Work a few rounds, decrease by ten percent or so, work a few more rounds. Hey! What happened to that gorgeous colouring from a few row back? It's all different now. The sleeves have wide stripes - they don't match the body at all! Sound familiar?
Essentially, you have three choices here. Make the yarn or thread accomodate the pattern, make the pattern accomodate the yarn or thread, or leave it as is.
For easier reading, I've used the word sleeve below, but most apply to any project section that is a different width or diameter than the main section(s).Use short lengths of yarn:
If you're really fussy, you can cut shorter lengths of yarn from the ball, in the appropriate colours, and work each row or round of the sleeve with a separate piece. This is the most reliable way to have the sleeves match the body of the garment exactly. Lots and lots of ends to work in afterwards, though, unless you...Use a steek:
Again, for sleeve stripes that don't match, try making them the same width (or diameter) as the garment pieces, cutting out the excess when the steek is completed.Make sleeves etc. at least match each other:
If you feel the above 2 options are simply too much work or waste far too much yarn or thread, you can attempt to make the sleeves the same as each other.
Begin both sleeves with a new ball of yarn, at the same spot in the colour repeat. If you can keep your gauge consistent, you should get a very close match between the two. Your garment will appear balanced, though all sections won't match exactly.Almost matching, but not quite:
Is your repeat is only slightly off, maybe by a few stitches per row or round? Try increasing or decreasing the number of stitches. This will change the width of the section slightly.
It does takes a bit of trial and error, but will usually work if the finished size of the section is not absolutely crucial to the project.Add a solid:
You might consider working some sections of your project in a solid colour instead. An area or two in a well chosen solid can make a project look fantastic!Use a second ball - Thanks for the tip, Evelyn!:
To space out the colorations in the sleeves to closley match the body of a sweater, knit several rows with one ball and several rows with another ball. Carry the yarn up the side alternating the two balls and all large spots and uneven stripes will be eliminated.
Let's assume a typical scenario. A sweater has a 5 percent increase in the number of stitches after working the ribbing, another 5 percent a few rows later. This will cause some obvious changes in striping unless your yarn has a very small repeat.
Try moving all increases to the same row or round - the first one. The body of the sweater will be shaped slightly differently, but you'll have consistency in colour throughout its length.Carefully choose your pattern and yarn:
You may want to instead chooose a pattern with minimal shaping, and / or a yarn with a small repeat. Doing both will greatly minimize the problems encountered with changes in width.
You can try cutting short lengths of yarn from the ball, in the appropriate colours, and work each row on each side with a separate, but matching, length. Choose your colours to match the colour repeat already established in the body of the garment.
This is the most reliable way to have both sides exactly match each other, as well as the body of the garment. There will be some extra ends to work in afterwards, and some yarn is wasted.
If you have any tips or ideas you'd like to share, please send them to me.