Free EBooks



Looking In The Mirror

Aug 13, 2007

"You Are Beautiful." This phrase was taped to the frame of every bathroom mirror in my grandparents' home, a bit of whimsy-with-a-message provided by my mischievous, loving grandpa for his visiting granddaughters. For years, I'd look at that phrase and think, "Yeah, right" and then try to find something else--something not me--to look at whilst washing my hands. It was so hard for me to believe that a plump, bespectacled teenager with brown hair, brown eyes, and olive skin could be anything even close to beautiful.

Sometimes, there are definite advantages to being all grownup--such as being able to see beauty in all its forms, in real women and real men of all shapes, sizes, and colors. As I read your comments and emails the past few days, the words my grandfather put on the mirror kept coming back to me, over and over: You Are Beautiful. Your passion and desire to knit well-fitting garments for yourselves, no matter your size or shape, shows that deep inside yourself, no matter what society says, you, too, know that you are beautiful.

So how beautiful are you? Above are the results of the Sizing Survey, which was filled out by a staggering 8,974 people since it was posted last Wednesday. As so many of you pointed out, the survey only asked about bust size, which I chose because it is the measurement used by most knitting patterns as a determinant of pattern sizing. However, bust size alone isn't an accurate gauge of what will fit you--and what will look good on you. So I'm looking into devising a survey that will cover a number of critical measurements, giving us a much more accurate picture of how beautiful you all REALLY are!

For now, however, there are the results of the Sizing Survey from last week.

Interesting, huh? Was that what you expected to see, or not?

An Essential Tool for Every Knitter (and Crocheter)

This year, for Christmas, I'm asking for a full-length mirror, one of those freestanding oval mirrors with a nice wood frame. I'll make sure there is really good lighting in the corner where that mirror will go, and then, once I have it all set up, I'm going to paint or stencil or somehow emblazon the top of the mirror with my grandfather's words: "You Are Beautiful."

The mirror isn't just sentimental--a full-length mirror is an important tool for any knitter (or crocheter), in order to get to know the body you are knitting for, to get a clear view of how your knitted garments fit, and to learn what works (and what doesn't work) on your particular shape. Wherever you place your mirror, make sure that you have good lighting so you can really see what's what! If looking in the mirror intimidates you, then give yourself some encouragement: hang pretty scarves above the mirror, light a candle, play nice music--and maybe try putting one of my grandpa's little labels somewhere on the frame.

One Garment, Different Women

This week's featured free pattern is the Corset Pullover by Robin Melanson. After reading all your requests to see photos of garments on different-sized people, I managed to talk some of the gals around the office into trying this one on for you! I'll have those photos and more for you Wednesday and Friday.

Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles today? The Bonsai Tunic by Norah Gaughan. Almost done stitching up the side coming soon of the finished item!

Related Posts
+ Add a comment


on Aug 22, 2007 5:07 PM
I was on vacation so didn't see the survey until just now, in time to get results - I'm not surprised by them, necessarily. Think of it this way: as a large woman, I just assume nothing in the magazine will fit me - I do most of my knitting for others. I'm sure really large woman aren't subscribing (or knitting clothing) in percentages that match our more svelte sisters because of the dearth of readily available patterns for us, so we aren't responding in the same percentages, either. I am aware of Jillian and Amy's book and a few others out there, and can do the math to change patterns when so moved, but we're definitely in a minority. It's just a fact of my life for the last 10 years or so.

If you had a bigger range of sizes, I would make something for myself more often. I can't just alter sleeve length or the shape of a neckline to make something fit me...I need to alter the entire garment, and as a large woman, that's a lot of work to do and then a lot of knitting to do to possibly find out that the end result doesn't look good.

How large am I? I'm at work and don't have a tape measure handy - I wear a 48C bra, and usually a 3 or 4X in clothing. Except for the last 10 years I'd been a 10/12 for all of my 'adult' life - from 18 on. I look at the picture of you and I think - ok, I'll give you busty...but a plus size? I don't think so! Keep up the good work, Sandi - I'm not complaining at all. Love the magazine, love the website, love to knit!
PegMorrow wrote
on Aug 20, 2007 11:00 AM
Taking a bust measurement isn't truly the whole story. If you are a large busted women with a small frame it might make more sense to use your high bust measurement to determine size and then determine how much ease the designer had in mind. This is what a seamstress does when sewing garments. It insures that the design fits the neck and shoulder area. My particular problem, when choosing a pattern as a large busted woman, is to determine if it will fit my neck and shoulder properly. Therefore I have to ask myself, do I knit the size that corresponds with my bust measurement or do I knit the nigh bust size and then add darts or more stitches just in the bust area.
Sandyk wrote
on Aug 16, 2007 8:01 PM
Please give a pattern for the post scarf-ready for a little more complicated set like me. The intermediate may even be too challenging without someone sitting next to me...
Anonymous wrote
on Aug 16, 2007 6:37 PM
knitting, like sewing, is a solo activity. so unless you have a form, you must make every project twice to get it right and wearable. at least in sewing you can make a quick check with muslin, which is affordable. i haven't found an equivalent for knitting samples. great article - we more coverage on similar topics. we then can all have clothes to be proud of
Megan wrote
on Aug 16, 2007 12:28 PM
Hi Sandi - I shared my 42 inch bust measurement with Interweave and was very interested to see that there are quite a few women of my size out there! I browsed through the fall issue and noticed that (once again) the models showing the new patterns do not measure "up" to the more generous sizes of your readership. Just giving patterns with larger sizes is not enough. If we are all beautiful, then why isn't Interweave using real women for their photo shoots?
CarolA wrote
on Aug 16, 2007 8:58 AM
So okay, why can't we have all the desgines photographed on real people?
I understand the constraints, how about one issue a year with real people?
KirstinP wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 8:29 PM
I'm glad you felt loved and encouraged by your grandfather, and I'm sure that was an expression of his love and concern for you, which is just wonderful. But why is it that women--even the most independent, accomplished, smart, strong, talented women --feel that we have to find a way to be Beautiful? Can we someday get beyond that? I think it's great that most of us at least pay lip service to the idea that there are many ways to be beautiful . . . but, again, who decided that beauty, however it is defined, is the most important attribute that a woman can have?? It's not even anything you have control over! How frustrating to live your life (and I'm one who has) finding a way to seem beautiful, when you could value so many other things that you can control, like fitness or kindness or hard work? How can we have feelings of self worth when we are trying to do something we can't control?

