tutorial for the skinny-wristed

23 July 2009


So, the July sweater: it’s Salina (rav link) from Rowan Vintage Knits (thanks to Indianapolis Public Library Interlibrary Loan department for making this knit possible). I’m loving it so far because it’s a stockinette-fest and perfect for work knitting, but the shaping gives you a feeling of accomplishment every 6 or 8 rows. You see the front and back in the photo above, with Kermit’s hood providing a backdrop (I realize that by coordinating my sweater color with my car color, I am exhibiting my oddness).

When I got to the sleeves, though, I realized that a small modification would be needed. Perhaps I have strangely skinny wrists (I also narrowed the cuffs on my Tangled Yoke Cardigan), but I definitely don’t need the 14″ cuff circumference that the pattern dictated for my size! Here’s how I did it:

1. Decide how long you want the sleeves to be; in my case, that was 18″, including a 2″ cuff added later. So, I needed to do my increases over 16″ of knitting.

2. Decide how wide you want the cuffs to be; in my case, that was 7.5″  circumference, keeping in mind that they might stretch out a bit.

3. Measure your gauge! I had already knitted and blocked the front and back pieces, so this was easy. I came up with 23 stitches and 30 rows to 4″ (or 5.75 stitches and 7.5 rows to 1″).

4. Do a little math. To find the number of stitches to cast on, just multiply your stitch gauge (5.75) by the desired width of cuff (7.5″) to get your cast-on number: 43 stitches (a side note: you can account for selvedge here if you want to, although I didn’t).

5. My desired number of stitches at the beginning of the sleeve cap was 79, according to the pattern (and I could have changed that too, but I would also want to change the armscyes to match), so I needed to increase 36 stitches over 16″. At two stitches added per increase row, that is 18 increase rows.

6. So, how to distribute those evenly over the sleeve? Just find out how many rows you need to knit to get the sleeve to the desired length (in my case, 16″) by multiplying row gauge: 16″ x 7.5 rows = 120 rows total. Then divide by the number of increase rows: 120/18 = 6.6666666…. What to do?

7. Well, I can’t increase every 6 2/3 rows, so I split the difference and chose to increase like this: every 6th row 12 times (ending with 67 stitches total and 72 rows knitted) and every 8th row 6 times (79 stitches total, 120 rows knitted). You can increase every 7th row if you want, of course, but that means that some of the increase rows will be on the wrong side.

Whew! I hope that helps another skinny-wristed knitter. It isn’t a difficult process at all (it took much longer to type up the directions than to actually do it), and it’s one of my favorite things about knitting: the ability to customize a project to better suit your particular preferences or desired fit.


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