The sleeves on my cardigan are too wide. They are the perfect length – at least before blocking – as I tend to like sleeves to come down to my knuckles. However, I have about 4 inches of extra fabric width-wise that my arms just don’t need. Even with the drape of this fabric, the sleeves are just standing out there in mid-air with no corresponding body part to gently hug.
Agghhhhh. I didn’t throw a tantrum, but my teeth are a little on edge, to be honest. Let’s go back to the pattern. Something was bugging me about the shape of the sleeves in the schematic. Why do they get so much larger as they approach the elbow and upper arm? My arm doesn’t do that. I don’t think. Hold on – let me check…(rolls up sleeves)…Ok. Well they do. Sort of. Certainly my bicep is larger than my wrist…
Wait a minute! In my first post about this sweater I mentioned I was petite. Which is true, mostly. My arms are not petite in length, they are “regular” people size. I do, however, have very small wrists. As in - there isn’t a bracelet on the face of this planet that fits me without falling right back off. As in – I either make my own bracelets or wear my 7 year old’s.
Oddities like this are the reason that people make their own clothes. Which is a whiney way of saying that I abdicated responsibility for customizing the pattern to my own body by the time I got to the sleeves. Silly Michelle.
I didn’t come to this realization until after I had worked up both sleeves and decided to lightly tack one in place just to see that it looked right. It didn’t. I briefly considered using a very generous seam allowance to swallow up those extra 4 inches. Instead, I started a third sleeve which was about 7 1/2 inches at the cuff and increased from there. I largely followed the pattern until I got past the elbow and then eliminated one increase to be sure my bicep wouldn’t be swimming in yarn again.
I didn’t frog the two large sleeves. Yet. I’m tacking the third sleeve where the second sleeve should be just to illustrate the width difference. Then I’ll either make another adjustment or go on to the next sleeve. Which would be the fourth.
There is still a larger “why” here though and I think I understand it. Crochet stitches want desperately to retain their horizontal nature. Gauge changes can help break the fabric to do what you want. There are two things working against the gauge and forcing the fabric out to the side instead of hanging nicely – one is using a dense, short stitch like a half double crochet and the other is a yarn that is too lightweight to pull the fabric down significantly. I’m curious what this pattern would do with a heavy cotton.
Check back again and I hope to have my completed sweater to show you next time. Unless I’m still making sleeves.