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The Four Knitting Truths

Aug 17, 2007

Bertha is overcome at your comments

The Corset 9 and I would like to thank you for all the amazing and touching comments and emails. (Bertha is the strong, silent type, but she'd surely say "thank you" as well if it was her way to say anything at all.)

Several of you noted that I made my customization suggestion by working backwards from seeing the finished Corset on the Corset Gals, when in fact the challenge we face as knitters is figuring out what customizations might be needed before the entire sweater is knitted (and thus, before we have to throw a Sweater Frogging Party, complete with soothing beverages and friends to console us). Over and over again, you asked: How do I know which adjustments to make? How do I know which pattern size to choose? How do I even know which sweaters might look good on my body type?

The answer lies in what I call The Four Knitting Truths, which were hinted at in Monday's story of the mirror and illustrated in the gallery of the Corset 9 Plus Bertha. These Four Knitting Truths are the main factors you have to take into account when planning a knitted garment:

  • 1. The truth about yourself. Your REAL measurements and body type (not the measurements you fear you have, or imagine you have!).
  • 2. The truth about the pattern. Ease, style, construction, color.
  • 3. The truth about the fabric. Qualities of the yarn, stitch pattern, and how these are affected by gauge.
  • 4. The truth about your expectations and needs. What do you want your sweater to look like? What silhouettes do you prefer? Are you being realistic about what looks good on you and what doesn't?



The First Truth: Knitter, Know Thyself

Question: Are you knitting for an imaginary you, or for the REAL you? When was the last time you measured yourself? When was the last time you stood in front of a mirror and carefully (and KINDLY) evaulated the woman(or man) who stands before it?

I've built a little page on How To Measure Yourself, with photos and instuctions on how to measure the basic width measurements of bust, waist, and hip. I've also added two further dimensions for those of us who have extra curves: Buddha Belly and High Tummy. We'll do other measurements later on, such as height and arms and all that. It's good to start with a few basics, particularly since these are the ones that most patterns are based upon.

Speaking of which, I think it's time to de-mystify three things: Finished Bust Measurement, Actual Bust Measurement, and Ease.

Finished Bust Measurement

Why we care what it is: This is the main "base measurement" used in knitting patterns to denote the different sizes offered.

What it IS: A measurement of the finished GARMENT, after it is knitted, blocked, and seamed (if needed).

What it is NOT: A measurement of your exact bust size, unless you want it to be!

How to find it: Lay the completely finished (again, knitted, blocked and seamed) garment on a flat surface, right side out, front up. Pat the garment flat, without overstretching it. Measure across the bustline from side to side at the widest point--generally just under the armholes. Multiply by two (front plus back), and this is the measurement of the finished sweater.


Tricia finding her full bust measurement

Actual Bust Measurement

Why we care: This is a measure of your body, which you add/subtract ease and styling factors to, and thus determine which finished bust size to make.

What it IS: Your Full Bust Measurement, which is the circumference of your chest at its fullest/curviest/most voluptuous point.

What it is NOT: This is NOT your bra band size! It is also not your underbust measurement, nor your high bust measurement.

How to find it: Wearing the undergarments you would wear with a knitted top of the type you're intending to make, wrap a flexible tape measure around your bust. Make sure the tape lays flat, and goes only over your chest and shoulderblades, not over your arms or your cat or anything else. Wrap the tape around the biggest part of your bust. Breathe normally, and measure--do not hold your breath!

The All-Important Ease Factor

What is ease? Simply put: Ease is the extra fabric that allows space between you and your garments--space for things like moving, breathing, comfort, and extra layers of other clothing. The greater the ease in a pattern, the more fabric there is, and thus the more roomy space there is between you and your sweater. Negative ease means that there isn't any fabric to spare, that the fabric actually must stretch to cover your body. The more negative ease in a pattern, the more the fabric must stretch over a given curve.

In other words: Positive ease: loose-fitting. Negative ease: curve-hugging and clingy.




There's more to getting to know the Real You: long waist, short arms, height, shape, and so forth. We'll be examining all these in the days ahead on Knitting Daily. Think of this as an ongoing class where you get to specialize in YOU!

Weekend homework assignment! (whoo!)

How about starting a Beautiful You notebook? Start by writing down what you THINK your measurements are, before you break out the measuring tape. This information might be very enlightening after you've found out what the real you is--you might find out that you were knitting for an imaginary gal and not for your real self at all! Then check out our How To Measure Yourself page, and throw a little measuring party of your own. Oh, and there's only one rule: Absolutely NO unkind words or thoughts about your body are allowed. Remember: my grandpa says you are beautiful, and he's my grandpa, so he's gotta be right!





Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles? Photo coming soon of the finished Bonsai Tunic by Norah Gaughan. New to the needles: Swatching for a Sandi-sized version of the Corset Pullover! Plus, about 6 inches' worth of cables for a new design coming soon to Knitting Daily. Someone asked if this was the ONLY thing on my needles...you caught me! I am the Unfinished Objects Fairy, spreading my little stardust magic over as much casting-on and as many needle sets as possible.




