Last week, we went on a day trip to visit family. My husband and I take turns driving, so that means I got three good hours worth of knitting time. I finished the body of the sweater the night before so I was excited to be working on the sleeves.
The pattern calls for decreasing two stitches every three rows at the top of the sleeves. For my size, it goes down from 81 stitches to 49. It turns out this is a pretty rapid decrease. I knitted and knitted and knitted, then when I got the decreases done, I tried it on… and it was too tight around my upper arm.
Now, I’ve said before that I am not a small woman. I want this sweater to be my comfortable, wear-everyday sweater. Three inches of negative ease around my upper arm just isn’t going to work. I read through the rest of the sleeve instructions and realized that the pattern is written for 3/4 length sleeves – that’s also something that I don’t want. I want full-length sleeves with some room to layer.
So I had to do some math and rip out three hours’ worth of work. It’s disappointing, but I wanted to be able to wear the sweater, so it was worth it.
I’m still getting the same gauge (even though I felt like I was knitting tight on the sleeves – I was excited and listening to fast music, ha!) so I had to rework the design to decrease more slowly and get the length I need.
My gauge was 17.5 stitches and 25 rows over 4 inches. 17.5 stitches divided by 4 inches = 4.375 stitches per inch. 25 rows divided by 4 inches = 6.25 rows per inch.
The pattern was decreasing two stitches every three rows, so that works out to almost one inch decrease in circumference every inch of length. 49 stitches (this is the number of stitches you end up with after all the decreases are done) is 11.2 inches in circumference. I measured my arm a few inches above my elbow, and it was 14 inches. No wonder it was tight!
I started out with 81 stitches and decreased to 49, so that’s a total of 32 stitches decreased. Every decrease row subtracted 2 stitches, so that’s a total of 16 decrease rows. The pattern states that every third row is a decrease row. That means that as the pattern is written, it takes 48 rows to do all the decreases. With my gauge of 6.25 rows per inch, the length of the sleeve after all the decreases are done is 7.68 inches.
I decided I wanted the sleeve to be about 15 inches in circumference at the point where I measured. 4.375 stitches per inch times 15 inches = 65.625 stitches. I decided to round up to 67 stitches to make it even. 81 stitches down to 67 stitches is 14 stitches decreased, which is 7 decrease rows. The length where I measured was about 7.5 inches down the sleeve, so decreasing once every inch will get me close enough. That means doing a decrease row every 6 rows.
I continued working a decrease row every 6 rows until I got down to the 49 stitches. That got me to a sleeve length of about 15 inches. I have really long arms, so I estimated I need to work the sleeve for 22 inches. I needed to continue to decrease the sleeve down the arm to make the taper just the way I wanted it. I worked three more repeats of the decreases for a total of 19 repeats. Then I did the ribbed cuff for 3 inches.
The knitting is all done, now and I’m finishing up weaving in all the ends. Then it needs a wash and a block, to make it look all pretty. THEN I can get good pictures of the final product and show it off to you. I’m so thrilled!