back to the blue

When last we left our intrepid Hoodie Heroine…

She had banished the Blue Hoodie to the Naughty Corner for a little self-examination.

If you recall, I knit the body, hood, and one sleeve of a worsted-weight hoodie, only to discover that the sleeves, as designed, would not fit an actual human arm (or at least, not my actual human arm). The sleeve cap is very tall, and very narrow.

A few days ago, I got out the hoodie again, and sat down to start figuring out how to re-work the sleeve cap into something that would fit me.

(N.B. The next bit is going to be very knitterly, so those of you who don’t knit might want to just skim until you get past the numbers. I promise I’ll have some fun stuff at the end, as usual.)

The first thing I did was to pull out my Farmer’s Market Cardi, because it fits me perfectly, not only in the sleeve and shoulders, but all over (and yes, I did a bunch of modifications to make sure it fit, but still).

One of the things I teach in my sweater classes is how to use items you have in your closet, the clothes you love to wear because they fit perfectly, as aids to making a new sweater that you’ll also love to wear. In this case, I wanted to compare the sleeves, armholes, and sleeve caps to see what the heck was going on.

I laid the FMC out on a table, and then laid the blue hoodie on top, matching the tops of the shoulders at the seams on both. I checked the distance from that point (shoulder at armhole) to neck opening on both sweaters, and they more or less matched, given the different styling of the two sweaters (shawl collar vs. hoodie).

But take a look:

In the photo above, I have matched the shoulder seams at the tops of the armholes. In addition, I have matched the bottom of each armhole where it meets the side seam, so that I could check the depth and curve of the armholes. The measurements of the two armscyes matched up surprisingly well, which was a big help in what came next.

What came next, of course, was seeing the big difference in the actual sleeves. Look again at the photo above. The bottom seams of the sleeves are lined up, so the red you see above the blue hoodie is “what’s missing” from the shaping of the blue sleeve (given that the red sleeve fits me quite well). It’s really clear from this photo that the sleeve cap is indeed way too narrow and steep.

Not only that, but the sleeves themselves are very narrow all the way down, which explains why I felt they were pretty darn tight on me.

Aaannnd, as if that weren’t enough…

The sleeves are about an acre too long. (Yes, I know an acre is a measure of how-much-land, not a measure of length. Work with me here.)

Very, very informative. Just from laying out these two sweaters, one on top of the other, I got a ton (or as we say in Canada, “a metric Eff-tonne”) of information in a very short amount of time.

The next step was to take some actual measurements that I could then use to generate a revised pattern for a sleeve-that-fits for the hoodie.

We will now pause for station identification, because the next step in writing this post is to locate the notebook with the measurements I have already taken. Hold on…there it is! (Have I mentioned that I am a notebook junkie? Have I mentioned that I have a notebook in every single room, and sometimes more than one? Finding which notebook I made the note in is often a rather exciting adventure in my house.)

OK, I’m back. Here are the relevant measurements. (By the way, I am sure there is some cool way to make a table in this cool blog software, but I don’t have the time right now to spend an hour figuring it out, so pardon the plainjane formatting.)


Length of sleeve, cuff to first armhole BO – Red: 14.5″; Blue: 20″. 
See? I was right. It IS an acre too long!

Length, first armhole BO to top of sleeve cap – Red: 7″; Blue: 8″. 
This means that the sleeve cap on Blue is taller than on Red.

Armhole depth – Red: 8″; Blue: 8″.
Good. This gives a stable place from which to work other calculations, always helpful!

Width at top of sleeve cap – Red: 3″; Blue: 2″.
The top of the sleeve cap on Blue is extremely narrow, so that when I put on the sweater, the top of the cap pokes up like a little pyramid. It’s not wide enough to round out over the curve of my shoulder, in other words.

Width, widest part before armhole BO – Red: 16″; Blue: 12.25″. 
OOPS. Houston, we have located a problem. Blue’s widest part of the sleeve is nearly 4″ too narrow to fit my arm.

Widest part just after armhole BO – Red: 13″; Blue: 10″. 
Yup, there it is again. As the sleeve cap narrows, it is still 3″ too small.

More Measurements

The next step was to take a bunch of very fidgety and detailed measurements that would allow me to discover the rate of increase from cuff to armhole, and the rate of decrease from armhole to shoulder.

INCREASE RATE: Cuff to Armhole
These measurements are WIDTHS, taken at the stated intervals straight down from the row in which the underarm BOs began.