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Comments

on Sep 24, 2009 4:51 PM

Knitted Cuddlies My favorite toy growing up was a stuffed purple cow--it was the sixties, so Cowie was

on Sep 21, 2009 3:43 PM

Knitted Cuddlies My favorite toy growing up was a stuffed purple cow--it was the sixties, so Cowie was

on Sep 21, 2009 3:43 PM

Knitted Cuddlies My favorite toy growing up was a stuffed purple cow--it was the sixties, so Cowie was

on Aug 14, 2008 11:21 AM

Pingback from  Self-perception: Lesson learned from a sweater pattern | The Haunted Palace

JuliR wrote
on Aug 28, 2007 9:24 PM
Hi! I really do not like the corset sweater at all. On the model in the magazine, it looks like
thermal underwear to me! I thought that it looked best on Erin with Bertha coming second. Erin being slightly more animated. I did think, however, that this would make a perfect maternity garment that would grow with you in the first trimester.
When my sister was married, I was not showing much, but I found a regular blouson top and skirt with pleats running vertically down the front of the top. It was an off the peg dress I had purchased for another occasion (it was the "style" at the time") and I didn't want to spring for a real dressy maternity outfit that would only be worn for that one occasion. Juli R
Sewshort wrote
on Aug 27, 2007 5:32 AM
Gauge is a mystery to me. I went to the store and found yarn that matched the required gauge as closely as I could. The label said 18 st and 24 rows, size 8 needles. The pattern said 19 1/2 st and 27 rows on size 8 needles. There was no way. I ended up using size 5 needles and the gauge is still too big and it's hard work knitting that tightly. I just don't understand. My sweater is coming out fairly close to the right measurements, but the knitting is tight. Please address gauge sometime. Thanks.
Sharon wrote
on Aug 22, 2007 8:08 PM
Okay I've measured my bust - which is a 40 - explains why I can't buy the right clothes much less make them. I did the wait - 35 and the Hips 42. Now what - believe me when I say there is no way this is going to help me knit a sweater. Perhaps to pick the right size but not to adapt and... More help please!!!
Thanks Sandi for your hard work!
ElisabethM wrote
on Aug 22, 2007 2:47 PM
It's the question of ease that I have the most problems with. For one thing, I have no idea how to decide how many inches of ease I should be considering if I would like the garment to look like the photo (for example, is 1 inch positive ease slightly loose or would it mean the sweater is beyond baggy? would 1 inch negative ease mean the garment is stretched so tight across my chest that the stitches look about to give?). Is it possible to include how much ease the designer intended with the pattern? Or would that vary too much depending on the size for it to be useful?
ljones619 wrote
on Aug 21, 2007 9:43 PM
from the sounds of it i'm not sure i even want to start a sweater. i have a couple of patterns to do but from the reading the comments here i'm not sure they would fit. I know i am not that talented that i can start changing the pattern. but i will try one and hope it fits. i really like the "tomato" sweater. but i think i need to try something abit easier.
thanks for Knitting daily
it has made me want to at least try a sweater.
thanks again
lori
PatriciaC wrote
on Aug 21, 2007 3:22 PM
I enjoyed reading the four truths. I've done my measurements- our LYS had a session on that- and it's very helpful. I found out I'm broadbacked- no wonder shirts and jackets are just a bit tight! I plan to check out your measurement page and remeasure me! I like the addition of tummy measurements- haven't seen that before! I appreciate the explanation on bust measurements- and the different kinds. That's what always gets me flummoxed about patterns and has in part kept me from knitting a sweater or other top. Many patterns don't specify "finished" or "actual' bust measurement. It's helpful when there are diagrams with measurements. I think it would also be helpful if more patterns had an indication of ease- can't always tell when skinny models are wearing the garments- as with the corset. I also liked seeing the corset on many different models. Patricia
EVJ wrote
on Aug 21, 2007 8:44 AM
The Summer 1998 IK included a wonderful article by Diana Hrvatin: "Create Your Own Fashionable Sweater by UP-sizing." As she says, "With a few adjustments and calculations you can knit that sweater to fit."

Not only does this concise article give friendly directions for figuring the patterns to fit a more generous figure, but it also provides excellent shaping instructions for knitters of all shapes and sizes.

I want to join the chorus of praises for posting the pictures of your office mates modeling the Corset sweater. These photos gave me a greater sense of what had always been an intriguing pattern. They also made me look at all of the sweaters in the latest IK with a different eye. As a rule, I am leery of any patterns that are represented by a seated model. Such pictures seldom give one the sense of the fit and drape of a garment.

