple solution.

Part of my problem is just seeing the geometry of the situation. I’m used to doing set-in sleeves as separate pieces and from the bottom up, so I know what needs to happen to make it the right shape. But I can’t seem to wrap my head around the spatial flip of doing it top-down and in the round and attached to the body all at the same time.

Perhaps it’s time to break down and buy the Maggie Righetti book? (OMG, did you know that you can preview the book on Google Books? Google Books rocks my world.) Montse Stanley, wonderful as she is, does not say boo about top-down, set-in sleeves.

Your intrepid fledgling designer soldiers on. I will leave you with this one riposte: I am not the proverbial knitter who is afraid of all math. I am chums with algebra. I have calculus over for tea. But geometry? It is my sworn enemy.