How do I make a cap sleeve fit?

I’m still working on Athos (Rav link). Granted, I’ve changed sizes (K the back in a small and the front in a large up the the armseye and then altered both so the end size is a medium (long story…gauge change from swatch, etc) and the top now fits beautifully, but the sleeve does not. Even making a Large sleeve doesn’t fit. (see pic). It’s supposed to be a cap sleeve, but there’s no way it will fit in the armseye. The directions say to decrease every row for 21 rows and even doing it for 25 rows still doesn’t make it fit. I’m completely willing to start the sleeve over, but I’m not sure what difference that will make.
Here are the sleeve pattern instructions:
With larger needles, cast on 55(55-59-65-69-75) sts. Knit 4 rows. Working in st st, dec 1 st at each side of every row 21 times – 13(13-17-23-27-33) sts. Bind off. In the pic below, I CO 65 stitches. I don’t know if it matters, but I have VERY broad shoulders and knit the sweater to fit them.

You could measure the hole you have to fit the sleeve into and then figure out how many stitches it will take to fit in there and try to chart out how to make a sleeve that would have that many stitches. Maybe even lay the hole down on some graph paper with stitches the size of yours and draw that line on the paper and then try to figure out how to knit that. You might want it a little small so it could stretch slightly into place.

My last idea idea is to pick up stitches and knit the sleeve down. Then it would have to fit. I don’t know for sure how it would look but you could try it. You could sew the sweater together first and do the sleeve in the round. Just ideas.

I’m not sure how to graph it out, but I hadn’t thought of doing top down. Great idea! Thanks SO much, Merigold!

ETA: Do I pick up one/one stitches or is it a different ratio?

I’m sorry, I missed the question in your ETA, I thought it was part of your name and the extra stuff at the end. :oops:

I would do it about 1, 2, 3, and skip one. That usually works pretty well.

I’m trying to wrap my head around how this will work. I pick up the stitches and then DECREASE or INCREASE? The original pattern, starting at the bottom of the cap sleeve has you DECREASE every row. If I’m picking up stitches ALL the way around the sleeve cap, that’s a lot of stitches. How do I do the shaping? (Sorry if this is obvious, but my brain isn’t getting it!) Do I do short rows? You mentioned doing it in the round. That’s fine, but it’s a cap sleeve, so there’s very little actual sleeve. Am I over-thinking this?
Thanks SO much!

I’m no expert on this, but I think you would start by picking up sts on either side of the shoulder seam, maybe a couple inches worth. Then work a row and pick up one more from one side of the armhole, work across a row and pick up another from the other side and continue to zigzag across it in this manner.

I don’t think you are overthinking it. There is a little to it. What Sue said may work but I have never tried anything like that. I understand what you are saying about the sleeve not being long (like at the underarm). I think the short rows may be the answer, but I don’t 100% understand how to get desired shapings with them. It would be a experimental thing for me, but I was thinking short rows might be needed.

You could still do it in the round, but possibly doing it flat would allow you to see the shape you were getting easier, I don’t know. If it was in the round you could put it on a lifeline and try it on and see how it was developing from time to time. I guess you could do that with it flat too, but it would be a little different. Keep track of what you did (that worked) on the first one so you can reproduce it for the other side.

With most sleeves you only decrease at the underarms. On each side of a flat sleeve and on each end of in the round sleeves. You’ll probably need a combination of short rows and decreases.

That’s what my interpretation of ‘pick up sts for a set in sleeve’ is based on how others have sort of described it. I’ve never looked at the reference material in depth, or done it, so don’t really know if it would work.

I see now what you’re saying about working short rows on the cap itself, to get more depth without decreasuing the width as fast.

What I would have done with this pattern, is not decrease past the underam BO sts on the body, and in fact increased at the armhole edges to make the cap sleeve. I’m all for seamless knitting wherever possible.

Setting in sleeves with a cap-head style and making it work with the armscye is based on mathematical calculations. It’s not something you can fudge very easily. If you want to do it right, I’d look at this article , and if it doesn’t help you fix it, then try checking a book out of the library about dress pattern making.

Wow. This is trickier than I thought! no wonder I couldn’t wrap my head around it.
Rachel, I sew (or used to–I taught it), so it helped to read the article that drew on that knowledge. I’m still not sure how to do it top down with knitting or if I should just try it again bottom up. I sure wish I was better at math!

