I am currently working on Emily, from Kim Hargreave's The Dark House Collection. One of the lovely details is the poufy sleeves, and this got me to thinking about how the pouf is constructed. It's basically increases and decreases, but how they are arranged makes a difference. So let's say you have a sleeve of, say, 100 stitches, and a cuff of, say, 50 stitches. There are several ways you can achieve this:
1. Knit the whole thing bottom-up, starting with 50 st for the cuff and then doubling the number of stitches once you reach the sleeve, or
2. Knit the whole thing top-down, decreasing the number of stitches you work from 100 down to 50 on the row where the cuffs start, or
3. Knit the main portion of the sleeve bottom-up, starting with 100 stitches. Come back when you're done, picking up 100 stitches for the cuff and then immediately decreasing the stitches by half on the next row. You'd then complete the remainder of the cuff knitting top-down. Well, this is essentially what the instructions on Emily tell you to do. Even though all 3 of these options are numerically the same, the results look different. To my eye, this method provides better definition between the sleeve and the cuff. Picking up stitches over the cast-on edge adds stability. However, there is still some flaring of the upper part of the cuff. If I were a really conscientious blogger, I would have taken a picture so you could see for yourself, but since I didn't think to do it at the time, you'll just have to trust me :-)
4. I found that my favorite way to achieve a crisp transition between the sleeve and the cuff is to start with the sleeve, casting on only half the number of stitches you need and then in your first row, doing a kfb into each stitch. After you are done with the sleeve, you go back and pick up the number of stitches you need for the cuff. No flaring at all. Yay!
I'll be done with Emily soon and hope to have an FO pic by next week (famous last words).