We need to talk about sleeves

Charcoal Rose
Charcoal Rose

Sleeves. They can be the bane of a knitting life.

So many knitters have issues with the size pattern they are knitting; the sleeve size is either too small or too big.

Designers, in the main, use generic pattern sizing based on general clothing sizes. What this means is sleeve measurement is tied to bust measurement. As bust sizes increase, so to incrementally do upper arm measurement.

While this is logical, it is not helpful for knitters with either small or larger upper arms for the pattern they are knitting.

Let’s look at an example.

In the Craft Council of America, size 40 (101.5) bust has an upper arm measurement of 12 inches (30.5cm). This measurement is without ease.

 I normally allow 1 ½ (1.5cm) inches for ease so this increases the upper arm measurement to 13 ½ inches (34.5cm).

What if the knitter has an upper arm measurement of 15 ½ inches(39.5cm)? To accommodate this, the knitter, using the craft council sizing would have to use the size 48 inch (122cm) bust size sleeves.

Now not all patterns go up to this size, mine included. Although I do intend to soon include larger sizes in my already published and any future patterns.

The main problem with using generic sizing is many patterns do not use upper arm circumference as a reference point in sleeve size. Indeed, the only reference in many patterns is the sleeve length.

Essentially, this denies the knitter making an accurate choice in the size of their sleeves.

Would it not be better for sleeves to be sized independently from the main pattern and included in the written pattern in multiple sizing so knitters can choose the appropriate upper arm measurement and be sure of the sleeve size they choose will fit comfortably.




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