Sue, I’m not sure I understand what you mean when you said, “What I would have done with this pattern, is not decrease past the underam BO sts on the body, and in fact increased at the armhole edges to make the cap sleeve.” Can you explain in a bit more detail?

Merigold, I’m with you in not quite understanding how short rows would even work here. I wish I had more experience with knitting cap sleeves.

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Pick up stitches all the way around the armhole and knit row or two. (A lot of people like to add a couple of stitches at the underarm, so there won’t be a hole, and then decrease in the next row.) On the last plain row, I’d put in a lifeline. Figure out where you want/need to start adding fullness to the cap. (In sewing, this would be between the two notches on the sleeve pattern.) This is where you’ll start and end the short rows. Add as many short rows as you need, in whatever shape you need to make the sleeve cap shape. (Remember, you can also short row on a short row!) When the sleeve cap is the shape you want, start working even and work your sleeve down as normal.

Hope something in that helps!

Instead of knitting a separate sleeve for such a small one, when working on the body of the top, I would knit to the underarm, bind off the sts it say to. Usually the next step is to dec for shaping, but I would increase instead to make the edge of the armhole angle out and form the cap sleeve that way. It would look different I’m sure, but you get a little bit of a sleeve with a lot less hassle.

Oh, that’s how you do it!

Zina, I understand your idea and know where the markings on a sewing pattern would be. I haven’t had time to knit today, but I’m going to try tomorrow evening.
On the other hand, Do you think it would work to just make the largest size of the sleeve as written? It would certainly be easier than short rows! (They tend to throw me off unless I have time to sit down and do the whole thing in one sitting with no interruptions. I already did two sizes bigger, but it’s still too small for the armseye.:??

It wouldn’t hurt to try a larger size, it just might fit better. With sleeves you ‘ease’ them into the armscye anyway.

First off, are you [I]sure[/I] the armholes are the correct size? I’d hate for you to go through getting the sleeve the correct size, and then find out that the armscyes aren’t right! Make very sure that the armscye isn’t too low, especially allowing for seam allowances.

Given that you know it’s correct, there’s one very quick way to make a sleeve the right size: do it the old fashioned way! Measure the armscye pieces (ie: the front and then the back) so you know how long the measurement from the center sleeve edge to the right side, and the same on the left should be, sketch out a pattern piece on paper that meets the right measurement requirements and shape, then knit your piece so it fits the pattern piece. Voila. No counting of stitches, you just knit until it exactly fits the pattern piece. Then turn it over and make the other one, mirroring that. (Or keep track as you go of how many stitches and cast-offs, rows, etc. you do on the first sleeve and then reverse it for the other side.) Make sure you leave enough room on the pattern for the seam allowances.

Hope that helps!

ETA: also remember to allow for whatever happened to your swatch!

Zina, I tried on the top and clipped together the side seams. There’s a comfortable space under the arm (they way I like it to fit). I’m trying to remember from my sewing days if that’s good, or if it should be a bit tight to make room for the sleeve seam allowance. I don’t think so, but correct me if I’m wrong!

My strategy is to carefully measure the sleeve that’s too small and figure out how many stitches i need to make it fit the pattern/size i need. I STILL haven’t had time to knit. And I still have to do dishes and laundry before I can. Time to go!

Depends on how much ease you’ve got there. What I’d do is find a piece of clothing that fits the way you want this sweater to fit you and measure the armscye, taking note of where the seam falls under your arm. Then make the sweater armscye match that. But yes, it should be a bit tighter than you want it to end up because of the seam allowances.

The sleeve cap is finished and sewn in with difficulty.
So I need to unpick and and unravel the sleeve cap.
I have found this risky.
The sleeve cap is too full at its top.
How far should I unravel the the cap?

Welcome to KH!
What is the name of your pattern? Is it also Athos? Did you knit the sleeve bottom up?
It may be simplest to unseam the sleeve, outline it on paper and then draw in a smaller sleeve which will fit the armscye without the extra fullness at the top.
If the sleeve was knit bottom up, you’ll probably need to decrease more rapidly on each side and perhaps have more sts at the bind off than previously. That’ll tell you how far back you need to rip back in order to make the sleeve fit.
The article from knitty that was quoted above is very helpful.