1″ down from underarm BO – Red: 15″ wide; Blue: 12.75″ wide.
2″ down – Red: 15″; Blue: 12.25″.
3″ down – Red: 14″; Blue: 12″.
Width of cuff – Red: 10.5″; Blue: 9.5″.
Length from cuff to first increase – Red: 2″; Blue: 3″.

DECREASE RATE: Shoulder to base of Armhole
These measurements are also widths, taken straight down from the top of the sleeve cap at the given intervals.

1″ down – Red: 4″ wide; Blue: 2.75″.
2″ down – Red: 5″; Blue: 4″.
See how steep that decrease is in Blue compared to Red?

3″ down – Red: 7″; Blue: 4.75″.
4″ down – Red: 8.75″; Blue: 5.5″.
5″ down – Red: 10″; Blue: 6.25″.
6″ down – Red: 12″; Blue: 6.75″.
7″ down – Red: 14″; Blue: 8.5″.
8″ down = base of armhole – Red: 16″; Blue: 10.25″.

As a friend of mine would say: Wrongity-wrong-wrong-RONG.

The next step, which I haven’t done yet, is to take those numbers and make a decent sleeve pattern out of them.

And sure, I could just use the sleeve pattern I used for the Farmer’s Market Cardi, but that would be cheating.

Also, then I wouldn’t have a blog post with VICTORY I DID IT YAY ME pasted all over it.

One must have one’s values straight.

In Which I Feel Like a Bit of a Dufus

Despite all the marketing training I received when I worked for Interweave, I seem to be a FAIL when it comes to self-marketing. It has been pointed out to me that I have not talked about something nice that happened just recently.

A very lovely woman sent me a book for review. Now, a lot of people send me books, but this one is special.

It’s called The Knitter’s Life List, and it’s written by Gwen Steege, the woman who sent me a copy. (Oh, and I’m not being paid to write about the book, and I don’t work for Storey, and all that disclaimer stuff.)

In bird-watching circles, a Life List is a carefully compiled list of every species of bird that one has spotted with one’s own eyes. Serious birders will travel serious mileage to fill out their Life Lists; the two hallmarks of a Serious Birder are either (a) a very long Life List, or (b) a Life List full of exotic/rare/shy species. Or both. (My life list is about 130 at this point, but I don’t bird seriously anymore.)

So a Knitter’s Life List is kind of a master checklist of The Best of the Knitting World: things to try, yarns to touch, and people to meet.

If you flip through the book, sooner or later you will come to this page:

Copyright Storey Publishing, all rights reserved.

That’s ME. (And Bertha, too, of course.) That’s a whole page about me and the stuff I do in the knitting community. (The real page has Actual Words on it, not the smudges you see here. I smudged the page because I didn’t want to spoil the surprise of discovering What They Wrote About Sandi.)

See on the cover of the book where it says “64 personalities to meet”? I’m one of those 64 folks.

I think the reason I haven’t really told many folks is that I’m rather stunned. I mean, Barbara Walker is in there. Meg Swansen. Clara Parkes. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Cat Bordhi. Kaffe Fassett.

And me.

When I saw this, I realized something: I have no clue as to the impact I have on those around me. I don’t think of myself as someone who might be included on the same list as Steph or Meg or Cat. I haven’t written a book (yet?). I haven’t published a ton of designs. I teach, but not all over the world. I write, but I don’t have anything near Steph’s readership.

And yet, there’s that page in that book. A book by a senior editor at Storey Publishing, no less (they publish Steph’s books). A book listing 63 other folks with Really Big Names.

It’s a very pretty book, and it’s full of all kinds of Good Stuff. I’m almost too shy to read the thing, though, because every time I open it, there’s that page, staring out at me, telling me that there’s someone out there named Sandi Wiseheart whom I really need to get to know better. I thought I knew her, but apparently, I don’t see her the way other folks do.

I’ll try to get over it. But…a BOOK. I’m in A BOOK, people. With covers and an ISBN number and everything.


Jabba the Cupcake. I just report ’em as I see ’em, folks, I have no clue who spends their time coming up with this stuff.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the Uterus Belt Buckle. I am speechless.

Bag of puppies, anyone? I found this wonderful Twitter account called @EmergencyPuppy. It sends out cute animal photos a couple of times a day, you know, just in case you have an emergency and need to see a bag of puppies or a kitten asleep on a windowsill.

Interesting mixed media art portraying the act of knitting in 3D.

Nicholas baked a cake the other night. From scratch.

