Week 5: Moving on to Sleeve Cuffs and Cuff Ruffles

This week, we are finishing the sleeves! I urge you to read the entire post before launching ahead. I will give you the specific differences between the two patterns first and divulge my ruffle secret on a platter, then go over the techniques you will need for this week’s assignment, and finally offer yet one more cuff innovation you might want to consider.

1. A Tale of Two Ellas: Both the original Ella Coat and the Rediscovered Ella Coat have you working the sleeve ruffles the same way. You put your provisional stitches back on the needle, work down until desired length, and then begin the ruffle.

In both cases, the ruffle asks you to increase by knitting in the front and back of each stitch across a knit row, purling back, repeating the increase row, then binding off. Here is how this ruffled sleeve cuff will look:

This is a lovely ruffle. . . but if you want something almost ineffably more fabulous, try my personal tweak to the pattern and you’ll get a ruffle that looks like THIS!

Here you see the difference. . . decided which ruffle you’d like to employ for the ruffley bits for your own coat.

I recommend that you swatch the original ruffle from the pattern across about 16 stitches. Then do the same for this new ruffle. See which you prefer. If you have other ideas for a treatment that will work for neckline, front plackets, sleeve cuffs and bottom edging, please share. I did hear grumblings that a shop in Michigan was swatching I-cord bind off edgings and I am keen to see how that is turning out.

Without further ado: My Favorite Ruffle Fully Disclosed:

RS: Kfb across the row.

WS: Purl.

RS: *Kfb, k1; repeat from * across row.

WS: Execute a picot bind off as follows: *Using a cable cast on, CO 2 stitches, BO 3, placing the stitch that remains on the right needle back onto the left needle; repeat from * until all stitches are bound off.

I will not sugar coat this: it is sometimes tedious and takes some bit of time. I refused to count my stitches because then I might get, well, distracted by the number. But it is simple to do and you can even fudge it sometimes and CO 2 and BO 4 or something like that about half the time. The delicacy of stitches is delicious. If you are daunted by what I’m saying, you should do that swatch exercise I mention before you commit. But I’m telling you, you’ll love the results and no regular ruffle can rival it. . . this may be as good as throwing down the gauntlet for some who will scour the internet for a rival ruffle . . . If I’m wrong, I’m happy to admit it, but show me optical proof!

2. What You Need to Know:

Cable Cast On, the text with pictures (this tutorial explains more than one type of cast on method but pays particular attention to the cable cast on method. I use the cable cast on without the twist: Check it out here.

Cable Cast On, the video. KnittingHelp.com has two videos, one showing how to perform this cast on if you are a Continental knitter.

and one showing the English method.

Picot Bind Off, the video. This video is straightforward for those who want to see the picot bind off worked in addition to reading how it’s done. See it here.

3. My Innovations & Tweaks . . .

NEW:  French Cuffs for Ella!

This is my most recent Ella innovation. . . Take a look at how fabulous they are!

In week 4 I implored you not to move forward with the cuff ruffles themselves but to make the sleeve the desired length by leaving it alone, shortening, or lengthening.

At this point, then, you should have sleeves that are just right.

I asked you to leave at least 4″ (10cm) un-seamed at the cuff end. This way you could try on the bodice until sleeves were perfect, but then put the whole project carefully in your knitting bag or basket waiting for today. . .


Well, as I was working on my own latest Ella, I had the idea for French cuffs. So, if you’d like to follow my example, here’s what you do. Don’t seam the sleeve all the way to end! Leave between 2 and 3 inches unconnected. I won’t dictate the length as your taste trumps mine and you might have longer arms than I do. Please your eye, or the eyes of those nearest and dearest to you.

You already have the live cuff stitches waiting for you and you have closed the seam to the desired point. Now, with the right side facing you, you are going to pick up and knit the stitches from seam to cuff on the left side of the sleeve as it lies on the table in front of you (cuff farthest away from you and the body of the sleeve nearest you) Pick up stitches on the left side of this opening, starting closest to the moment where the two parts of the sleeve come together. Pick up and knit 3 stitches for every 4 rows until you get to your live stitches, work across those live stitches, then pick up and knit 3 stitches for every 4 rows on the right side of the remaining part of the opening. Purl back across all stitches. Then make your ruffle as written, as you please, or as I did . . . (refer to My Favorite Ruffle instructions above).

 4. What to Check As-You-Knit: 

The ruffles do not add much length, so I recommend that the sleeves are the right length before you start the ruffle itself.

5. What Fun! Ella Diversions for this week:

Don’t forget that Week 2 of our Cowl diversion/mini-knit-a-long is this Friday! I have added pictured to last Friday’s post of red poppy cowl colorway, so take a look and join us!  Patterns can be purchased through your favorite participating yarn shop–the newest participant is a shop in Howell, Michigan named Stitch in Time. They are prepared with red poppy cowl kits! with the pink and purple ones on the way to them this week (as soon as I get home to ship them out!).

4 thoughts on “Week 5: Moving on to Sleeve Cuffs and Cuff Ruffles

  1. Thanks for the ruffle ideas. I want to add a bit more pizzazz to my my ruffles with some Tilli Tomas yarn or other beaded goodies. What do you recommend? Should I combine the beaded or sequined yarn with the Shepherd’s wool or knit it alone? Would you add it on the purl rows?

  2. How long is the ruffle part (with picot bind off–LOVE!)? My sleeves feel like they might turn out a smidge long and I want to decide if I should remove some before doing the cuff.

    I suppose I could also knit fewer rows before ruffling, but want to be consistent with the ruffle colour on the hems too.

    • O goodness I have been remiss in responding to comments. the ruffle itself is not very long. A few rows, so it doesn’t make much difference in the length, especially because it rolls up and back so the overall impression is that the sleeve is shorter with a ruffle than it would seem if there were no ruffle or a less structured or more gradual ruffle.

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