Sometimes you find that a child or grandchild grew taller without growing much wider! The long sleeves of the sweater you lovingly knit that once fit perfectly now end several inches or centimeters above the wrist. Or maybe even the body is now too short! What was once a normal length sweater seems cropped. Perhaps you knit a sweater and simply miscalculated the arm or body length! Or perhaps your scribbled design notes were so disarrayed that you knit the arm to the wrong measurement – like I did with Thor’s most recent sweater!
What to do?
- You might pick up stitches from the cast on rows of the sleeves or body and lengthen the cuffs/bottom band. (Of course, this may create an oddly disproportionately long cuff or band.)
- Alternatively, you could rework the sweater into one with three-quarter lengths arms or even short sleeves.
Or you could try my preferred method.
- With a blunt needle and a contrasting color yarn, pick up all the stitches in one row.
- Now, being sure to leave a row in between, pick up all the stitches in a parallel row.
- Cut between the rows of picked up stitches.
- Transfer the picked up stitches from the bottom garment piece onto needles and knit as many inches or centimeters you need to lengthen the garment.
- Transfer the top row of picked up stitches to needles and then, using the Kitchener stitch, graft the pieces together. (Picture from Nancy Bush’s Folk Socks; see also YouTube demonstration from Webs.)
I have used this method many times over the years to lengthen both sleeves and bodies. The addition and join is invisible in Thor’s sweater.
What if you haven’t saved enough yarn from the original project? Use contrasting yarns of the same weight and knit in a patterned band. (Source)
What if the project has faded from sun or washings so your yarn saved from the original project is now a different shade? Use an interesting stitch pattern to knit the band. (The eyes will be drawn to the stitching.)
Don’t panic … Create a “fake seam” on the addition section.
What if the original project doesn’t lend itself to simply adding in a lengthening section (e.g., heavy cables, Fair Isle, etc.). There’s always regifting. 🙂
What do you do if you find the sweater body or arms are too short?