Please, everyone, read or reread The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolfe.
LisaB wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 5:14 PM
I join Heather H. in wanting to see more patterns that are knit in the round. I'm so sick of purling and seaming when it isn't absolutely necessary.
HeatherH wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 4:09 PM
off the size topic, and a good question/suggestion for Eunny, i would like to see more items knit in the round. i still don't get why designers plan knit garments like we're using a sewing machine. some items may need it for shaping, but you can increase and decrease in the round too (and do short rows!). i know bulk can be as issue when carrying around a huge sweater, but i LOVE the feeling of being done when i'm done and not having to go back and sew the pieces together.
and thanks for the link to IK KAL! just wish my fall issue was here........
HeatherH wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 3:59 PM
just wanted to chime in on the ease chant. i always have to size up for broad shoulders (which puts me out of the average size range and often off the pattern size range), plus i like to do things my way, so i'm always tweaking something on patterns. knitting is so easy to tailor and the more i knit the more i learn how to. has several great tutorial/articles on changing patterns, as well as picking patterns to match your body and style. they've helped me loads - growing up with 6 brothers didn't give me much of a girly fashion sense.
i like the idea of having different size models, listing the ease (had to get it in there once more), and hints on how to adapt a pattern (including stitch pattern repeats would help). schematics always help to see what shape the garment is, and i like to see the finished measurements for the intended size so i know how they'll fit (which kind of gives you the ease i guess).
thank you for asking these questions and going through the replies. i've always felt like a giant in the women's section, because my proportions have never fit the standard sizing even though i'm not fat. looking at patterns as a starting point for our individual shapes rather than the end product is probably the key to knitting clothes we look good in and want to wear. and nobody gets left out, becuase hey, we come in all shapes and sizes. many seem afraid to adapt a pattern or change yarn or gauge, but it's not that hard. try it (with a good calculator) and you'll be surprised! nobody should feel like they have to be bigger or smaller for the designer's sake - i'm sure they just want you to like their ideas enough to make them.
GailB@2 wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 1:34 PM
how do I UNsubscribe to the Knitting Daily??
GJabouri wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 12:51 PM
Hi again,

Yes, I'll definitely would like it if instructions would mention the intended ease, and show the garments on larger-sized women. One of my pet peeves is also that often there is just one "glamour" shot provided, often you cannot see any details. I would love to see photos from the front, back and sides, and detail shots. Oh, and it's really annoying to see the neckline covered by the model's hair.
on Aug 15, 2007 12:49 PM
I second Sarah's comment. I agree that the curvier women need to be represented, but so do all women. And as you can see from the graph we come in all sizes. However I am disappointed to read so many comments about the too thin models, the coat hanger look, etc. Being very petite most of the models are actually much larger than me. So what does that make me if I am smaller than a flat chested coat hanger? Only worth ridiculing? Not worthy of patterns? Beautiful women come in ALL sizes. Period.
GJabouri wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 12:46 PM
Hi all,

I was gone a few days and one of the commentators mentioned that she saved the BUST DART TUTORIAL on her computer. Did I miss it? has it been bosted yet?
FelicityE wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 12:45 PM
Can I just second the excellent suggestions that patterns give the ease, and that they be tested on average size women? I've taken to surfing the knitting blogs to see how the designs look on real people, which works, but is time consuming.
EllenD wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 12:43 PM
I'll throw in my 2 cents that the model of the corset sweater looks like she'll be dead if she doesn't start eating 3 squares/day plus snacks.
Eliza wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 11:00 AM
This is a very interesting discussion. It seems that having a model wear a sweater that fits her would be the first step. I've searched the corset pullover on the web and everyone who has made it looks COMPLETELY different than this model does. She's clearly wearing a size too big for her, which is misleading to those of us who would like to make it.

Also, (Belinda and Lisa H)I recently stumbled across this, which is already a great resource for seeing different people's projects:
Marfisa wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 9:23 AM
Oops! Sorry lisa h. We must have posted at about the same time. In that case, I second your idea wholeheartedly!
Marfisa wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 9:21 AM
How about adding a reader's gallery? Then people who have made the pattern for their size and/or altered it can show how it looks on them. The measurements for the person or for the garment could be included. And all the readers will get a much better idea of how the pattern will look on their own shape, assuming a wide variety of people post pictures.
LisaH wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 9:14 AM
part 2...

Another option (which could be combined w/ my first idea) would be that the magazine staff or their family/friends or knitting bloggers or ??? could knit up the pattern in a few sizes and post the pictures of the sweater on differently shaped people.

This method would mean that the pictures of the differently shaped people wearing the garment wouldn't all need to be in the magazine - they could be online for those who wanted to look.

One way to arrange it would be by pattern - there could be a discussion thread for each pattern. That would let people who are consideruing knitting a particular pattern see how it turns out in different sizes, colors, yarns. If teh "gallery" allowed comments it could also let us ask questions and see where people got hung up on the pattern and had to figure it out or adapt it.

I am picturing something like Zimmermaniacs(
LisaH wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 9:13 AM
It would be great if IK had a "gallery" on the website where people could post pictures of the garments they knit from the magazine along with comments on any adaptations they made to fit their size/shape or to add or take away sleeves etc.

Over time there would be a nice collection of samples. The real life examples might be very helpful.
Judy@2 wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 8:49 AM
I'm so excited to see that project on people of various sizes--I've been curious about that one for so long!

