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It’s so relaxing, not having to haul ass to finish my Rhinebeck sweater this week. I don’t have a Rhinebeck sweater! Or, if you’re a glass-half-full person, I have many Rhinebeck sweaters, for all of my sweaters are eligible to be worn at any time, including Rhinebeck. (Assuming the weather cooperates, which doesn’t seem like the case for this upcoming weekend in Dutchess County: forecast is in the 70s. Sweater weather for only the most devoted and non-menopausal among us.)

My Granito, in Manos del Uruguay’s merino-linen blend, Milo. (The shade is Manchester, same as the pattern photography sample.) Loving this fabric and texture.

Last week, I devoted my airplane knitting time, and my sitting-around-with-Ann knitting time, to my Granito pullover. I had left Granito in the unfortunate position of sitting there with only one of its front shoulders, festooned with short rows, finished. When I pulled it out of the brining bag, I couldn’t even remember what size I was knitting, so I had to do some Knitting Forensics (math) to figure that out, then finish the first shoulder and work the second shoulder. Then, and only then, could I breathe easy and hit the stockinette straightaway down to the bottom of the armhole, working back and forth on the front.

The instructions for my size say to knit 7 inches, measured along the selvedge from the shoulder seam. This is the same length as the back piece, which is 7 inches long, and resting on a circular needle. At this point, the pattern instructs me to join up the front and back and start knitting the body in the round.

Here’s my concern: 7 inches is not a very deep armhole. I realize you don’t need a very deep armhole for a drop-shoulder pullover, because the opening hits lower on the arm, but when I tried this dangly thing on over my head, the shoulder “seam” was not very low down on my arm.

And I started to recall, in a vague way, that Judy Welles, who wore her beautiful Granito to New York last month, said something about wishing she’d made the sleeves bigger. (Did I just invent that, Judy?) (No, thanks to Ravelry, I have verified that Judy thinks the sleeves were too tight.)

Look! Judy “did an Easel” on the left sleeve of her Granito, when she ran out of her main yarn, Brooklyn Tweed Loft.

I hate to fool with a pattern that over 400 people don’t seem to have had much trouble with, but range of motion is a big deal for me. I can’t stand a sweater that doesn’t let the arms rotate and flail with ease. So, I’m modifying. I’m adding at least an inch to the front and the back before joining up the body.

This modification will lead to a cascade of other modifications, since the sleeve will now require more stitches to be picked up and then decreased down. Who knows what I’m letting myself in for! Fun!

Wish me luck, people. Or try to talk me out of it.

I’m open to suggestions.


  • I agree. I pulled out an old UFO to finish for Rhinebeck (mission accomplished) but I don’t really like it because the sleeves feel too tight. I’ve quite a few sweaters like that. I’m so glad that it’s not just me that hates the tight sleeves. From now on, I’m going to re-do the math when necessary to get a comfy sleeve. I’m behind you all the way…

  • Easy peasy, Kay. It’s just math. If the train leaves at 7, and the bus goes 55 mph, how many stitches do I need?

    And I’m stealing this idea when I get to that point on my Granito. I’m with you on the tight sleeves thing.

    Also insanely jealous of anyone who is going to Rhinebeck. Some day…

  • It’s great that you were able to try this on now and figure it out. Think how bad it would be to knit the whole sweater and then discover the problem.

  • I think this sweater math will be easier than finishing that Big Flower thing-a-ma-jig you were working on last year.

    • *agree*

    • Who said she’s finishing it? It keeps running away…;-)

  • Go For It, but keep track of what you are doing for the next time (and for those of us who might ask, being the flailing sort….). It is Definitely sweater time here in southern Ontario. I needed to pull the wool gloves out this morning.

  • Congrats on being the boss of your knitting!

    I’m a little ahead of you on my Granito, and I’m going with the it-will-block-out-just-fine expectation. I’m afraid if I tinker too much it’ll be too big.
    Your anti-tight sleeves stance reminds me that I have most of a Keel done, in a favorite Koigu color, but way too tight sleeves. I’ve got to go back and redo them. You always inspire me!

  • Tight sleeves were a thing for a while. Maybe still are. I like ’em loose. Good tip for my someday granito.

  • Yeah, tight sleeves (and legs) is how the designers nowadays are re-defining the body-volume silhouette they’ve borrowed (“been inspired by?”) from the 80’s. I am a fan of updating old looks (my twenty-something co-workers insist on referring to the 1990’s as “vintage”) – but I also agree with my sister-in-law when she says, “I hate it when my clothing talks to me.”

