Unvravelling the sleeve stitches and picking up the stitches that need to be knit as I go!

I have the most patient of children!  As they grew up they heard – “Just one more row/round”;  “Let me finish this pattern repeat”;  “Not now, I’m counting”;  and other such statements!  Many times then and now Christmas gifts would be wrapped still on the needles and need to be finished, in fact – it is now a Christmas tradition that at least one gift be still on the needles!!

Sleeve separated into 2 pieces with sleeve stitches ready to be knit.

Last year I knit my son a sweater for Christmas.  He had requested a sweater – with sleeves – up until last year he only wanted vests – and I was happy to oblige.  Like most of us I started to run into the usual time dilemma as Christmas drew closer – a week before Christmas I knew that time was going to be an issue and I really wanted this sweater to be finished.   To help solve my problems I managed to convince myself that my 6’4″ son really did not have arms that long and I knit the sleeves a little shorter! 

Stitches picked up from cuff ready to be grafted onto the longer sleeve, marker marks the original length.

 The sweater is beautiful.  I knit with Akapana, a Mirasol Project yarn and kept the shaping and pattern simple to better show off the beauty of the rustic, slightly thick, thin tweeded yarn.  While the sweater was beautiful, I was wrong – my son did have arms that long and maybe even longer!!  Now, 11 months later I have finally fixed the problem.  And only a few weeks before this Christmas he is about to receive his last Christmas’ present!

Grafting almost finished!

Grafting almost finished. An invisible join - just maintain your knitting tension!

The fix was not really difficult.  Just fiddley work, not much fun to do but less work than taking the sweater apart and re-knitting the sleeves!  I cut the sleeve, unravelled a row of knitting, knit another 2.5 inches to each sleeve and then grafted the wrist ribbing back on to the sleeve.  Voila!  Sleeves are the right length and you can’t even tell that they were too short!  Well I can tell, but I know what to look for as I am now very familliar with the changes that were made!

The added 2.5inches is between the markers - if you look carefully you can see lines where the knitting was added. After wearing (or reblocking) they won't be visible at all!

This cut and add technique is very useful for lengthing or shortning sweaters. It is not necessary to graft on the rib.  I choose to graft rather than knit to save time and effort.  If you have the yarn and don’t mind knitting your ribbing again you could continue the knitting straight into the ribbing and ended when your ribbing was long enough.

Happy Knitting


The finished sweater with 21 inch arm inseams!