I know it wouldn't be practical because you'd have to have more than 1 sample knit, but it would be so nice to see the IK projects modelled on more than 1 person in the mag. Just a pipe dream, I know, but it would be nice!

RuthS@4 wrote
on Aug 15, 2007 8:32 AM
I agree with your discussion of IK Fall issue. Except for one thing - I don't knit socks and don't want to. 5 of the 6 free patterns are socks. Not everyone is crazy for socks.
Catladyluck wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 8:39 PM
Ok, I analyzed the survey results. Only 53% of respondents are 40" or under. The other 47% are over 40". But wait-there's more! Only 41% fall in the 34-40" range, so 59% do not. AND - 28% reported being OVER 44" - over one-quarter of us would ergo be looking for a finished size of 50" or more.
-Carol W the Catlady
KathyF wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 7:51 PM
Jane A. I think I,m having closet envy. I am currently painting a china size cabinet to hold my yarns. You have given me something to aspire to.I am not out the closet with my husband and have contained my urges to stash.( maybe the word yarn should be included in the dictionary beside the word stash)Once I have revealed my yarn stash to my husband we can clean his side of the closet out to make room for more yarn.
Everybody knows men need fewer clothes.
Sarah@4 wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 6:02 PM
As a "flat chested coathanger" I am slightly offended by the outcry against the designers and the models. I do however feel that there should be a broader range of models. I also feel though that because the trend has been to keep adding larger and larger sizes, I don't want us smaller people to get forgotten about either. I'm a firm believer in being honest with yourself as well though, and this goes for designing and knitting garments as well. While it may be possible to design something in every size, not everything is flattering on every shape.
I would love to see more articles on altering patterns, also.
SaraJ wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 5:17 PM
Oh, one thing I forgot (lol), is most all of my tops, shirts, blouses, etc., tend to slide back and down the back side of my neck/shoulders a bit; I don't know if the transition from neck to shoulders is wider than usual, or what, but this drives me buggy, and would be an EXCELLENT benefit to custom making knit tops, if I knew what to do to solve that problem.
WeaversYarn wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 4:45 PM
Wow! that was a great response to the survey.
And just to throw in my two cents, shoulder width, back neck length, and upper arm measurement definitely need to be included in a more detailed survey.
MelissaP wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 3:47 PM
I agree with everyone else the model doesn't fit the sweater bring on the real pictures!
SaraJ wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 3:41 PM
I recently found this post from January of 07, on the Zeitgeist blog - How To Custom Fit A Sweater

I may have to try that, as a place to start, anyway. It's one source of helpful information, to which I can hopefully add much from IW Knits in the future!

I actually didn't answer the bust survey, being ashamed of my size. I have a 54" bust (I think, I need to measure). I do know that you knew when you started that poll that bust was nowhere near the whole enchilada; I think that bears repeating from my point of view! As well, in future sizing surveys, I suspect a field for bust will be in there, to gauge how that fits in with the other measurements on such a survey. (And then, I can know I've represented for my size, too!)
kenskid2 wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 2:11 PM
Your Grandfather is a wise man. He knew, even if you didn't at the time, that we are all beautiful.
ConnieM wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 2:10 PM
This is a fascinating discussion. Back in the dark ages I took a class in fabric pattern sizing, being short waisted and on the rounded size all my life. I've been lazy and haven't incorporated those lessons into my knitting. Things that don't fit well have been given away. An article or series thereof on adjusting knitting patterns to body size and shape would help me and disappoint my friends.
Mary EllenB wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 2:04 PM
I hope you will continue to include sizing for us "flat-chested coathangers" (size 30"-32"). Your Spring '04 issue stopped me in my tracks. Seeing your beautiful patterns, I had to start knitting again. I've loved every issue since. Please, I want to continue loving and buying IK.
AlisonT wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 1:35 PM
Since 74% of us are larger than the size shown for just about 100% of all patterns shown, I think the discussion about expanding the number of sizes is less relevant than a discussion of changing the number of sizes SHOWN on the models. How about featuring garments at both ends of the size continuum or maybe one at the median (half above half below) point of about 38" bust?

I think there are far too many fit variations and a designer would be crazy to try and incorparate them all. Perhaps designers could be more honest and say "This will look like %^&* on a big woman" or even "this might accentuate a tiny flat chest". Not every sweater can be made to flatter every size!
CharleneM wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 1:25 PM
As I just read through all the comments about the graph it reminds me yet again that size has a ovrewhelming influence on our personality. This conclusion is as bright as the sun. I, myself ,am a testament to this. From an average size 10 to a size 16, with all the bumps and extra curves to boot, some from age, childbearing and from surgeries. I am what I am and changing for "any" one else is totaly a nonworthy cause. I was athletic in school and what they don't tell you , is how your developed body may look fine then but put life effects to work and poof. Your over devloped shoulders and upper arms from swimming or thighs from running catch up with you. And trying to conform to the "average" size pattern is a joke. Ease, Ease, Ease, its a serious issue and not just at the bust but also at the hip ,waist and upper arm. I knit for family and friends and getting it right is 90% of the work. Isn't there anyone out there who can write a program we could plug a pattern into and be amazed, and yes I understand copyright issues. But maybe something that would only shift the pattern and not rewrite it? Just a thought.
MelissaG wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 1:24 PM
I like Lynette's suggestion of noting where patterns can be modified. Interesting bell curve to the graph--not a statistician myself I would say your results are reliable.
BarbieM wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 1:08 PM
I'm glad you're getting comments that bust size alone is not indicative enough. I'm short and curvy. My bust and hips are significantly larger than my waist. I also have large shoulders for my size and generally have to go up a few sizes to account for them, then adjust for length, etc. This all makes fitting challenging and means that, in buying clothes, I tend to end up with a lot of baggy clothes to be comfortable. I'd prefer more tailored things that better complimented my figure, but don't have the money to have them altered or the time to do it myself, and they never fit well off the rack.

