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Gussets 2: finishing off

As you work down the sleeve you will gradually decrease the underarm gussets, taking care to decrease at the same rate as you increased earlier (usually 2 stitches every 4 or 5 rows).

Eventually you will be left with just a single knit stitch flanked by 2 purl stitches. The aim is to be left with just a single purl stitch, to serve as a fake seam stitch which will run all the way down the sleeve, just like it did on the body.

To do this, when you reach your next decrease point, with a purl decrease knit together the first purl stitch and the central knit stitch; then slip this new purl stitch back onto your left-hand needle and then knit it together with the other purl stitch in another purl decrease. The 3 stitches (two purls and a knit) are now a single purl stitch, which is your fake seam stitch.

Although this may not be the simplest way of decreasing 3 into 1, I find it works well because it doesn’t interfere with the stitches of the rest of the sleeve, which make a clean border all along the edge of the gusset and on alongside the seam.

3 comments to Gussets 2: finishing off

  • John Tepe

    Hi Gordon, I think I’ve misread my pattern (Filey, 46 in from Flamborough Marine) and made a big mistake. I have not decreased for the gusset almost immediately after starting my first sleeve. Instead, I did what I read the pattern to mean, which was to knit six full patterns of the sleeve first, and then begin to decrease for the gusset every fourth round.

    The pattern instructions read: ‘Work three full patterns down , keeping the centre stitch of the diamond directly on the shoulder seam. Decrease one st on either side of the seam stitches every fourth round until the gusset is worked out.’

    In comparing what I’ve done and rereading the pattern several times, the impending horror of having to rip it all out and begin again seems more and more likely. Can anything be done to avoid ripping out nearly the entire sleeve, which has taken absolutely ages?

    Thanks so much,


    • Gordon

      Hi John, I’ve talked this over with Margaret and I’m very sorry but I’m afraid you’re almost certainly going to have to rip it out and start again.

      I say this as someone who has had to do exactly that on more than one occasion, so I don’t say this lightly! But your sleeve will almost certainly be too baggy if you haven’t been decreasing from the get-go, especially at the top of the arm when it’s pretty noticeable. And trust me, it’s better to take the hit, rip it out and do it right than soldier on and then spend the rest of your life regretting it (voice of experience again…). A gansey is a huge commitment of time, as you know—a few extra weeks now will definitely be worth it in the long run.

      Best of luck!

  • John Tepe

    Hi Gordon,

    Thank you very much for your response. I thought as much. Thank you though for your kind words and encouragement. You are right, it will be worth it in the end.

    all best,


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