Even Though I'm Right, I'm Wrong

I paid really close attention to the antique Fana cardigan in this photo:

My favorite thing about it? ANATOMICAL CUFFS.  Look closely: The cuff openings will fall at the wristbones, not on the undersides of the sleeves, where the rounds would usually begin and the increases happen.  This would require some deft maneuvering to replicate, and you know that I do love me some sexy sweater construction.  But how to get the openings rotated a quarter of the way around each wrist?  

Option 1:  Knit the sleeves normally, one at a time. Then cut the opening where you want it and bind its edges with ribbon.

Option 2:  Knit the cuffs together with steeks in between.  Separate the cuffs, then place them each on needles with the openings oriented as needed, but start each subsequent round a quarter-cuff away.  Repeat for second sleeve, in reverse.

Option 3:  Leave no actual opening at all, but add trim and buttons to mimic one.

Option 4:  Abandon the entire cockamamie exercise.  My sweater cuffs stretch, so why do they need buttons anyway?

Guess which option I chose (Hint: Hardest. Possible. Way.) ?

#4 was out because omitting buttons means less decoration.  Have we met?

#3 made my teeth itch.  I hate fake pocket welts, shirts with no top button, and all other construction shortcuts that limit my wearing options.

#1 wouldn't work because it would force me to fold my ribbon trim in half over the edge, messing up my surface design concept.

I picked #3:


First I worked 2 cuffs together, with steeks in between.

Then I cut them apart.  The steek edges turn under like a hemmed edge on each end. Live stitches are held on short circular needles in this photo.

I won't sugar-coat it: getting the location of the opening right on the needles, then centering the pattern above it, then reversing everything for the second sleeve was not the rollicking hoot I had hoped for. Maybe I'm, dyslexic, but the whole right/left thing made my panties twist. But I prevailed!  Those cuffs are exactly where I wanted them, HOW I wanted them.  

And then the Norwegian book about Fana sweaters finally arrived from Australia.

This book answered all of my prayers for information.  And even though I don't speak Norwegian, I do speak photographs.  And do you know what's in every single photo of every single cuff?

Openings in line with the underarm increases.  Hundreds of Fana sweaters cataloged and photographed, and not a SINGLE ONE with anatomical, offset cuffs, like mine.  So even though I got it right, I'm still wrong.

I had bizarrely found the only photograph of the only offset-cuff Fana in existence, and killed myself to copy it, in a misguided attempt to follow tradition.

I know enough about knitting to understand that the techniques which become traditional do so because they 1) serve a purpose (getting Olaf's ham-hands through a close-fitting cuff), and 2) are simple to execute (cuff-opening located at underside of sleeve = intuitive + easy to knit). I should have listened to my creeping suspicion that multiple generations of Norwegian knitters were not working this hard.

I've decided to love my anatomical cuffs, anyway, in spite of their being anomalies.  Because now I have something interesting to tell my classes about Fana sweater construction.  I feel proud to have made this mistake for you, so now you don't have to.  

Just one more service I provide.