Socks vs sleeves

They are both knit in the round. They both are knit in plain stocking stitch and they both take quite a while to complete. Yet why do socks practically fly off the needles and sleeves take a small eternity? Its the perennial question and I'm sure that I can't be the only knitter that thinks so.

The answer must be in the colours - more specifically in the stripes which cheer you on. Shouting encouragement and brining about the well known 'one more round syndrome'.

Sleeves generally have the disadvantage of being relatively plain - although a fun stripy sweater has long been on my to-do list. In addition if you are starting at the cuff and working up they have the extra disadvantage of growing in circumference as you increase the stitch count.

I have found a few tips that do help me with my sleeve nemesis though and I thought I would share them in case you find them helpful too.

1. Use a small circumference circular needle, even if it means you need to invest in a couple of different cable lengths. For example I started my DK grey sweater sleeve on a 4mm 30cm Addi turbo needle and then moved the stitches onto a 60cm needle as the stitch count grew. Being able to whizz round and round and get into the knitting groove really helps to get odd rounds done here and there.

2. Use some jazzy stitch markers to liven things up. It won't speed the knitting up but it will make it prettier.

3. To save having to stop and count stitches use a clip on marker or bulb pin to mark each increase. Far easier to count a row of markers than to count stitches again and again, each time hoping that you have reached the magic number.

4. Use sleeves as a portable travel project and work them whilst out and about, while your sweater body lives at home. This idea came from the renowned Elizabeth Zimmerman and as with most of her advice, is an excellent tip. Nothing worse than slogging your way through the body of a sweater only to find that the sleeves are yet to happen. Much better to be able to crack on and join them up whilst the motivation is strong and crack on with the yoke.

Right, enough procrastinating for me. One sleeve is almost done so I'm going to get the other one underway to be this week's travel knitting.