Second Sleeve Syndrome: The New SSS

Happy Baby Shower to the lovely Ginny. I have so enjoyed the weekly Yarn Along and have met so many fabulous knitters through this wonderful forum over the past year or so. Thank you Ginny, and best wishes with your new baby girl to be. In perfect form, I am tardy with my contribution, but I am working on it. Promise.

Second Sleeve Syndrome. The New SSS You Never Hear About.

Usually when I hear SSS, I think of Second Sock Syndrome. You know, when you knit one sock with vigor but run out of steam somewhere before starting (or finishing) the second one.

I have decided there is a new SSS: Second SLEEVE Syndrome. And it’s a whopper.

Over the past year, I have taken up sock knitting. I enjoy it, and I don’t mind knitting the second sock (so far). I do however, cringe a bit trying to get the second one to precisely match the first one. I haven’t stressed over it so far, because socks are forgiving that way. No one will truly even notice if one sock is a wee bit longer than the other, or if the pattern doesn’t quite match exactly. Socks are on your feet. In your shoes. Tucked away, to some extent.

Sleeves on the other hand are on full display. Out in the world. On the conference table to be examined by wandering eyes. There’s no hiding a sleeve, or rather two sleeves that don’t exactly match, particularly in length.

Second Sleeve Syndrome: The SSS You Never Hear About!

I finished my second sleeve for Rosemont from Hannah Fettig’s Home & Away: Knits for Everyday Adventures last night. And I lived to tell the tale, although I will admit suffering from bouts of anxiety along the way. I decided to knit my sleeves a bit on the short side, presuming they would grow a bit during blocking. If I were more ambitious, I would have calculated the difference in blocked swatch gauge to unblocked sleeve and done a bit of calculus to determine exactly how much my sleeve might grow in length.

But, I figured screw it. Swatches lie anyway. At least when it comes to sleeves, I have found swatches to be particularly dishonest and misleading.

This means:

  1. My sleeves will not grow and will block too short, still. This will result in a need to unravel the cast-off and knit longer sleeves, which will lead to more complaining and tears (and chocolate and possibly a martini), which will lead to another blog post about me complaining about how my sleeves came out too short even though I predicted hoped they wouldn’t.
  2. My sleeves will grow longer than I guessed it might and still be too long even though I was hoping it would block to be just right.
  3. Maybe I will get it right and it will all work out merrily, proper length and all. This option is unlikely, however. I never get lucky.

So, Second Sleeve Syndrome it is. I wonder if there is a cure…

I am STILL reading Furiously Happy, which I truly can’t recommend enough. I read it at night after my knitting is tucked away. I laugh out loud each and every time I pick the book up.

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19 Comments

  • Reply Alina April 20, 2016 at 5:38 am

    I am a weirdo – I love knitting the second sleeve 🙂 I already know what to expect and usually there are no surprises! I am so looking forward to seeing this sweater finished! So please, get your chocolate and martini and knit away!

  • Reply itsallaboutpurple April 20, 2016 at 5:54 am

    awww the second sleeve, i have never knitted the first sleeve 😉

    i can’t wait to see this sweater finished, such a pretty color!!!

  • Reply Tina April 20, 2016 at 6:34 am

    I can’t wait to see the finished sweater and the second sleeve is like the mate to a sock, but once it’s done, it’s heavenly!

  • Reply Heather (@TownsendHouse1) April 20, 2016 at 6:39 am

    I definitely have the sock issue – and have only knit one sweater for my daughter, which might be cheating because she was just 6 at the time, so not as difficult to get through – all the other “sweaters” I have knit have been sleeveless 🙂 Maybe vests should be in your future!

  • Reply Ginny Foreman April 20, 2016 at 6:49 am

    Thank you. Andrea!

  • Reply pumpkin sunrise April 20, 2016 at 9:05 am

    I have little problems with sss. I love to knit and a sleeve takes so much less time than the body!! Good luck 🙂

  • Reply Sierra April 20, 2016 at 9:16 am

    I’ve decided that on my next sweater that both sleeves will be knitted at the same time. I always forget to write down what I’m changing or how far apart my decreases are !

  • Reply Kat with a K April 20, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I am certain that Second SLEEVE Syndrome is a thing… and in my house it also goes by the way of second sock syndrome – knit one, knit the mate a long time later! This exacerbates all the issues you spoke of with the knitting of the second sleeve. Yeah. It is absolutely a thing!

  • Reply knittedblissjc April 20, 2016 at 11:42 am

    I have the same problem with sleeves, getting the length just right! I was given Furiously Happy for Christmas, but haven’t had a chance to crack it yet- I’ve heard amazing, hilarious things!

  • Reply Stefanie April 20, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    This was a clever acronym. Good thinking. I usually knit my sleeves 3/4 length. I don’t like having to push up sleeves or rolling them up. It’s a pain for me. I’m a bit anal. I use my stitch counter app to keep track of exactly what I’m knitting so the second sock/sleeve matches the other.

  • Reply Vi April 20, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Furiously Happy is fantastic. As a parent with a child with severe depression and anxiety, I found the author’s irreverent take on life and honesty about her life with mental illness, her words, not mine, refreshing and illuminating.

  • Reply Caroline April 21, 2016 at 12:44 am

    SSS to me was always second sleeve syndrome, but then I wasn’t a sock knitter. I knit mostly flat sleeves and always do two at once. It helps with matching shaping and once they’re done you usually ready to start assembly of your item. I also knit cardigan fronts together.
    I do hope your sleeves are just perfect!

  • Reply Christine April 21, 2016 at 3:22 am

    I am currently finishing the sweater Aibrean and I am on the second sleeve and it is torture! All I can think of is what I want to knit next and why is it taking so long to finish. LOL

  • Reply TheGreenhorn April 21, 2016 at 11:28 am

    This post has come to me at the perfect time. I am currently suffering from both SSS and SSS thanks to my great idea to start a pair of socks and a sweater at pretty much the same time. And I am heading to the book store today to pick up Furiously Happy. Thanks for the recommendation.
    Cheers!

  • Reply zeta (kalianapodi.wordpress.com) April 22, 2016 at 12:26 am

    I love knitting with my DPNs so much that I don’t mind knitting a second sleeve or a second sock. Actually I usually pick up the sleeve before the body is done as a break when my hands start to hurt or for a bit mindless movie knitting.

  • Reply Rosemont Cardigan Complete - This Knitted Life April 30, 2016 at 4:05 am

    […] The only other change I made was knitting slightly shorter sleeves, which worked out marvelously despite all my consternation. […]

  • Reply Barb Conroy May 11, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    I don’t know why but I must be a nutter and do both sleeves at once! No SSS for me!!

  • Reply Reed's Sweater: Locksley by Emily Ringelman - This Knitted Life January 3, 2017 at 4:02 am

    […] hit sleeve #2 (fully engrossed in a horrible case of Second Sleeve Syndrome) and ran out of the main color. I wasn’t even close to finishing the […]

  • Reply FO: Riverton Tee + MAJOR PATTERN DISCOUNT - This Knitted Life April 16, 2017 at 4:02 am

    […] It’s been about a year since I knitted my last top. At the time, it was the Rosemont cardigan by Hannah Fettig and I was having some SSS issues (you remember, Second Sleeve Syndrome). […]

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