Sleeve length adjustments are pretty easy to make, and straightforward to calculate. It is worth spending the time to get a nicely fitted sleeve to best showcase your knitting and the time you spent creating that garment. Any changes to sleeve length need to be reflected in how shaping is done and spaced.

*For purposes of today’s discussion I am excluding trim. It might be represented as the 1″ worked without shaping or, when greater, be handled differently.*

## Jill’s Rules of Sleeve Length Adjustment

- There should be 1″ the bottom edge of the sleeve that is worked without shaping.
- Increases should end at least 1″ before the underarm bind off.
- Sleeves should not be made before the garment because changes to the garment may need to be reflected in the sleeve.
- Sleeve adjustments to make the sleeve fit your arm will make the entire garment fit and hang better.

## Sleeve Length Adjustment

To find the correct length, measure from the underarm of the garment to the point on your arm where you want the sleeve to end. This is a point that makes you happy, or is based on what you see in the photo of the sample. For now, **19″**

To find the correct length over which to do the shaping, deduct the amount above the bottom that will have no shaping. **1″**. Also deduct the amount before the bind off that will have no shaping. **1″**

**19 – (1 + 1) = 17**” for shaping.

Use your row gauge to calculate the number of rows over which sleeve length shaping could be done. We’ll use 6 rows/inch as our gauge here.

**6 rows * 17″ = 102 rows**

Round the row number to an even, whole number. If you are working rounds you can use odd numbers, but we usually think about doing increases on even numbered rows/rounds.

I like to consider how I want the rate of change in size to happen. Generally speaking, we space increases to occur slowly through the forearm, then faster in the upper arm. Take a look at the arm to go in that sleeve and decide what works for you. This can be adjusted!

## Sleeve Fit Adjustments

There are all kinds of fit adjustments that can be made, so let’s look at a variety of sleeve length adjustments. We’ll use gauge of 4 sts/inch and 6 rows/inch.

**Scenario One.** Sleeve needs to get wider in the upper arm than the schematic shows (and armhole adjustments will accommodate this). No sleeve length adjustment is needed.

Sleeve length is 17″. Width at upper arm is shown as 13″ and needs to be 14″. *See schematic. *Remember to deduct amounts for beginning and end of sleeve length. This should be clear by looking at the schematic.

17″ – (1 + 1)” = 15″ shaping length

15″ * 6 rows = 90 rows for shaping

8″ * 4 sts = 32 sts

14″ * 4 sts = 56 sts

56 – 32 = 24 sts to increase

24 sts / 2 = 12 sts (divide by two for increases to each side)

**Rate of Increase:**

90 rows / 12 sts = 7.5 rows

This is where it gets fun! Now we’ll choose the even numbers above and below 7.5, which are 6 and 8.

To determine how many increases happen every 6 rows and how many every 8. We want to hit as close to 90 rows as possible. So our constants are 12 increases and 90 rows

11 * 8 = 88 and 1 * 6 = 6 / 88 + 6 = 94 rows

10 * 8 = 80 and 2 * 6 = 12 / 80 + 12 = 92 rows

9 * 8 = 72 and 3 * 6 = 18 / 72 + 18 = 90 rows

I would work this so I increased every 8 rows above the 1″ worked at the bottom, for 9 increases, then working the increases every 6 rows. Depending on how you want your arm to be shaped, it could also be that you work an increase every 8th row, followed by every 6th row a total of 3 times, then every 8th row a total of 6 times. Or, every 6th row a total of 3 times, followed by every 8th row a total of 9 times.

**Scenario Two.** Length is added to sleeve and the rate of increasing needs to be rejiggered.

The same process is followed, using the new, larger, number of rows.

**Scenario Three.** Length is shortened and the rate of increasing needs to be rejiggered.

The same process is followed, using the new, smaller, number of rows.

**Scenario Four. ** The sleeve will be wider at the outset, but needs to end as shown in the schematic, so fewer increases need to be made. You want to cast on 9.5″ of stitches.

17″ – (1 + 1)” = 15″ shaping length

15″ * 6 rows = 90 rows for shaping

9.5″ * 4 sts = 38 sts

13″ * 4 sts = 52 sts

52 – 38 = 44 sts to increase

14 sts / 2 = 7 sts (divide by two for increases to each side)

**Rate of Increase:**

90 rows / 7 sts = 12.85 rows

TNow we’ll choose the even numbers above and below 12.85, which are 12 and 14.

To determine how many increases happen every 12 rows and how many every 14, getting as close to 90 rows as possible. So our constants are 7 increases and 90 rows

6 * 14 = 88 and 1 * 12 = 12 / 84 + 12 = 96 rows

4 * 14 = 56 and 3 * 12 = 36 / 56 and 36 = 92 rows

3 * 14 = 42 and 4 * 12 = 48 / 42 + 48 = 90 rows

It was pretty easy to see from the previous numbers, that I needed to make a leap to get rid of those 6 extra rows. I am looking for the combination that is going to get 90.

As a final note. When spacing the increases, if you work the first increase just after the 1″ worked straight, your length doesn’t go the full 90 rows

Min says

Perfect timing! I’ve just started a beautiful cardigan in Kidsilk haze which has elfin sleeves… they’d drive me potty, and now I can adjust them. Thank you!

Jill says

Min, Be sure to look in the Newsletter on Thursday–I hope to have a spreadsheet to help do this!