The sleeves for Chamomile start with a crochet band, the beginning of which were actually trickier for me than the flowers in the waistband.
Why was this so difficult? Well, it starts with a long chain, and I was having a really hard time crocheting into it because 1) the loops were tiny, despite my best efforts to keep them looser and 2) the yarn is really splitty. I may have had an easier time of it if I were a better crocheter, but as it was, I kept either working into the wrong loop (if I could get the hook in there at all) or splitting the yarn. I seriously started the first sleeve five times before I finally thought up a solution, based on a provisional cast on I’ve used a number of times for knitting. And that solution was:
1. Make a chain, using a smoother, slightly heavier crochet cotton.
2. Make a slip knot in the project yarn. Then with the laceweight, slip stitch into the back loops of the cotton chain.
3. Work the first pattern row into the top laceweight loops (the back loops should be on the other side of the cotton chain).
Then, work the rest of the band per the pattern. Pick up and knit around the top of the band.
4. Unzip the cotton chain.
Tada! The laceweight didn’t unravel at this point, because the slip stitch row is basically a chain itself.
This worked for me for two reasons. One is that, as noted above, crocheting the laceweight into the cotton chain actually separated the back loop from the rest, so it kept me from working into that loop. The other is simply that the contrast between the off-white crochet cotton and the brown laceweight made the loops easier to see.
Once I got the crochet bands done, the rest of the sleeves were easy peasy. Pictures of those to come!