When Does 11.5 = 13.6?

Evidently, when it’s the Central Park Hoodie sleeve.

Am I nuts? Please tell me if my brain is not working properly today.

There have been a lot of complaints that the sleeves were too tight if knitted according to the pattern. The schematic for the sleeve in the pattern indicates that the width of the sleeve at the top, just before the bind-off, is 11.5″ for my size, which certainly seems too small. My EPS sleeves are 12″, and they’d be pretty stretched if I wore the sweater over anything other than thin sleeves, so I would probably want them to be more like 13″.

I decided I’d calculate my sleeve width and cap using the technique I just learned in Sally Melville’s class. According to those calculations, my sleeve should be 56 stitches wide at the top, just before doing the bind-offs for the armholes. That’s slightly over 13″, using the pattern gauge (which I’m getting) of 4.25 stitches per inch. Perfect.

Then I looked at the pattern instructions, and problems ensued.

The sleeve dimensions on the schematic don’t seem to match the number of stitches. According to the pattern, I should have 58 stitches at the top of the sleeve before the armhole.  Huh? 58 / 4.25 = 13.6″.  So how come the schematic says 11.5″? (11.5” x 4.25 = 49 stitches)

Obviously the schematic measurement and the stitches don’t match. So what gives? Is the schematic measurement actually the measurement of the sleeve at the bicep, and not at the top of the sleeve? (And if so, then why is the line for the schematic measurement at the top of the sleeve, and not where that actual measurement applies?) .

If the sleeve will truly measure 13.6” at the top, then I won’t need to make any adjustments – they’ll be fine, and maybe a bit loose. But then why would everyone be complaining about the sleeves being tight? I don’t think I have particularly skinny arms for my body size.

So now I am perplexed as to what to do for the sleeves. Since I’m knitting them flat, I guess I’ll just make them according to the pattern, since that seems to be right according to the math, and is only 2 stitches off what I calculated according to Sally’s method.

By the way, I loved one of the things Sally said in class this weekend – when asked what’s the biggest mistake knitters make, she says it’s knitting the pattern as written. She’s a wise woman.

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5 Responses to When Does 11.5 = 13.6?

  1. Sooza says:

    Hey there, I don’t own the pattern so this is just a guess: Does the gauge take the cables into account?! I mean, if you get 4.25 stitches per inch in stockinette and have 58 stitches on your needles that would make your sleeve 13.6” wide IN STOCKINETTE. Now with the cables the whole thing would probably be a bit tighter since cables ‘eat’ width, wouldn’t it?!

    Thanks for your comment on my Birch pattern, by the way. I’m so glad more people think like me and thought the original version tedious.

    Take care,
    Susan G.

  2. Carole says:

    I can’t remember the width of the sleeves when I knit this for Hannah but she does complain that the sleeves are kind of snug. And she’s wicked skinny.

  3. Chris says:

    No idea, but I look forward to learning the resolution, in case I make it someday…

  4. Kim says:

    Holy cow—too much math for me this early in the morning. I hope you’re able to get it resolved.

    Love the Sally Melville quote. She’s SO right, isn’t she?

  5. Hmm, I look forward to seeing how it turns out.

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