Techniques in Depth: Basic Sleeve Alterations

April 16, 2021

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  • Thank you thank you thank you. Perfect timing as I endeavor my first drop sleeve pullover with a row count that’s more than specified. (I’m using an iPhone app which seems more like guidance than anything). I knew at some point there would be logic in how to adjust and even wondered what Kate Atherley would have to say 🙂

  • As we get older some of us (ahem) get a little lopsided. I can see eliminating those 4 leftover rows on my slightly shorter arm. Not visible to the naked eye (hopefully!) but I am often annoyed by sleeve cuffs that extend slightly past my wrist on my left arm. An unintended benefit. Kate, of your wonderful instructions! Thank you!

  • I do this a lot.
    Many of us no longer have young, skinny arms or want a tight sleeve.
    Something designers might just note, perhaps.
    Thanks for codifying this!

  • This is so helpful, thanks. That said, it doesn’t matter what Kate’s articles are about. I see “Kate Atherley” & save it. Then I scroll down to read it.

  • I’m waiting for the article that shows how to convert dropped shoulders into set-in sleeves or as least minimize the drop! It’s just not the look for everyone but designers seem to love it.

    • Ooh yes, I want that one too!

      • A little trickier when working a color work yoke. I find I have to eliminate rounds in the chart.

  • Love when Kate Atherley is the columnist!

    I often rework sleeves to make them slimmer from the underarm to elbow and ½”-1” shorter. When making changes I find that it is a good idea to treat a sleeve as two parts – underarm to elbow & elbow to cuff. If the sleeve is viewed as one entity the knitter can still end up with an ill fitting sleeve even after modifications.

    I measure each section and work stitch/row adjustments to match my own arms. Speaking for myself alterations generally take place above the elbow but YMMV based on your own arms and the fit and length you desire.

  • “ it can be weirdly hard to match row gauge, even when you’re matching stitch gauge perfectly”. OMG, I never get row gauge! I wondered who are these knitters that can do that, for that matter the designer obviously gets the right gauge too. You’ve just released and freed my inner critical voice. Thank you for letting me know that I’m OK!

    • Agree. I think the focus on row gauge is overemphasized. Getting stitch gauge is important, but then you can do math to deal with the row gauge on most projects (but not all—those with unusual construction might be less forgiving.)

      I like Kate’s general concept that if your row gauge is way off, then perhaps you’ve chosen a yarn that won’t really work for the particular pattern. Otherwise, don’t worry about the row gauge and use some math to make it work.

  • Thanks so much lots of frogging dismay frustration
    Printed out and saved for next sweater

  • Clear as mud!

  • I’m messing around with this right now, not because of row gauge, the pattern helpfully put it in cms instead of rows (although I then translated it to rows) but in order to make it fit my arm width better. I love these columns!