It’s lemon cake with raspberry filling and lemon buttercream frosting.

And if THAT isn’t inspirational, I don’t know what else is.

About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. Two toddler-age kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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29 Responses to back to the blue

  1. InJuneau says:

    Oh, Oh, Oh! We just got that book in at my LYS, but I didn’t take time to look through it when I was helping my LYSO with stocking the shelves. I’ll have to go check when I’m running the shop this weekend!

  2. georg says:

    Meeting you is a highlight because there are few truly Good gentle people in the world, and you just radiate.

  3. enallagma9 says:

    Oh, and you’re in that new book by Lela Nargi, too (if I spelled her name right). Or at least, a photo of your shawl is. Something like that. I’ll try to remember to dig out the details tonight.

  4. Carol Ann Burden says:

    First of all, the cake looks delicious. That said, I have printed off every “how to” blog post you ever did at Interweave – such a depth of knowledge and such an easy way of explaining the sometimes difficult makes your teaching truly special. I guess you could say I have a book (binder) totally written by you!!

  5. Naomi says:


    And you are not, I repeat, NOT, helping me resist the urge to bake.

  6. Gloria19 says:

    So exciting that you are in the book. And YES you deserve to be there. I think the fact
    that you can’t see this is one of the things that makes you so charming. Congratulations!
    And did you have to post that picture of Nicolas’ cake. It is making me drooooool

  7. Rachel says:

    that cake looks delicious! And OF COURSE you are a “personality to meet”. You are caring, giving, and inspirational. You TEACH (what, you thought the columns at Knitting Daily weren’t teaching?). and you give great Chispas 🙂

  8. Sharon says:

    That’s wonderful that you are in that book! You truly deserve it too. You reached a lot of knitters when you were writing Knitting Daily and many of us missed you when you left. It was pure luck that I found your blog. You have a unique ‘voice’ that many of us enjoy. Take today’s explanation of how to fix your blue hoodie sleeve; you made it clear and easily understood and did it with humour and wit. That’s an accomplishment, given the intricacy of sleeve shaping, and the potential for the reader’s eyes to glaze over at the sight of all those numbers.

    I’m sure I’d recognize the names of most of the must-meet people in the book, but you’re the one I’d enjoy meeting because I just know you’d be easy to talk to about knitting, cats, and so on. I wouldn’t have a clue about what to say to someone like Kaffe Fassett or Barbara Walker.

  9. stitchesandwords says:

    I wish I had the gumption for sweater math right now. AND congratulations on beating that sleeve. AND I’m glad I’ve already met you. AND I think you’re selling yourself short in comparison to “those Big Names,” BUT I can understand the impulse, BUT I still think you sell yourself short.

    AND I think you’re awesome, generally. Books or not. Being in books is just extra coolness, though, congrats 🙂

  10. teabird says:

    I was chuffed when I saw that book — there’s Sandi! I know her! She’s luminous! YAY!


  11. Marjorie Vig says:

    You so belong in the book, I used to read your posts in Interweave, and then you left , so I read the replacement blogger, but she wasn’t the same as you. so time went on , and I still missed your blogs. so I said to myself, she must be somewhere on the internet, so I googled you and found your wonderful blog. you are indeed someone special in the knitting world. Please don’t leave us. M

  12. Suzie says:

    I just have to agree with all of the above. You are a very special voice in the knitting community because you are a wonderful mix of immense knowledge and willingness to share your process as you do your fiber arts. I learn something new from each of your posts and even more, I enjoy learning about you and your life. Now about that book of your own . . . .

  13. Deb says:

    Congrats on being in the book. I think you belong in that group of wonderful knitters! You are also a writer and a very good one. I totally enjoyed your posts at Interweave and I miss you overthere, but hey I love this blog. And as Susie said, “now about that book of your own . . . .”

  14. Bonnie says:

    There are many things to say. 1. I would have copied the Farmer’s Cardi sleeves and been thrilled that I managed to make two sweaters with sleeves that fit. I am very impressed with you. 2. I have this book on my wishlist, and now it’s cooler because I know you’re in it! Hooray for you! 3. I follow a blog called “Hello, adorable” ( to get that pick-me-up of cute. Check it out. 4. That cake looks delicious. Mmmmm, lemon.

  15. Cat says:

    This whole post shows why you should be in that book. You are definitely one of the people to meet – you show knitters how to do the math to solve their sweater problems.

    Also, I don’t think stealing the sleeve from another sweater is cheating at all Not as much fun, maybe but not cheating. But hey, that might be my low moral values.