It's not just adult female sizes that need work. I've got an 11 year old who is 5'1" and large boned--it's very hard to find child-friendly clothes to fit her and would love to find appropriate patterns (child sizes are differently shaped from adults so it's not as simple as picking an adult version). And my husband wears a 50 Long suit or XXLT shirt. I would love to find patterns for him that I didn't have to adjust. (Adjusting for the T isn't a big deal, but very few patterns are made big enough for his large chest and shoulders.)

In addition to standard sizing, it would be wonderful if patterns noted whether they had roomy, average, or narrow shoulders, arms, waist, hips, etc. It's often hard to tell from pictures.
on Aug 14, 2007 12:51 PM
This survey was very interesting! I am passionate about knitting and knit mostly for children's charities and wonder how many others out there are like me. I'd love to see more surveys with questions like like 'How much yarn to do you buy a year?' 'Has your husband ever complained about how much money you spend on yarn?' 'How big is your current yarn stash?' (Personally, when we planned to refinish our basement, an entire double-door closet with $500 shelving system had to included in the design simply to hold all my yarn. Yes, my hubby loves me very very much!) 'Do you consider yourself addicted to knitting? Why?' 'What's the craziest place you've knitted - I see people knitting in restaurants, walking the grocery store aisles, and even someone knitting at stoplights.'
PatriciaS wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 12:36 PM
Fall KNITS recieved my copy last evening and haven't been able to put it down. The photos are wonderful and the detail pictures really are a help. I,m busy with toe up socks and a wrap, with many projects waiting in line. I haven't had to much trouble with sizing of patterns, but with finding the right size yarn and gauge to substitute for what is given.
Sunnyknitter wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 11:20 AM
Love the idea of being able to sleeve the sleeveless. I live where it's very hot and even our winters can be not that cold a large part of the time. There's a lot of sleeveless tops I've been thinking about adapting but haven't really been sure how to do it.
It's funny how many of us are thrilled to be in the average on the graph, isn't it? We should really learn to accept the beauty in each of us regardless of shape, size or what our own negative image tell us. Maybe that's why knitting is so popular, we can design for ourselves something that truly fits and makes us happy.
KathyF wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 10:42 AM
Ditto Pattio! I am singing 'my guage' to the tune of my way.
Katandben wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 10:42 AM
I agree with all the non-cookies out there. My challenges in knitting are an hourglass size 14 on a 5ft 2 frame. There are so many adjustments I have to make that making anything other than a weekend baggy pullover for watching movies in the dark is quite daunting. I agree with the others that I HATE to see the sweaters on size 2-4-6 models because the distortion on a size 14 is so disappointing. Please consider how adjustable sewing patterns are noted -
KathyF wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 10:38 AM
Creating sleeves for sleeveless tops is a great idea.I'm sure not all tops can be adapted but even a few would be great. I consider it a public service when I refrain from going sleeveless.
Sandy, good work! I am loving this e-magazine.
Knitnhook wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 10:37 AM
I find it ironic that the subject is sizing and the model in the corset pattern is anorexic. This sweater does not fit at all. The main problem I have with knitting magazines is putting the incorrect sized model with a knitted garment. Get the proper models for the garments so we can see how they really fit. This way we can tell if the problems in fit are the pattern and not the model.
PattiO wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 10:28 AM
What I would like to learn is how to knit a garmet WITHOUT a pattern. I have found patterns have ONE major draw back, and that is that you must get someone's else's gauge. I would much rather pick a yarn that I like, and then determine what size needles gives the most pleasing fabric, and go from there, rather than the other way around. Right now I'm working my way through "knitting from top down" but I'd still like MORE information, tips and tricks on how to design a garment without a pattern, using my measurements, my yarn and my needles.
Julie-AnnG wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 10:26 AM
I've had the problem for many years. Everyone tells me I'm pretty, but I'm of the belief that if you can't see it or feel it then don't believe it. Nowadays (ever since adulthood) I see beauty in myself, I can do things not many people can do, and think in ways not many understand I think that's beautiful - something in yourself that you can be proud of, that no one can take from you.
JessicaC@2 wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 10:24 AM
Speaking as a 'flat-chested clothes hanger' please continue to publish both ends of the size range..

I find I need to add length on most garments, so the schematics are particularly useful.

The thing is, most people will need to adjust something for best fit, even if the bust size is exact; please do consider running a how to adjust series, as mentioned.
KathyF wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 10:14 AM
Interesting survey.Will X-L patterns remain sparse? If so can we have the few we get be more interestingly designed? Not so boxy? More design details? It's hard to make more complex patterns larger.
TeriS wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 9:43 AM
I'm surprised that there was a higher percentage of smaller bust sizes. One of things that I find discouraging about knitting patterns is that there are no guidelines for petites (5'3" and under). That means that armhole depth and necklines are generally too long. I don't have the expertise or patience (yet) to modify the pattern, other than shortening the sleeve length and garment body on the non-shaped parts. Please include a height section on your next survey.

Keep up the good work!
TanyaL wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 9:32 AM
All of the free patterns you've posted have been printed and I'll be knitting for years to come! Something to consider... the dark grey font and the medium teal color chosen for the diagrams does not print well off a laser printer. Perhaps consider a printer friendly version of the pattern? Thanks for all the wonderful wit, sage advice and the fabulous knitting community you have created!
LindaB wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 9:12 AM
I must admit I didn't fill out the survey, but I can tell you that I would love to see "more informed" pictures of a garment. The back, a side view plus what it looks like from the front.
mostitch1968 wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 9:06 AM
It seems ironic that along with the "bust results" you would publish the Corset Pullover. I doubt the model measures even close to the smallest size of a 33-1/2" bust! This is definitely a garment that must be shown by a "regular", i.e. size 12 or 14 model! I love the styles you present - but please show them off to their best advantage! And yes, I am a size 16/18, 43" bust who will make this garment, but with modifications for my size, probably longer in the body and a higher neckline, if necessary. Thank you for bringing sizing to the knitting forefront. Some changes will make this art even more popular.
BrendaV wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 8:56 AM
Can we do hips next. Surprisingly, I find that my large hips which are great for baby making really affect how many tops fit and look.
MarinU wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 8:53 AM
I know I'm a little late to the sizing question (though I suspect it will rage on through the ages), but recently I saw something that was a HUGE help to me: specific instructions on negative ease.

