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Posts Tagged ‘sleeve caps’

For sometime now, I wanted to write about knitting sleeve caps and how to get them right. An odd desire, I admit, but sleeves and sewing them in are a favorite way of mine to increase blood pressure and bring me closer to the edge of insanity. Much like I would stand on my head to brush my teeth if it was a sure fire way to prevent ever having root canal, I will do everything and anything to construct a sleeve cap that I won’t have to sew in and rip out repeatedly only to abandon it half done because I’ve reached my breaking point and want to take the scissors to make uncalled for alterations to the sweater. Getting sleeves right while knitting them makes sewing them so much easier.

In order to do this, the first measurements I need to get right are the cross-back, armhole depth and armhole length. But before I do that, I need to know the sweater’s neckline style, the front depth of the neck, the shaping of the back neck, shoulder shaping, stitch gauge and row gauge.

Let me repeat that last item. Row Gauge. All the people who ever said row gauge doesn’t matter, either never made a sweater so they don’t understand or are delusional. All lengths in a garment depend on row gauge. The success or failure of armhole shaping and length depends on row gauge. The number of rows I think I am getting over a 4 inch (10) cm length needs to actually be the number of rows I am getting over the length. Otherwise, I can’t get a successful armhole or sleeve to fit into it.

It is folly for me to follow a knitting or crochet sweater pattern exactly. All pattern measurements written by all designers are based on “Standards”. These are numbers that are generally agreed upon by the industry as fitting together based on the chest / bust size. Consider the chest / bust size as the king of measurements. Based on the king, studies have mistakenly extrapolated numbers to represent the serfs of the king. For example, my bust size is 40″ (101.5) cm. Based on that, the “Standards”” tell me my cross back is 17″ (43) cm, my armhole depth is 7.5″ (19) cm, my shoulder width is 5″ (13) cm and my neck width is 7″ (18) cm. The only number the “Standards” gets right is my bust size.

In reality my cross back is 16″ (41) cm. A comfortable armhole depth for a cardigan for me is 8.5″ (21.5) cm. My neck width is 6″ (15) cm, my shoulder width is 4-4.5″ (10-11.5) cm depending on shoulder shaping depth. All my measurements that don’t fit the “Standards” are areas that won’t fit me right if I blindly knit or crochet the sweater according to the “Standard” figures. So the first step in creating a sleeve cap to fit my armhole and not drive myself nuts doing it is get my numbers right.

cross back measurement

Yarn Rascal is heading for a Gold Paw type weekend. He absconded with the tape measure right after I snapped this picture. Next time, I’ll discuss the easiest and least painful way of getting the measurements needed to figure out the correct armhole length and the correct sleeve and cap length. For now, I need to find Yarn Rascal and divest him of my tape measure.

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