It is a 4 ply cotton top-down tee type top with raglan lines from the corners of the neckline down to the underarm grafting lines.
I had started this top something like ten, or maybe even fifteen years ago? It's been so long that I can't even remember. I do know that after happily knitting away I put it down one day, and just never came back to it. Up until a few weeks ago. At first I thought this was something for frogging, I couldn't even remember what it was supposed to be. The black and white detail around the square neck brought it back to me and all thought of ripping this down for the yarn was forgotten. I now also remember why I stopped: I got stuck on how to continue into the sleeves when I was only going to increase further at the raglan lines - if I had carried on I would have made a two-dimensional, unwearable piece. It would have pinched in a really nasty way!
I was aware that I needed to do something to shape the armholes but I was completely flummoxed as to what. Last December I knitted the Elizaber Zimmerman 'Hurry up Last Minute Sweater', which could also be called The Wishbone Sweater (to be blogged about later, I want to dye it first), and the mystery of the underarm shaping was revealed to me: you need to cast on a number of stitches that will make about three inches (7.5 cm) to shape the area under the arms. A temporary cast-on can work terrifically because you can pick up those stitches and just knit them off when it comes to working the body from them in the other direction, down to the hem.
At the stage of dividing the piece for the sleeves, I just left all the stitches on my 80 cm long circular needle (I love circulars, I don't use anything else except for DPNs for sock knitting or a doily until it gets large enough) - cast on those under arm stitches, then just knitted off the sleeve stitches as designated by the raglan lines followed by the cast on stitches, in the round. The circular needle is too long for a sleeve, but just pull it through whenever you get to the "beginning" of the round and keep knitting as normal. If there is not enough stretch in the material then you may have to use DPNs but this may be a pointer to the fact that the sleeve is too narrow. I made sure to feed a thinner circular through half the body every so often so I could try it on and see how I was doing, size-wise.
I was extremely lucky that, making it up as I went along, my choice of how deep I made the neckline meant that the sleeves are not too narrow. That's just sheer luck though in this case. Next time I do a top like this I would work out a rough sketch from the gauge and not wing it like I did here, blythely.
Another lucky thing was my choice of yarn. This is a 4 ply 100% cotton yarn and of course I ran out of yarn within eight inches of the hem. I thought that the yarn looked quite similar so I tried Patons 100% 4 ply cotton and I couldn't see a difference between them. Generic cotton or not, that's extremely lucky I think! Any other yarn and I would have to come up with something creative: picking a totally different yarn and probably colour to do the bottom of the body. I did make sure to knit both the sleeves first, just in case!
Quite looking forward to the weather getting warmer so I can wear this and the other short-sleeved tops!