Now, this may have even been in the latest IK -- I bought a couple of books and got the magazine in the mail the same day and sat down and read them all. I just don't remember exactly which one it was.

What it said was you should allow 4"-6" for negative ease on this sweater. I love that. I'm very busty with a relatively small waist and I have no instinct for negative ease.

If more patterns could prompt me as to which size I should actually knit, it would be a great help... and I'd actually knit more sweaters.

Thanks for asking!
spinnayarn wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 8:39 AM
Sandi, the results are not at all what I expected. Since the concerns about inadequate sizing were coming from plus-sized women, I expected to see a lot more of them in the survey. In fact, it appears the majority of your readers are of average size and completely fit into the range typically established in your patterns.

Thank you for giving us the survey, and I'll look forward to participating in any others you send out.
Eeyore04294 wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 8:26 AM
As another non cookie cutter woman, if I choose to make a sweater, I have to circle the amounts of increase and decrease following the schematic to accomodate my "odd" sizing. So all I do is take my measurements, and find the correct number for each (bust, waist and arms, also hips if included) and circle them in the pattern. It can be confusing at times, but like the Kitchner stitch, quiet time to concentrate after the 4 kids go to bed helps a lot. Even when I lost a lot of weight, I still had broad hips and shoulders with a small bust, small waist, and even smaller cup size that make commercial garments impossible to fit without creative tailoring. Thank you, Sandi, for trying to help with these problems! Unfortunately, even when some of us chubby girls lose weight, it becomes painfully apparent that our moms were somewhat right in their comforting words-"You're not fat, just big boned!" I never took comfort in those words until I lost 75 lbs, and still had to wear a size 12 because of my hips. No matter what size, it's what's inside that counts, and you couldn't be more right in affirming that. Thanks again Sandi!
JaneR wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 8:21 AM
Compare the results of the chart to the picture on the same page of the model wearing the corset top...when will designers/marketing/magazine editors understand that underweight models do not help to sell to average, normal customers. I want to know what a real person looks like in a item I might buy for me.
DawneL wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 8:03 AM
Thanks for all the great topics and advice in Knitting Daily. I am really enjoying reading everything you share, and I can tell you are workng extra hard to meet all the needs of all the people who knit and read IK ( very lofty). I am commencing knitting the Bella Blouse and wondering if additional photos are available for those of us who would like to see it up a little closer ?! I wish there were closer views of the Corset Pullover too. Again thanks for all the great info you are giving us daily !
Daniele wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 7:54 AM
Love the Pullover!! Whenever you add a "new" pattern to Knitting Daily, is it on your daily post, or are there others in the free pattern directory that are added in daily too? Thanks! Daniele
LaurenH@2 wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 7:20 AM
Sandi - great idea about getting a mirror. As you look around at different styles you're considering getting for Christmas, please let us know if you learn any mirror-buying tips. For instance, does a perfectly vertical mirror work better than one that's tilted back slightly on an A-frame? Does the length or shape of the mirror make a difference? Its height off the floor?
CynthiaF wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 6:24 AM
Could you look into whether there are good, reasonably affordable dress-form "manequins" that can be adjusted to one's own measurements? A full length mirror is fine, but you can't really work on most of the 360 degrees of a garment on yourself -- even if you COULD see the full view well. For really dedicated knitters, it might be worth the investment to have a version of "you" that you can try things on, and adjust to fit, as you knit (or sew, or crochet, or whatever.)
Cinders wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 5:05 AM
I also was surprised by the survey. I also thought that the larger sizes would be higher.
IK already caters very well for my size 42" unlike your British counter parts!
I love the corset top and will put it on my very long and increasing 'to do 'list!!
NathalieS wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 5:03 AM
I'm glad to see that I am of an average size ... when it comes to bust size.But my main problem is on the length of the pattern as I am rather tall ( 1m82 ) it is sometimes difficult for me ( I know I'm not an advanced knitter ! ) to adapt the patterns you propose, and I don't like to wear clothes that are too short I look like a little girl that has grown too fast! Thanks for this very interesting magazine...and pardon my English ( I may have made many mistakes ! )but I am French!
KristenH wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 4:59 AM
I am a little surprised at the survey results, but not terribly. For all the ranting and raving about how fat we Americans are, I expected the middle range to be higher. I am a plus sized woman and have been happy that IK generally presents a wide range of styles that would look good on different shapes (as opposed to other knitting magazines). For the other plus-sized women out there, I strongly suggest you take a look at the shaping and style suggestions in Big Girl Knits by Jillian Moreno and Amy Singer. Very good advice to be had there, though I think the title is a bit unfortunate.
SaraJ wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 4:56 AM
Thank you SO much for taking our feelings, thoughts, sizes, and shapes in to consideration! I believe I'm going to subscribe as soon as I'm past the expenses of gearing up my dd for a new school year have passed. Because I have hope that more will be done to make more of the content I'd be paying for, actually be usable for me. (Echoing what someone said above about plus-size women and that we pay same price, for a lot fewer patterns per issue that we can use; I would guess that the same issue applies to petites, too, since I've read in these discussions that many patterns do not go small enough for their needs.)

I echo the desire for an article on adding sleeves to sleeveless designs (which would also be used by me to change the sleeve on a design, as I'd be "deleting" the sleeve called for, I'd need to know how to add another sleeve as well as adjust the armhole area, in general!)

