The trouble with sleeves

Well, I’ve learnt a few things about designing sleeves over the last couple of weeks.  Most designs I’ve seen have a whole number of pattern repeats for the body and sleeves of a pullover.  If you want a fairly close fitting sleeve and have large pattern repeat, this is where we strike problems.  With this Fair Isle pullover I’ve had the problem that, for the smallest size, two pattern repeats were too narrow, and three were way too wide.  I had about a third of the sleeve knitted before I realised I had to pull it out and re-plan the sleeves.  Another problem was that I had the sleeves to fit fairly closely at the wrist, then gradually increase to the upper arm.  But of course my arm doesn’t gradually increase from the wrist to the upper arm.  Doh!  The widest part of my forearm is 8cm larger than my wrist, then my upper arm is only 3cm larger again.  So although sleeves generally increase gradually, a lot of our arm increase is in the first 14cm.  What to do?  As the far as the Fair Isle patterning goes, I saw the options of:
  • going totally plain for the sleeves, which works really well were I’ve seen it done
  • having 3 pattern repeats so the sleeve would be too wide rather than too narrow
  • using fractional pattern repeats
I was on the verge of going totally plain, but after quizzing a few fellow Ravelers for their opinions, I decided on fractional repeats.  So, as in the photo, I’ve got two full repeats with a few extra stitches at either side, keeping it all symmetrical, and including extra ease, so that hopefully my forearms won’t be squeezed to a pulp.  Going by the measurement table I’ve been using, it seems that my arms may be a tad larger than standard for my bust size. 

The armholes for the front and back were planned using the original amount of sleeve ease to calculate the depth of the armholes.  I have no idea if the sleeves will fit into the armholes, given the changes that I’m making.  My current feeling is that I’m going to make them fit, whether they do or not!  I can rewrite the pattern for future use, but I don‘t feel like reknitting the whole pullover.  Bad girl!

Wish me luck.

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