Sizing Matters

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It’s very important as a first step to your successful knitting to have an accurate set of measurements for whoever you are knitting for (babies and pets excepted). If the knitting is for you it is best to have the measuring done by another person as it is difficult to measure yourself accurately.

Here is a list of the most essential areas you need:

  1. Chest or bust (widest part just below armpits).

  2. Shoulder (bone to bone, not including upper arm).

  3. Underside length (just below armpit to bottom of garment).

  4. Underarm (just below sleeve seam to wrist).

  5. Upperarm (bicep circumference).

  6. Wrist (circumference).

  7. Arms eye (circumference around entire armhole).

Please remember in taking circumference measurements to keep a finger inside the tape to avoid a too-tight result.

The second most important step is checking out the actual knitting measurements that the pattern is designed for. Some pattern makers work right to sizes (e.g. 32, 34, 36, etc.). Others take those measurements and add on an arbitrary ease. Either way works if you know how you want your clothes to fit.

If the pattern does not offer you measurements — actual and knitting — then you will have to check yourself. It’s only a matter of dividing the stitches given for the size you think is correct by the stated stitch gauge — you will then have the actual knitting result of the pattern. Which is why your gauge is so important.

Knitting is just a collection of arithmetic formulas. You have so many inches to cover and it takes so many stitches to cover those inches. If you are still unsure about fit, especially if you are a beginning knitter, a very safe way to start is by measuring a garment that fits correctly and going by those measurements. Don’t forget: there are no knitting police — you are free to change any of the measurements in the pattern to better fit you.

I know some of this sounds complicated and it’s easier just to follow a pattern. It is easier, provided the pattern suits your needs. Otherwise, you are back to the lady in my swatch post, who when asked if her knitted garments fit, replied "SOMEBODY."

Feel free to comment on this post or contact me (see below) with a specific question on your current project. The only dumb questions are the ones not asked.

PS About Swatches

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In response to follow-up questions about remedies for swatches that do not match patterns…..

There are several solutions in addition to the obvious one of changing yarns or patterns. Depending on how great the difference is you might switch the size you have selected (see my post on Sizing Matters) or substitute the correct stitches per inch (gauge) and stitches per size given in the pattern if your arithmetic skills are up to the task. We will be talking about these formulas at a later time.

Keep the questions coming!
Knits by Jani. Design by Pocket