Also, how to change drop-shoulder sleeves, which is a bit more problematic because I'd have to narrow the whole pattern. But I don't know if there's other issues besides that.

Boy, I'm ambitious for a newbie knitter, but Knitting Daily, especially Sandi's particular enthusiasm, confidence, and encouragement to knitters and about knitting, is part of what is making me feel that attempting these sorts of things might be possible. Discussions like these also have helped that feeling.

I enjoyed the interview with Eunny last week, although hoped there was even more (perhaps every now and then you can bring us more, from then-current interviews!). After reviewing my Ravelry queue, and seeing how many IW designs are in there (as I'm optimistic that by the time I eventually get to them I'll have learned a lot more about knitting, adjusting, etc.), and reviewing the one issue I have (Spring 07), as well as the online pics from Fall 07 back through a year's worth of issues, I see MUCH I like/love! Another reason I'll be subscribing (with the hope that I'll be learning, some of it from IW Knits, about shaping/fitting)!
ChrisH wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 3:40 AM
I love the Corset Pullover but cannot imagine it on my 42H bustline! I think it will be one to dream on instead.
EvaF wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 3:26 AM
We are indeed all different in size and shape. As a bust 44 person I have problems with the shoulders. My shoulders have not become broader when my size has increased and that makes fitted sleeves in lager garment drop down, not looking that good at all. Well, I usually changes the patterns allot to make them fit my shape. I can tell you right now that the corset Pullover will need to be changed allot to fit me nicely.
When it comes to the models in Interweave Knits they are sometimes to thin for the garments, that is when you see he garment on a more shapely woman they suddenly looks so much more interesting. It is natural that a top on a petite model will not look the same on a full figured woman.
Sarah wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 3:17 AM
It's about what I'd expected to see. I just wish most clothing designers would expect to see it, too. Then they might design stuff that SUITS people with curves. In addition to the mirror, may I suggest a duct-tape dummy? Mine went a long way to convincing me that I'm not fat, just curved. And it's very useful to fit stuff on, too.
Marg wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 2:08 AM
Does this mean that IK could consider designing sweaters for and modelling them on models sized above 40" rather than on flat-chested coathangers?
ChristineB@7 wrote
on Aug 14, 2007 12:19 AM
I agree with an earlier comment about showing how to adjust armholes and sleeve widths. I can figure out how to adjust length
PaulineL wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 11:13 PM
Interesting survey results, but not so surprising that sizes are larger. Thank you for looking into this.

I noticed a comment, in Notes, on the corset pattern about ease and how to change it. Sandi, is that a new comment? I suspect it is. Thank you.
Jenifleur wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 11:00 PM
Sandi, since you are now our voice to Interweave Knits, I ask you: is it possible to get multiple size views from the magazine? I just made the Wing Top from the summer issue and I'm nearly exactly average according to the graph. Everyone tells me they'd never think this would look good on anyone other than the petite and perfect, yet it works on my size. I feel there must be many people out there willing to test knit the designs for almost nothing. Enabling average people to see how it would look on them would be invaluable and a credit to the publication. The models are lovely, but they don't represent the bulk of the readership. Small and large, we need to find knits that make us look and feel good!
Kabira wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 10:59 PM
TERRIFIC that so many people responded - !!!!
And - a quick adding up of percentages - indicates that about 50% of those who responded have busts over 40 inches. It would be so great to see 50% of the pictured models in the magazine reflecting this!!!! And to have 50% of the clothing designs offered be flattering to people with busts greater than 40 inches. Thank you so much for doing this research and to the IK staff for seriously considering the information.
SharonH wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 10:56 PM
I'd like to remind Susan and everyone else that "average" doesn't mean much and it certainly doesn't mean that you aren't over or under weight. In college I was a size 14 marathoner who could do a 7 minute mile. I'm bigger now that I've stopped running 40-60 miles a week, but a lot of what size you wear has to do with your frame. I will never wear an average size and if I did, I'd be a very ill girl.
CiraW wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 10:53 PM
Could the model BE ANY TALLER & THINNER and still be alive!!!!! It will be interesting to see the top on other shapes - try a 5'0', 160 pound person - or even a more "normal body size and shape!!!!!
Willa JeanD wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 10:45 PM
YOU are beautiful. Your grandfather was right. And I'd think so even if I'd never seen your picture.
I can't tell you how much I enjoy Knitting Daily.
I'm not really surprised by the survey results, though if you're taking request....
I don't show my belly button either, but changing length is not usually a problem for me. What I can't do is design a sleeve cap, and my arms just aren't as pretty as they used to be. I love many of your sleeveless designs, but wouldn't personally wear them unless I could add a cap or flutter sleeve or something. My apologies to the designers, but ....
BeckyG wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 10:35 PM
What I find interesting is that nearly 60% of the responses were above the 36-38" group. That is not my understanding of a bell curve at all! The sweater on the model in the corset pattern is listed as 35 1/4". So according to our survey, something like 75% of the readers are larger than the sweater. That doesn't sound like a realistic model to me. And it doesn't sound like its likely to give an accurate representation of fit for that 75% of readers.