  • So many knitting patterns these day call for tight sleeves; as well as sleeves knit in the round.
    But since we are all not 29 (or even 39) (except in our heads) many of us modify. (and some of us hate double pointed needles. And realize that a seam can be an important thing in the way a garment hangs).
    And, we do desire comfort as well as beauty in an object we are making to wear. It’s kindof like ‘all the sleeveless dresses.” No thanks, not anymore. Covering up these arms. I don’t think I will ever see designers aim for “women of a certain age” with a real body because it just ain’t sexy enough. (And I am also talking to you, jjill and Eileen Fisher ….)
    You aren’t alone!

  • I’m working on a Granito as I write this and will reevaluate the sleeve depth now, having read your post. Mine calls for an armhole depth of 6.5 inches which at my gauge is 52 rounds. I’m at the point where I can easily add on–I’m looking forward to finishing this sweater and wearing it for a long time to come, and I hate tight sleeves, too. I swatched with the Milo, and loved the texture and drape but Not the Manchester colorway. In reality it seems a lighter and flatter gray color than in the sample photos. Have gone with a different yarn, and once I get this near black version done, I may go all Easel sweater crazy a la Ann Shayne and make several more Granitos. I have my eye on that gorgeous pink Milo color way. But I need the darker color first. Good luck on yours Granito, Kay. I for one, would appreciate progress reports.

  • Flailability is key.

    • Always!

  • You had me at brining bag! LOL! Happy Monday!

  • I did the same. Love top down cause I can try it on often and make adjustments as I go. Also making hemmed cuffs with ribbed cuffs underneath. Was thinking of adding thumb holes but will probably abandon that idea. Used hemmed bottom on body. Didn’t add the pockets but wish I had made that decision at beginning and I wouldn’t have offset the fake seams on front and back. Love the pattern and fit; already planning on second one…maybe split the body at lower edge and make the back longer than the front….

  • Knitting Forensics!! 🙂

  • I am discovering your post while wearing my finished Granito for the first time ever this chilly morning. I had the same dilemma that I solved easily after reading several project notes on Ravelry; I made the armholes following directions for the next size over, which was roughly 1/2 longer. All I had to do later was to remember to pick up the number of stitches that corresponded to that slightly wider opening.

    The solution was perfect in my case. The sleeves look just as slim but there isn’t an excess bulge of fabric under the arms. Remember too that the drop sleeves give you a bit more ease at the shoulder anyway.

    Just FYI, I made another modification by adding 2 inches in the overall length, right before starting the pockets, because I wanted to match the length of a fave Eileen Fisher sweater. I am beyond happy with the fit of the finished pullover. It’s overdue for its glamour shots on Ravelry and Instagram — I still need to corner a willing photographer!

    • Oo ooo ooo! I am going to copy the idea of adjusting the length to a favorite sweater. I’m also looking more closely at the photo of Judy and seeing that the shoulder seam *does* fall pretty low on the arm. One inch is what I added, and I’m hoping for the best. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve worried so much about something being tight that it ends up floppy.


  • Will you wear it with a sleeved garment underneath. Or not? That is the question. I made mine longer by an inch.

    • Yes, usually a tank or a tee goes underneath my woolens. Good to factor that in.

  • I’m trying to decide whether to attempt this a third time. Third times the charm, right? First time, I picked up the shoulder stitches on the wrong side, got to the armhole joining (or so I thought) and realized things were wonky. Second time, I got to the pocket division, tried it on and the neckline was a sloppy mess. I’m not sure where I went wrong but i am not a novice Knitter by any means. Very frustrated and thinking I’ll just find a pieced sweater with a similar look and add in the elements of Milo that I like.

    • Ugh! The second time sounds like it was particularly painful. My Granito’s neck looks no more (or less) sloppy than my necks typically do before putting on the edging etc. Hoping for the best. I think these elements (pockets and maybe those slipped stitch lines, which I quite like) could be added on easily to another sweater, especially with the Granito pattern by your side to spell out the spacing.

  • I’m pro flail. A sweater or heaven forbid one of those over-both-shoulder large tube cowl things that don’t allow for free arm movement are definitely not worth the wearing. Go for more armhole.

  • I had the same concerns about my Granito and was going to make the armholes for the next size up, but I ended up just casting on a larger size overall. MORE DRAPE.

  • I’m a little late to the comments but did you measure around your arm where the shoulder joins the seam? Two inches sounds like it might be a lot to add to the width of the sleeve. But at least your are knitting. I usually don’t even start a sweater because I am often between 2 sizes and don’t want to deal with the math. I have done what Laura T. suggested, knit the shoulders for the next size with good results. I am curious to see how your mods turn out. Wish Rhinebeck wasn’t 1300 miles away from where I live. Been there once, and hope to again sometime.

