Blessedly, even sleeve caps come to an end. Finally, part 2 of the sleeve cap.
The area we’re dealing with is the space between the first and second arrows in the picture above. For this the knitter or designer needs to know the three numbers the garment industry uses for the Estimated Cap Length. Estimated cap length is based on the king of measurements, chest size. For a chest 30″ (76) cm or less the estimated cap length is 2″ (5) cm. For a chest between 31″ (79) cm and 48″ (122) cm the cap length is 3″ (7.5) cm. For a chest over 48″ (122) cm, the cap length is 4″. The cap length is crucial in finding the total number of rows in the sleeve cap.
Part 2 calculations begin by taking the final bind off width, 3″ (8)cm and dividing it in half. 3 divided by 2 = 1.5″ (4) cm. Next, select the estimated cap length number that goes with your chest size and divided that in half. In my case it was 3″ (7.5) cm divided by 2 = 1.5″ (4) cm. Then subtract the two figures from the armhole depth. The equation looks like this: 8.5 – 1.5 – 1.5 = 5.5″ (14) cm. The total cap length from the first arrow to the third is 5.5″ (14) cm.
Find the total number of rows for this length by multiplying 5.5 by row gauge 6.5. Answer: 35.75 rows. No such thing as a .75 row so rounded up to 36. 36 rows exist between the first and third arrows. Check the math by subtracting the cap length from the armhole depth. The answer should be the estimated cap length. 8.5 minus 5.5 = 3″. The math is correct, I get the estimated cap length.
Find the total number of stitches decreased in this section by subtracting the number of stitches bound off in parts one, three, and four from the total number of stitches in the upper arm. The equation looks like this: 66 -10 -8 – 16 = 32 stitches bound off in part 2. Divide 32 by 2 to get the number of stitches to bind off on each side of the sleeve cap. Answer: 16. Thus 32 sts total are bound off or 16 on each side.
Find the number of rows over which to bind off these 32 stitches by subtracting the number of rows in parts one and three from the total number of rows in the sleeve cap. The equation looks like this: 36 – 2 – 4 = 26. In part 2 there are a total of 26 rows. Thus, I needed to bind off 32 stitches (16 each side) over 26 rows.
I need a bind off rate. The best way of calculating shaping over a knitted area is with the Shaping Formula used by Shirley Paden in her book Knitwear Design Workshop. If you are serious about designing this is the book to read from cover to cover. If you want to be a tech editor, this is the book to read. Heavy on the math, but worth every struggling moment of it.
Find the bind off rate by dividing the total number of stitches by the total number of rows. 32 divided by 26 gives a messy answer. It doesn’t divide evenly. When finding rate of increase or decrease and numbers don’t divided evenly, the following is the solution.
32 sts / 26 rows = 1 st with a remainder of 6 rows.
26 rows minus 6 rows = 20 rows. So far, this tells me to bind of 1 st at the beginning of 20 rows.
Find the remaining amount of sts to bind off over the six remaining rows by taking the 1 st and adding 1 to it for a total of 2 sts. This tells me I need to bind off 2 sts at the beginning of 6 rows.
To sum up the sleeve cap shaping directions are:
BO 5 sts at beg on next 2 rows. BO 1 st at beg of next 20 rows. BO 2 sts at beg of next 6 rows. Bo 2 sts at beg on next 4 rows. BO rem 16 sts.
Check the math by adding up the number of rows: 2 + 20 + 6 + 4 = 32. Row count correct.
Add up the number of sts: 10 + 20 + 12 + 8 + 16 = 66 sts. Stitch count correct.
The final thing I do before I take up needles and begin knitting again is plot my sleeve cap shaping directions on graph paper to see that it does form a nice bell shape curve. If it doesn’t, I adjust the decreases so that it does. Then I knit the sleeve.