Can someone clarify which measurements are usually used for a small, medium, large, etc.? Also, looking back to the post from Sandi on 8/8/07 where she detailed the size ranges of the projects in the upcoming issue, I notice that only 6 of the 16 sweaters are sized above 50". That's only slightly better than a third. Here the issue isn't the percentage of women above 50" but the fact that those who are above 50" are only getting 1/3 the usable patterns that a smaller person is. And paying the same price! That means less willingness to shell out money for a magazine (particularly a subscription). I'm not sure what the answer is, I have no suggestions really. But these are the parts that I find interesting here.
KelleyD wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 10:23 PM
Since you are devising a survery for sizing, perhaps you could have us input our measurements, say bust, ribs, waist and hips....then allow you survey to calculate the variance between the should give you a basic picutre of how many have a little variation between the bust and waist measurement, and those that have a lot, for instance. If you like, contact me, and I can give you more detail.
MarilynG wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 10:13 PM
I think this is not such a great graph-difficult to read and interpret the data--what was the variance in the data? There could or could not be any significant at all to the apparent differences in the #'s of people with different size busts or not, depending on the variance. You need to put in the standard deviation for each bar so we can see what's going on here.
KathleenE@2 wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 9:57 PM
You know, my shape has changed more than my measurements as the years have progressed (a big thanks to Mr. Gravity). Also my sense of style and what I feel looks good to and on me. (Nobody wants to see MY belly button). Is there some way to account for the changes wrought by time (without getting too icky about age) in a survey? Maybe just asking how many of us are comfortable displaying our belly buttons to the public?
KristenM wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 9:46 PM
For the words on the mirror...use Wall Words dot com. Definately...the more measurements the better. I have a really long torso and always need to add length.
kharman777 wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 9:43 PM
I have to say that I find it incredible that the Knitting Daily staff ponders such things as what will make their readers happy. Amazing that you care enough about us to work at helping us to properly size what we knit! Can you take over other areas such as shoe & clothing sales, maybe computers.....? Thanks for your hard work, and for creating this forum for knitters!
AngeliaSharp wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 9:09 PM
I am tall (5'9), thin, and have a teeny bust (33"), so I likely am somewhat shaped like many of the models you use. However, because of my height and freakishly broad shoulders and long arms, the size 33 or so that I normally knit just doesn't quite work, so I tweak and tweak until I get it right. Well, as right as I can get it. I really would like to know the measurements of the models you use. Heck, if they're too shy, I'll model something and let you state exactly what my measurements are for every body part the garment involves. I don't care as long as I'm contributing to the greater knitting good.

I'll also chime in with the others and state that I would LOVE to see garments modeled by women of all sizes and shapes (the two are NOT the same, as many have noted).

And...please please tell us the ease!
Lisa@6 wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 9:09 PM
This is a wonderful survey! It's wonderful to see the diversity of women and men replying, large and small. I also expected to see the largest response in that 42-44 range so this is a real eye opener for me.

The problems I have with the majority of patterns for long sleeved garments is arm circumference. My biceps tend to be on the beefy side and need a larger sleeve circumference. Somtimes this is an easy fix, others not so much. I know I would love to see a series on how to alter a pattern to fit me, esp when it's altering a complicated pattern like lace or cabling.

Keep up the fantastic work, Sandi!
Sherry wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 9:00 PM
Hello Everyone, I am so excited and have decided this is the perfect place to share :-) I managed to start my Icelandic Shawl this weekend !!!!!!!!!! I am using KnitPicks Memories 100% merino wool in Yukon. I love the mixed color variety yarns :-) I am on row 16 but I fell in love with the pattern when it was first posted here. More later about my progress since I have discovered I truly love using charts after completing the shrug from the Gathering of Lace book.
Susan@2 wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 8:56 PM
I find the survey reassuring. I truly feared that the 'plus-sized' women were going to out number the 'average'. I think I've been listening to too much tv news, which is focused on reporting that so many in America are overweight. Thank goodness, we are mostly average, not overweight, not underweight, just us. Yes, we are beautiful, but let us also not forget we can be better.
on Aug 13, 2007 8:42 PM
Also, if my dream comes true someday and I get designs published, and I fail to include schematics, somebody whup me upside the head. I'm glad that IK includes schematics.
on Aug 13, 2007 8:39 PM
I was a little surprised to not see a higher percentage of 50" and over, but it is interesting to see how many are over 40". The last time I had a 40" bust measurement I was wearing a size 16 blouse and a 14 everywhere else, and I had to nip in my shirts at the waist. (16 was the only size where my girls didn't burst out of the buttons). Of course, I crossed the "no more button front tops" line a long time ago.
Interesting survey! I hope it will induce the designers to go up to at least 50" on most patterns, (and since I am 52-54 that would be especially exciting) but in any event, a wider range of sizes on more patterns would be a step in the right direction.
I do agree, however, (without feeling defensive about it) that most people are going to have to alter something or other about most patterns if they want their garments to look really flattering, so I still think that a comprehensive technical series on altering patterns would be the best move of all. Some designers are writing about this in different books, but to have a whole editorial team of knitters working on a series would really be something!
CarolineF wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 8:37 PM
Wow, not what I expected to see. I tend to like to make 36-38 inch sweaters, which is usually the smallest size available. I expected the 'bump' in the results to be at 44 or so.
I so agree with showing the sweater on multiple sizes of models. It is great for the caption to say what size is shown, it's better than no info, but to see both a 36 and a 42 would be so much more educational.
JessicaC@3 wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 8:31 PM
I can't wait to see the pictures of the Corset Pullover. I bought yarn for that project last summer but am afraid to start because I'm not sure how the design will look on me (I'm 5'-4" and a curvy size 12).I can't wait to see the pictures of the Corset Pullover. I bought yarn for that project last summer but am afraid to start because I'm not sure how the design will look on me (I'm 5'-4" and a curvy size 12).
HarriettT wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 8:23 PM
After reading the instructions for the "corset," I decided it was definitely NOT something I wanted to create -- or even attempt to create! Thank goodness we're living in a different generation!
EVJ wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 8:23 PM
The shape the data produced on this graph resembles a breast in profile (ala Madonna).
Nishanna wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 8:13 PM
You reminded me of the world wide exhibitions of "you are beautiful"
otterwise wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 8:08 PM
Sandi wrote "Your passion and desire to knit well-fitting garments for yourselves, no matter your size or shape, shows that deep inside yourself, no matter what society says, you, too, know that you are beautiful."
I was very moved by your words. I hadn't made the connection between my increasingly healthy self-image and taking the time to knit all those extra stitches to make a sweater fit my special curves. Wonderful! I love IK and its editors more with each issue, and Knitting Daily ROCKS!!!
ConnieM@2 wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 8:03 PM
What a wonderful positive Grand-father you had! Being the bespectacled, freckle-face, red-head with brown eyes once described as Pig's Eyes because of the thick lenses, I could have used that image when I was growing up.
Nice to know I'm average sized even if I don't match the fashion model image.
I like the idea of the 3-way from Karen Emrey too. The back is as important as the front. Having a dress form for tryon helps, even in back.
Connie L. Mallette
MegB wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 8:01 PM
Sandi, you are amazing! Thank you for your post. I have, as your grandfather did, put little post notes, not just on the mirror but in the closet on clothes that I thought I would never wear because of.... well whatever. The main point is that, no matter what size or shape we are, we are all beautiful and wonderful. I plan to share that vision with as many people as I can in my life; not just through my knitting, but in all ways. Again, Thank you! Meg, a knitting soapgal in Redrock Country Southwest.
Karen E wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 7:47 PM
The mirror I really like (& want) is my mom's 3 way full length mirror. It moved in when I moved out to go to college. I can't tell you how many times I have been pleasantly surprised to see how things fit back there. Sure beats worrying and guessing and is worth the drive across town. Correcting the fit is pleasant when you KNOW the truth, and eases the mind of the self conscious. Karen
KarenB@3 wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 7:41 PM
I'm petite and adjust most patterns. The hardest part is shortening the sleeve cap to fit a smaller armhole. I can do it
NatashaH wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 7:38 PM
Hmmmmmm.... so 14% are 34" - 36", 12% are 38" - 40", but the whole 15" is 37"?? (I wish I had the quizzical MSN smiley on here...)
Poor Sandi - nothing is ever straight forward is it?
MickelleS wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 7:30 PM
You are beautiful Sandi! Every time I see a picture of you, I think so. You've got an infectious smile. And thanks for the Corset Pullover pattern. I'm one of those waifish size two girls with sticks for arms. I've wanted to do this pattern for awhile after seeing a photo of it. You've made my day!
slgjeg4 wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 7:29 PM
I like the looks of the corset pullover; but I would like to see photos of sweaters with the model standing and also back views. It might better help me, who is not "model size", decide if the style would look good on me coming and going.
kewpiedoll99 wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 7:17 PM
Interesting choice, Robin Melanson's Corset Pullover. I made that when it was published in IK, and it was the single most disappointing garment I've ever knitted. Mostly, I think, because the model in the picture is a size two, and my expectations were inappropriate for the item. I am a size 14. She looks waifish and piquant, and I looked roly poly. Ugh! It was so depressing! That design makes me cranky every time I see it!
JoanneP wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 7:14 PM
I give up. Why are there two lines for each size?
CateF wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 7:09 PM
When you devise your new survey, please include arm length. For some reason, pattern writers seem to think that as you go up in size your arms get longer.
DeborahT wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 7:09 PM
It's interesting to see the bell curve in sizes in the graph. I have a question about the Corset Pullover - what kind of ease is built into the pattern? As someone with a 44" bust, do I make the 43 3/4" size, or the next size up?
Sharon wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 7:09 PM
Thank you so much for reminding us of the one thing we often forget. It's what's inside that counts!
LynetteM wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 7:02 PM
If I interpret the graph correctly, more than 30% of the survey respondents are size medium or above. This definitely indicates patterns should have a greater range in the larger sizes.

