How to Decrease Neatly to Form the Shaping of Shoulder Seams on Knitted Sleeves




About: Born in England many years ago, moved to California in 1980, moved to New York in 1993, became a US citizen. Favourite place to visit, besides London England, is Lake Winnipesaukkee in New Hampshire, home o...

When knitting a sweater with sleeves, once you have the length of sleeves required you have to taper in the top for the shoulder. Usually the pattern tells you at some point to knit two together at the very beginning of the row and then knit two together at the very end of the row. I do not particularly like this method as I find the edges can become "sloppy"

Step 1: Forming a Neater Shoulder Edge Altogether

Instead of knitting two together immediately, I like to slip the first stitch, as if to knit, and then knit two together through the back of the loops. When I get to the last three stitches, I knit two together and then knit into the back of the loop of the last stitch. For all purl rows slip first stitch as to KNIT and then continue in purl.

By using this method you are eliminating the saggy baggy ends that can sometime occur. This method would be especially useful for the inexperienced knitter, where the tension is quite often a bit iffy because of inexperience.

Step 2: The End!

This was not a "real" sleeve that was part of any garment known to man! but just something I knitted as an example to show the method. Below are pictures of the finished sample, back and front.

Also when you have to knit two identical pieces, for example the sleeves, it is a good idea to knit them both together on the same needles using two separate balls of yarn. The reason for doing this is you will be sure to make them both the exact same length and your increasing and decreasing will be done in the same places. Also (and very important!) if you make a mistake with the decreasing, it's not so critical, as you have made the mistake at the same place on both sleeves.

Happy knitting!

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    9 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you, this is exactly what I was looking for. Very useful! I am knitting a sweater and this is the answer to all my doubts about the upper part of the sleeves (straight needles, knitting upwards starting from the cuffs).


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you so much on the instructions for knitting dec. stitches in sleeve; tore back to start of armhole and what a difference in a tidy edge. Question: after dec. and knitting to achieve length, do you continue to slip 1st stitch?

    Thank you again


    10 years ago on Step 1

    This sounds like a great method. Can't wait to try it!


    10 years ago on Step 2

    I hate knitting sleeves, because I know that when I have finished one sleeve I have to knit another one exactly the same. This is a trick my mother taught me. Knit both sleeves at once. You cast on separately with two separate balls of yarn, i.e. say cast of 50 stitches for the first sleeve with one ball of yarn and then on the same needle cast on the 50 stitches for the second sleeve. You are knitting them individually but at the same time. That way you know that you have knitted exactly the same number of rows for the rib and have started decreasing or increasing, etc. on exactly the same row.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I was thinking of doing this on the next sweater I am doing, but didn't know if it would work. Thanks for letting me know it will, since the pattern for this sweater is a bit tricky.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks this is such a neat way of making a sleeve look neat.