  • I added one inch to the armhole depth and it worked out just fine. I also made fewer decreases in the sleeves to give a little more ease. I love the finished sweater!

  • I love the Easel sleeve on the Granito! Genius! I hope to say hi on Sat. sweater or not.

  • The plan for Rhinebeck, so far, is to wear sweaters with our shorts until we can no longer bear it and then stash the sweaters in the car. My sweater was not knitted specifically for Rhinebeck, but my husband’s was, and, as my father would say, by hook or by crook, we will wear our sweaters to Rhinebeck (outlook partially fueled by the fact that this is our first Rhinebeck).

  • Thrilled to be featured today, and I happen to be wearing the Granito even as we speak. This is definitely part of my 15 minutes of fame. As for the sleeve, I’m leaning toward ripping out the gradient and finishing the sleeve with the same blue Loft — but Christmas and birthday knitting will intervene for a while, so I have some time to consider the idea. What do y’all think?

    • Honestly, I thought you had a cast on your arm.

    • Judy, I love this photo, your style, and your sweater just as it is. You could make it all one color, but then it would be “just” a beautiful sweater. Either way works!

  • Take a tape measure and measure around your armhole (start at underarm – go up to shoulder and back down the other side again). Most sewing instructions include 9″ for armhole depth…hope this helps!

  • Elizabeth Zimmerman had the right idea. It doesn’t hurt to be a thinking knitter

  • Haha – yea that sleeve opening – I could not imagine that working. I also made it larger

  • One last thought, re: the neckline. A couple of Ravelers commented on their own mods, so I followed their lead and picked up a few extra stitches at the collar. The result is neat, nicely finished and comfortable to wear. Tip: you’ll find some useful feedback if you check out the “Designs by Joji” group discussion on Ravelry, then search for “Granito”.

  • Borrow an Easel sweater from Anne. I hear she has a spare.

    • ❤️❤️

  • For many years I wore garments either skin-hugging or giganto-bagging, because both allowed me to move freely and feel unrestricted. Eventually, though, only one of those two “fits” was really comfortable, and remains so to this day. Guess which one.

  • Here, here! I too had to lengthen the armhole, twice even for an extra 1.5″. I knew I had a long torso, but who knew I had long armholes!? Mine fits just fine now with more breathing room for the pits. I’m almost done with this Granito, just the neckline ribbing and stiching those pocket backs down. It’s been ages since I knit a sweater larger than baby-size, so this is very satisfying. Mine is knit with Elsebeth Llavold Silky Wool.
    Love the post-menopausal comment LOL

    • LOL , tears flowing over “long armholes”.

  • I finished my Granito two weeks ago and definitely recommend a bigger armhole. 7 inches just works but 8 would have been better.

  • A 7″ arm opening would give me pause too. I’d go for 9″ and then make the pick up and taper adjustments. Got extra yarn?

  • Hiya – sleeve diameter/snugness is a thing for me, also. My “Granito” is knit to my upper arm circumference, and it glides over my upper arms – likely because there is so much ease in the body and thus the sleeve starts well away from what would normally be the armscye. Inches away, to an area perhaps a smidge less than 12″ in circumference (but not much I assure you). This lesson was learned knitting Valmaki’s similar “Square and Stripe”.
    Good luck, and, ripping is our friend, no?

  • Drop shoulders… I’d pass a law against them:

    1: They flatter no one, not even skinny knitwear models. That thick horizontal seam across the widest part of my arm? REALLY?
    2. They echo the 80s, where slavish duplication of style is unwise. Great colors, interesting intarsia? Use those elements, don’t clone the whole sweater. The overall shape is designed to fit my water heater: not a good look for most.
    3. All that extra knitted fabric under the arm and on the upper chest… uh, that’s expensive fabric, and takes more knitting time too. So tragic, given the disappointing final product.
    4. There’s a functional purpose of a set-in seam at the shoulder: it supports the weight of the sweater better, and doesn’t offer a round-shouldered effect. The drop shoulder does not.
    5. It’s probably just me, but anyone older than 10 or female, looks matronly in them. And if, as I am, one is of a certain age and sports a few extra pounds, the fashion statement is frumpy at best. Even all but the trimmest men will look fat.

    I concede, for those who fear the set-in sleeve drop shoulder patterns provide an easy option. And who wouldn’t welcome that when all the parts are knitted and just need sewing up? But for me, it’s worth the bit of extra fussing and nudging to set in a beautiful, flattering sleeve.

    Love the yarn you’re using though!

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