However, as someone who is a size Petite Small I feel compelled to chime in.

I don't fit in any cookie cutter sizes. That's just the way life is for me and I try to alter patterns to suit.

Perhaps instead of offering patterns in every possible size and shape, the more effective way would be to suggest where and when patterns can be adjusted.

Or perhaps have a tutorial on how to resize commercial patterns.

I'm not really surprised by the results of the sizing survey, but I am interested in what Interweave is going to do with the information.
on Aug 13, 2007 6:57 PM
I'm definitely up there with a bunch of other knitters when it comes to size! I'm glad to know it. I am curious about the other measurements too, since I wonder how average I am there.

Great idea about the mirror, it can really help to know what works and what doesn't instead of finding yourself out in the world and catching a glimpse of that pretty woman or that huge woman depending on if a style works for your body or not.
KD Sandi wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 6:57 PM
*****Sandi here, re: the graph. Actually we didn't have room to squeeze in all the size ranges from the survey, so the inbetween bars belong to the inbetween ranges. For example, the bar between 30-32 and 34-36 is the bar for 32-34. Sorry, should have added a note about that earlier! (In other words, Sharon The Engineer Lady is correct....)
LindaMick wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 6:50 PM
I'm really interested in the pull-over corset pattern, and glad you will be posting other pictures because the picture on the pattern is really difficult to actually see what it is...
SharonH wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 6:47 PM
Engineer lady here.

To those confused about the graph, notice that the full range isn't covered by the size listings on the left. The blank ones start at the largest value of the bar below and go to the lowest value of the bar above.

i.e. The first blank bar is 28"-30", the second blank bar is 32"-34"
on Aug 13, 2007 6:43 PM
Wait a minute! There are 10 bust-measurement ranges listed on the graph, and >19< bars. Which ten belong to the graph, and what are the other nine for??
DeniseC wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 6:39 PM
I am confused - there are two bars under each size. What does the second bar mean?
SharonH wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 6:21 PM
Honestly, I didn't expect the mode to be so tiny. I guess it's just that I'm large-framed and I don't even think the circumfrence of my ribs would be that small.
SharonH wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 6:21 PM
Honestly, I didn't expect the mode to be so tiny. I guess it's just that I'm large-framed and I don't even think the circumfrence of my ribs would be that small.
FleecyD wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 6:16 PM
It's nice to know that I'm not too far over the "average". And as mentioned would be nice if the fashion industry realized that average is not under 28"!
ChrissT wrote
on Aug 13, 2007 5:53 PM
It's comforting to know that I am "average" when it comes to size. Now if we could just have the fashion industry realize what that average is.