In Which I Re-Knit A Sleeve Four Times, Because I’m Dumb That Way

This week has been all about knitting sleeves. One sleeve. Over and over again.

I’m knitting the Rocky Coast Cardigan in a heavy worsted shetland wool. I had to go down a couple of  needle size increments to get gauge, knitting it in size 9 needles instead of 10.5, as the pattern calls for.  This has worked fine for the body of the cardigan, but when it came to the sleeves, I had to make some changes.

Sleeve attempt #1: I knitted several inches of the sleeve in size 9 needles, the same I had been using for the rest of the cardigan. Then I decided to test the sleeve on my own arm. Tiiiiggghht. Soooo tiiiiggght. I’m not supposed to be knitting a compression garment. Having decided this…I continued to knit for a couple more inches, just in case was having a fat day or something. No such luck. Oog. Soooo tiiigght.  So I gritted my teeth and set down to the ripping back. Rrrrriiiiip. Grumble. Rrrriiiiip. Grumble.

Sleeve attempt #2:  What have I learned from my first attempt? Gauge doesn’t necessarily work the same way on a piece knitted in the round. Add to that the fact that I was using smaller needles and thicker yarn than the pattern suggested and I had a recipe for trouble. On sleeve attempt #2 I picked up additional stitches on the underarm to give me a wider diameter. Then I knitted a few inches. Still too tight. @#$%!

Sleeve attempt #3:  After ripping back, yet again, I finally did what I should have done after the first rip back. I added a lifeline. Next, I decided to pick up needles in size 10 and try knitting the sleeve with those. At last, success!! Unfortunately, I had not been paying sufficient attention tot he cable pattern and had accidentally repeated one part of it over and over instead of maintaining the variations that create the wavy cable.  Crap! But I’ve been working on this so long! Surely I don’t have to rip back again! You know, I kind of like the look of this alternative cable pattern. It doesn’t clash with the body cable pattern. It just  looks…simpler. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with simple, or with taking artistic license with a pattern. Who’s to say I can’t change the sleeves to suit myself? I can do both sleeves this way and they’ll match and it will look like I did it on purpose. Excellent solution. I then proceeded to knit several more inches in this new pattern. The next day  picked up the sleeve and sighed. That looks dumb.  Riiiiiiiipppp.

I ripped back on sleeve #3 just before knit night. I took it along, determined to finally make some progress. Thankfully, I had some moral support. Charlie showed intense interest in all goings on, although he was a little offended that I was using my finger to knit and not to scratch his head.

Sleeve attempt #4:  Thank goodness I put in a life line. I started over, this time knitting the cable pattern faithfully. Victory!

Almost done with this sleeve, after four tries. Working on the cuff right now. Yee haw!


  1. Caity – You are the 100th follower of my blog, Agujas. First – thank you so much for taking the time to follow and read posts from Agujas. I have a small gift for you but I need your mailing address. You can read my post announcing you as the 100th follower here: You can email your mailing address to me at Veronica (at symbol) AgujasBlog (dot) com. THANK YOU! — Veronica

      • Oh, yeah – I tend to take little … inspirational breaks… you know, for getting … inspiration… from time to time. Only totally ignorant folks would ever call this ‘giving up’, ‘resigning’ or (the horror!) ‘throwing the blanket’. 😉

    • Chances ate that I’ll be knotting this cardigan a second time do at least I can hope that I’m hitting all the pitfalls the first time around.

  2. Good for you, Caity, for keeping at it until you achieved the result you wanted. I once had to reknit sleeves after the sweater was washed and block because the sleeves, but not the body, stretched about 6 inches in length. (Yuck! I’ll never use that yarn again!) Fortunately, the sleeves were knitted in the round from the armhole down, so I didn’t have to rip back to the beginning. It was worth the effort because I ended up with a nice sweater that I wear a lot instead of a sweater that languishes in a drawer because it doesn’t fit.

    Your sleeve looks fabulous!

    • Thank you. I like the way it’s turning out too.

      It’s good to read your story. Makes me feel a little better. Knitting misery shared is knitting misery halved.

  3. The idea of gauge changing by garment piece is terrifying. I am currently struggling through Jaywalking by Twisted Sisters. This has been a wip for about five years and I am going to finish the sucker this month if it kills me. I may not even want to wear it I am so over this, but this is my summer for finishing wips. Think I’ll blog about it. It is about finishing things–no matter how many times it takes.

  4. Hahaha! I love that you kept knitting even after realizing the problem… Twice! Just exactly as I would have done (ahem. Have done) 🙂

    • The thing I have done the most is the “stupid knitter’s trick” of knitting with the end of a longtail cast on. Don’t know how many times I have done that, but I couldn’t count them on all my digits and toes by a long shot.

  5. I always have to go up a needle size when knitting sleeves in the round. My purl gauge is larger. When I knit garter stitch I’ll have to go down a size.

    • Merci beaucoup! I’m not out of the woods yet. Tonight I shall finish the right sleeve. Then it’s on to the collar. I hope I can block a little bit of extra room into the shoulders.

  6. Hi Caity, I’ve been enjoying reading your blog 🙂 This cardigan looks like a real labour of love, though well worth it! I was intrigued by the life lines (never heard of such a thing), so I’ve googled them… WOW – I never thought of doing that. All that time I’ve spent ripping back and picking up stitches, and missing the odd couple and not noticing, and knitting a few twisted and not noticing, and changing my tension through the HORROR of re-knitting the same section for the umpteenth time – I feel this tip is going to change my life!! Thank you 🙂

    • Life lines have certainly changed my life…or they would if I remembered to use them consistently 🙂 Good luck!

  7. I saw it on Ravelry, that the sleeves were too small. This is what makes Ravelry so great. Nowadays I look before I leap. Yours looks great and so does your Vitamin D. I wear my hand knits all the time & feel so much pride! Nice to hear about this from someone who does not think it weird!

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