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raglan sleeves on a knitting machine

chopchop | Posted in Knitting and Crochet on

I’m hoping someone will have an answer to this dilemma. I made a raglan sleeve sweater on my fine guage knitting machine using a three prong cast off and I can’t believe how tight the edge is. It will make the armhole way too tight. Does anyone have a solution?


  1. katina | | #1

    Hi there!

    By 3 prong cast off, do you mean you worked the raglan decreases with the 3 eyelet tool?


    1. chopchop | | #2

      Yes, I used a three prong tool and cast off every other row.

      1. katina | | #3

        Did you decrease one stitch at each edge, every other row?  Could you have been decreasing 2 sts at each edge, every other row?  If so, that would explain why the raglan shaping is so tight.


        1. chopchop | | #4

          Katina, I think I found the problem.... I cast off using a 4prong tool every row for 38 rows and every other row for 23. I guess that's just not going to work. What else might I do if I need that slope??

          1. katina | | #5

            Hi again

            If I'm understanding you correctly, you've decreased the required number of stitches too quickly, which is why the raglan seams (armholes) are too short, and therefore tight.  If you are following a pattern and working the decreases as instructed, are you achieving the same gauge (tension) as the pattern states? The row gauge is important here.  If your gauge differs from the pattern, you will need to do some simple maths.  I'll wait to hear back from you and then we'll see what we can do to fix it.

          2. chopchop | | #6

            Katina, it took me a while. I drafted the shape of the armhole and sleeve as the tension indicated and low and behold I messed up bigtime - the armhole and sleeve head are 2+ inches too short. No wonder it looks tight.......

            Thank you so much for your help. Now to rewrite my pattern.

          3. katina | | #7

            I certainly wouldn't call it messing up - it's a great learning experience.  I could write a book on all my messes!

            Good luck - Katina

  2. user-14350 | | #8

    Hi. I would say that a 3 stitch pronged tool is not wide enough for a fine guauge decrease on a raglan. The nearer the edge your crossover stitches, the tighter the edge will be. You need to be doing at least a 6 stitch tool decrease and cross over two stitches every 4th row instead of one stitch every other row. If you don't have a multi stitch tool you can use the 3 tool twice! Personally, I would use a 5 stitch tool, never a 3 stitch even for what we in England call a '4 ply', which is the usual yarn knit on a standard gauge machine, otherwise it is invariably tight. You can improve the situation also by hanging claw weights on the edges and moving them up every four rows or so.

    I have been machine knitting for 50 years (since the very first domestic knitting machine) and taught it for 10. In England the art has gone through peaks and troughs in that time but has never been so in the doldrums as in the last few years. Is it still very much alive and kicking in America?

    1. chopchop | | #9

      Thank you Ann. I will try that for sure. I use machine knitting constantly to round out the clothing I can make for my clients. I'm not an expert by a long shot, but I love playing around with it.
      Machine knitting is on the wane here. I bought my first machine in 1980 and since then have found few fellow addicts! Less now.
      Thankfully, hand knitting seems to be on the rise.
      What is the origin of your name "pin tuck"?
      I am writing an article on pin tucks and can't find an historical reference to origin?

      1. user-14350 | | #10

        Glad to be of help. What a co-incidence re my name as I just plucked it out of my head because I am a dressmaker also! Can't believe you are writing an article re pin tucks when this is the first time I have joined the discussions. I studied the history of fashion many years ago but can't recall the origin of this technique. Will try to investigate and let you know. The last remaining Machine Knitting magazine over here has an article this month about its 25 years of publication. I believe I still have copies of the earliest editions of Knitmaster Modern Knitting which came out in about 1956. Really nice to know that you are doing your bit in keeping this art going. How did you come by the name of chopchop?Regards

        1. chopchop | | #11

          I've never seen the Knitmaster magazine. I feel like I live on another planet!!
          Chop chop was my nickname when I was a cutter for another designer that would have been about thirty years ago!!

          1. user-14350 | | #12

            I'm fascinated to hear that you have been involved in the fashion industry for so long and are now presumably earning a living designing and making for other people. Apart from 18 months as a designer/manufacturer of knitwear and my teaching career I have unfortunately taken the mundane and safer secretarial route. However, I would love this year to work doing what I enjoy most - my heart and hands have always been taken up with sewing and knitting. The increase in popularity of hand made items is encouraging. What exactly do you get asked to make by your clients. If I can find some mags in the loft I would be happy to let you have some - although I think I threw some of the older ones out, I used to subscribe to about 4 a month. I intend to go up there some time soon to retrieve one of my knitting machines as my stock of yarn far outstrips what I can knit by hand. I know how you feel about 'another planet' as we have nothing to compare with Threads over here.

          2. chopchop | | #13

            Hi Ann,
            I think you're right. The world seems to crave things that have obviously been made carefully and by hand. Although, I love knitting machines and often mix hand and machine knitting. Mixing knitting with cloth is wonderful too. One of my favorite things is to quilt knitting onto a silk backing and make zippered jackets.
            If you love to make clothes just jump right in and make what you love. Do you have pictures of some of your work? I'd love to see them!
            I love old knitting and sewing magazines. They tell of a time when things were precious.
            Threads is a great magazine. I have read every issue since it was first published. I can't tell you how often I've referred to it when I needed to find a new technique to me. I'd love to see a magazine of the same calibre for knitting both hand and machine.
            Thanks for the information on raglan sleeves. We're going to play with it tomorrow in my studio.

          3. user-14350 | | #14

            Hello ChopchopYour idea for quilting knitting onto silk sounds great. Have you ever quilted on the knitting machine forming 'pockets' and stuffing them as you go? Thanks for the encouragement - I think it would be wise to spend the remainder of my life working at what I really enjoy! I will try to take some photos with my new digital video camera but it is very much a learning curve at the moment. My first copy of Threads was 72. How I wish I had known about it sooner - like you I often refer to them for inspiration and techniques. I think if there was a fire I would save my photos and my Threads!I feel my teacher's hat returning - how I wish I could be in your studio tomorrow - it would be so much fun. I think teaching was the best part of my working life.Regards

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