  16. I came across that book recently – it looks intriguing, especially now! Congrats on your appearance in it. Wanna come for tea so I can add you to my list?

    PS. You’re not to keep that cake all to yourself, are you?

  17. Meg t says:

    Of course you’re in the book. You are the “knitting personality” I would most like to meet because you are caring, understanding, down to earth, and charming as well as someone who can clearly and simply explain knitting technique, especially that which involve math. I’ve learned so much from you at Interweave and here and reading your blog is one of the highlights of my week (ok, so I’ve been flaring and have a pretty narrow life right now. But you give me a boost!). Don’t sell yourself short!

    That cake is to die for!!

  18. molly says:

    of course you are a knitting personality to meet! i give my best set of knitting needles to be able to invite you for tea…or best two sets if you invited me for tea!

  19. Carole (3strands) says:

    I almost emailed you a couple of weeks ago, Sandi, when I got my copy of The Knitter’s Life List. I was thinking to myself – “Hey! I wonder if Sandi knows she’s in this here book!” WAAAYYYY to humble, my friend. And it made me love the author all the more because she put one of my favourite knitting personalities in to her book.

  20. Sandy says:

    You are THE knitting personality I want, and have tried, to meet. Of course you’re in the book. Congratulations on the much deserved recognition. By the way, Stitches South is coming up in April 2012. Any chance you could make it this year?

  21. Arla says:

    Sandi, you are much loved, appreciated and soooooo deserve to be in the book…
    You are an accomplished knitter who is willing to share the secrets of your techniques…not only with knitting, but with spinning and fibres…not all experts are willing to do that…
    You are also an incredible teacher…although I have never sat in on one of your classes, I have learned much from you…
    As others have said, and as I’ve said before, you were truly inspirational as the Interweave knitting blogger…now we can have you “to ourselves”… because you have your own blog and we can ‘converse’ with you…
    It would be one of my dreams come true to meet you in person…
    Thanks for everything that you have done and are doing for us, and for all you will show us in the future!!!!

  22. Caryn says:

    Congrats Sandi! You deserve to be in the book, you’re the reason I subscribed to Knitting Daily. You inspire me with every blog entry to be a better knitter and spinner. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.
    The cake looks like it’s to die for, yummo!

  23. That is so cool that you’re in the book. And now I’ve got one of the items checked off, because I’ve met you twice at 2 sock summits!

    Great work on the blue sleeve. And I would totally crib the numbers from the other sweater. It’s enough that you’ve figured out what’s wrong and how to solve it. The first picture with the kitty is sweet, too.

  24. Tamara says:

    I soooo echo everything said above, especially about missing you at Interweave and loving that I found you again–you’re a very important voice, not just in my knitting life, but an inspirational writing and ‘personhood’ voice, too. So Yay You!

    AND, you know how to make math and the schematics of knitting simple enough for even me, and I’m sure many others, to understand and, more importantly, to be less intimidated by when we approach it ourselves. That is another thing that makes you a phenomenal teacher.

    I haven’t even gotten to the picture of the cake–I had to write this down right off!

  25. Pat says:

    Hi Sandi,
    Never heard of the life list until this post but obviously I have one since meeting you is at the top of my “Before I Die” list. Both my husband ( a non- knitter ) and I look forward to your post and then talk about about the interesting things you post. I come from a family of teachers and you are a real star. Math has never made any sense to me but you actually present it in a way that I understand. You are remarkable! Now I have to go by the book. Sandi, you are one of a kind and make the world a better place. Thank you!!!!!!
    Pat aka westies

  26. Tamara says:

    OMG, I just got to the cake….you’re right, THAT’s inspirational! And now I’m drooling….

  27. Astrid Bear says:

    Congratulations on being in the Life List — what fun! Would you say you are rare and hard to bag, like the Pileated Woodpecker, or wonderful and yet not to hard to find in the right location, like the Cardinal? Whatever you are, you are swell:)

  28. GeniaKnitz says:

    Sandi, you would definitely be on my Life List, if I had one! I join the others who have said how much we loved your Knitting Daily column, and how much we missed you when you left. And were so very glad to find your blog.
    The Sleeve Lesson is so clear, as your columns always were. Have you ever been a math teacher?
    AND you have gorgeous cats.
    AND we (I) need the recipe for That Cake!

  29. Wa-hoo! I’m going to have to track down a copy of that book. And to think I was the mere mortal who got to sit next you once upon a time. : )

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