You may recall that, a couple posts back, I described the sweater's construction as "elegant." The sleeves are another example of that. They're also one of the better (and more subtle) demonstrations of the fact that this sweater was factory-made.
|Picked-up stitches at top of sleeve|
Take a look at the sleeves. Rather than attaching them afterwards, every other stitch at the end of each row along the sleeve opening--yes, we're now knitting perpendicular to the body--is picked up and becomes a new stitch.
|"Stretched" sleeve sts at shoulder (HOF Sweater)|
However, the vertical body stitches don't make up the entire sleeve. You may have noticed in some of the body pictures that there were ten loose stitches at the bottom of each sleeve opening. This is an unusual design element (I'd certainly never seen it before), and all I can figure is that the manufacturer meant to simulate a "gusset." Until we started making armholes that curved in the same shape as sewn clothing, knitted gussets were common. A diamond would be inserted at the underarm, minimizing bunching and allowing the sweater to hang more naturally. While those ten loose stitches aren't an inserted diamond, they appear to serve the same purpose as a gusset, making for a more comfortable sweater (and incidentally, an easier knit).
|Example of a typical diamond gusset|
|Sleeve opening (note loose sts at the bottom)|
When working out the construction of the sleeve, I noticed something interesting that, once again, points toward mass production. The sleeves are exactly 100 rows long (actually, 101 rows long, but I'll explain why shortly), each of the decreases is five rows apart, the central portions are fifty stitches around, and the cuffs have twenty-five rows each. Needless to say, this struck me as odd, especially when you consider that the decreases are done in two sets--one near the shoulder and one near the cuff--rather than smoothly along the length of the sleeve. (Note: That splitting up of decreases was also new to me.)
|Sleeve (reproduction) - note the two sets of decreases|
And now we come to one of my bigger mistakes. Having reached the end of the sleeves, I proceeded gamely on to the ribbed cuffs. No, they didn't really look like the ones on the original HOF Sweater, but I knew from our only picture that Ty Cobb had rolled up his sleeves, and even that there was a run in one of the cuffs. I figured that maybe wear-and-tear had stretched out the cuffs, leaving them shorter and with a tighter gauge.
|Cuff - HOF Sweater (Note the unraveling...)|
So, back to the pictures I went...where I discovered something very strange. [insert Twilight Zone music] Looking very carefully (and this is nit-picky enough that I won't bore you with visual examples), I could tell that the ribbed cuffs (a) had a much tighter gauge and (b) had clearly been worked from the bottom up. That made absolutely no sense. Clearly the sleeves had been worked from the shoulders down, meaning the only way to make those cuffs would be to start them separately (on much smaller needles) and then attach them using a Kitchener Stitch (such as we saw with the shoulders). Who the %&*! would do that?!?!
And then I remembered that 101st row... And the light dawned. [insert angelic choir]
|Cuffs (reproduction) - Left cuff is correct; Right cuff is WRONG|
So, what to do? If I was going to be truly historically accurate, the obvious thing would be to make the cuffs separately and attach them. Here, however, I took a liberty. After all, part of the point of this project is to create a pattern that can be made at home by an average knitter. Asking somebody else to make cuffs in this way--rather than simply switching needle sizes and continuing to the end--seemed to be design ad absurdum. Therefore, for my own sanity and everybody else's, I chose to do the logical thing, rather than the historically-accurate one, and work the cuffs as a seamless part of the sleeve. Was it the right decision? I don't know. However, if it took me that long to figure out the small oddity in cuff construction, hopefully nobody else will even notice. (And yes, if enough people really care, I'm happy to include two versions of the sleeve construction in the final pattern.)