Techniques in Depth: Fine-tuning Sleeve Fit
In my last column, I talked about how to handle a common issue with garment knitting: compensating for a discrepancy in row gauge.
With those tools in your kit, I now want to show you some other ways you can use the same method to fine-tune sleeve adjustments.
The long and short of sleeves
In my last column, I showed you how to distribute the shaping along a sleeve, to adjust for a different row gauge.
You can also adjust the style of the sleeve: Does the pattern have three-quarter sleeves but you want full-length? Want to take full-length and make them elbow length? To do this, there’s one additional calculation to required: you need to figure out the stitch count required for the cuff, wherever you want it to land.
But once that’s sorted out, wonderfully and fabulously, it’s the same as a row gauge adjustment: you know the starting stitch count, the ending stitch count, and the number of rows/rounds you’ve got to cover.
You can do it!
Here’s how it goes: Measure around your arm where you want the sleeve to hit. Then figure out how big around you want the cuff to be, taking ease into account.
So if you want the cuff to be a couple of inches bigger around than your arm—which is pretty typical—take your measurement and add 2 inches. But if you’re not sure how big the cuff should be, you could use the pattern’s existing cuff ease as a clue by looking at the finished measurement for the sweater cuff, and comparing that to your own measurement at that place. Alternatively, you could look at a sweater pattern with a sleeve of a similar length and style to the one you want to make, and use it as a guide.
Taking the 2 inches adjustment as an example:
Cuff circumference = wrist circumference + 2 inches OR 6.5 inches + 2 inches = 8.5 inches.
Stitches for cuff = cuff circumference x stitches per inch.
If you’re working at 5 stitches per inch, for example, then you’d need 8.5 x 5 = 42.5 stitches for the cuff. (Round it to the number you need for the ribbing pattern: if you are working (k1, p1), round to 42. If you’re working (k2, p2), round to 44.)
Then the rest is just as you did before: figure out how many rows you need to cover to get between the cuff and the underarm, and figure out how many increases or decreases you have to work, and then just distribute shaping!