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Here’s how I changed the sleeve cuffs of my Dusseldof Aran.

The pattern as written consists of a section of mostly stockinette in the centre of the cuff which is pleated shut after a few inches. I-cords emerge from the cables just above the pleats and are tied into a bow, as if they had been used to gather the pleats. It’s a very pretty and unique effect, but I knew I’d have to modify it to reduce the bulk of the pleats and the excess fabric at the cuffs.

Replacing Pleats with Decreases
Fortunately, I didn’t have to spend too much time thinking about how to reduce the pleats; I used the technique in this excellent blog post instead.  The answer is elegantly simple: form a fan or shell shape with the ribs by starting with k2p8 chunks, and then decrease in each purl section every four rows till you’re left with a k2p2 rib from which the cable pattern can flow out.

I made my ‘fan’ even shorter by starting with k2p7, thereby eliminating four rows. To neaten the edge, I worked the first four rows with a needle a couple of sizes smaller than the rest of the sleeve. For additional refinement, I cast on with a modified long-tail, which incorporates knit and purl stitches in any desired combination, described here.

Reducing Excess Fabric
Even after substituting the fan for pleats, there is still excess fabric at the cuffs since the fan structure is in addition to the main stockinette of the sleeve. To compensate I started with the same number of CO sts as needed for my CustomFit generated pattern plus 10% to account for cable compression. I positioned the fan in the centre, and then made compensatory increases in the stockinette sections every time I decreased within the fan. These compensatory increases were in addition to the regular sleeve shaping increases of the CustomFit instructions.

All this is much easier to explain with a picture:

Cuff Fan 1

Red pins – fan shaping decreases every four rows
Blue pins – compensatory increases in stockinette section to maintain width of sleeve, immediately after the red rows. Note (important!) that in the last blue pin row, two of the compensatory increases are made in the middle of the cable pattern – this helps form the central ‘rope’ of the cable.
White pins – regular sleeve shaping increases.

And finally, here’s what it looks like at the end:

photo1427355271878

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