This tremendously valuable discussion has been on my mind all week. I really appreciate the community of thoughtfulness -- especially the call for models with a variety of body types in order to provide a greater sense of a patters fit.
NanetteL wrote
on Aug 21, 2007 7:56 AM
I want to thank you for this post. I just finished the Lacy Thong (Laura Rintala) pattern from your website. After taking careful measurements I was even able to take a few stitches out on the sides to get an even better fit. Now just the picot trim, and they are ready for date night!
Anonymous wrote
on Aug 21, 2007 6:38 AM
Perhaps this has been mentioned, and maybe it can be found elsewhere, but could someone develop a sheet that we could download and keep for our measurements? I know sewing has that, and I think it would be a great service that knitting daily could provide to its readers. It would also help with the tutorial on measuring. Then we could all have a place for those measurements and keep them near not only for ourselves, but the others we knit for.
DeniseW wrote
on Aug 20, 2007 7:46 PM
For Sara F, another possibility: If your tops have no shaping at the back of the neck, or very little, that can also cause them to slide back.

Heather N, I empathize. I usually have the best results when I choose the pattern size by shoulder width.
HeatherN wrote
on Aug 20, 2007 6:56 PM
I am here to echo everyone else who is frustrated by the fact that pattern sizes are based on bust sized. As a chesty girl, I do ever so wish that patterns were based on waist size. I feel like it would be easier to adjust the size of the bust, than have to adjust everything else.
PatriciaS wrote
on Aug 20, 2007 6:08 PM
This post as most has some good applications. I find my figure has changed with the years and my next garment will fit as it should. My challenge is to find an appropriate pattern for my flax yarn and my 78 years. Something with elbow length sleeves. Socks are still on my needles. I found sticky wood needles very handy with the eastern cast on for toe up socks. I was back to metal needles by the end of the toe increase
LillianG wrote
on Aug 20, 2007 3:48 PM
this is for SARA F - on an earlier post, you said your tops slide backward? Adding more length to the armhole in the back (or subtracting from the front) would probably help. Take a careful measurement from the shoulder seam to the bottom of the armhole, front & back, and compare the measurements to the tops, you'll probably be able to figure out where to add/subtract the length. HTH!!
Clmd wrote
on Aug 20, 2007 3:33 PM
Thank you for the informative post. Will definately be able to use this in the future. Also enjoyed the previous post. Good to see the garment on different figures at different angles and in different lighting.
Eliza wrote
on Aug 20, 2007 2:45 PM
I have a totally unrelated comment: is there some easy way of searching this site? I was looking for that post on blocking (from July) and went in a very roundabout way to find it. It wasn't under techniques, it was under Easy & Beginner. I'd also like to just browse these posts, but there doesn't seem to be a way of going forward or back. Is that something you can fix? (And can your posts be dated?) Thanks!
Anonymous wrote
on Aug 20, 2007 12:11 PM
Thanks for the photos on measuring and using the real thing. I almost thought you were measuring me!;>)
DeniseD wrote
on Aug 20, 2007 9:55 AM
What a great daily email! I will definitely use this information.
AndreaLea wrote
on Aug 20, 2007 8:41 AM
Thanks so much for providing such important information! Anyone who produces their own clothing needs to know how to measure themselves properly and your guide with pictures is awesome!
I absolutely feel that I can make things that fit me nicely after learning so much from these past few posts.
Thanks again!
Andrea
SaraJ wrote
on Aug 19, 2007 1:53 PM
Barbara P., I respectfully disagree, as one could easily fill a year of posts with the subjects under discussion this last week or two . . . there may be some people who'd get bored with it, especially those who are adept at adjusting things, those who are close to the standard fittings, etc.

Of course, Interweave will do whatever they decide to do, on that, but I wanted to post further my thoughts on it, which of course I understand many may and probably will disagree with. It's just MHO.
TamaraK wrote
on Aug 19, 2007 12:01 PM
Another fun fit-finding activity: grab an objective friend, go to your favorite store and try on sweaters! Be sure to grab all the different sleeve types, neck lines and yarn weights you can to see what really looks good on you - you might be surprised! My sis and I like thrift & consignment shops for this, too, especially if the current season is dominated by a particular style (e.g. raglan sleeves last yr!)
Marika wrote
on Aug 19, 2007 6:06 AM
I thought about how to choose what to knit, and this is my way of doing it:
What type of clothes do I have in my wardrobe? Will this fit in? Do I have something similar and how do I like it? If I hate deep necklines, then it's no use to knit one, is it? Regardless of how beautiful it is!
And I have really narrow shoulders, and have finally found out that I don't fit particularly well in raglans.

And some thoughts about designs:
Flat chested? You probably won't look good in deep, plunging necklines. (Take a look at the Corset pullover model, and you'll see what I mean!)
Big boobs? Anything with a really high neckline will probably make you look like you have ONE big boob.

And read the design notes! You could actually take a look at the designer's website if there is one, and see how other designs seem to fit. Look at blogs, Ravelry and so on, to see what the design looks like on someone else.

To sum it up: prepare yourself, before you start! And look at your knitting disasters as valuable lessons, analyze them and find out exactly what is wrong with them, and you will have a resource for choosing your next project! Trust me, I know (I have a raglan cardigan in heavy cotton that looks awful on me, that's how I learned that I don't fit in raglans)!
BarbaraP@3 wrote
on Aug 19, 2007 5:34 AM
This post is a treasure trove of valuable info. Thanks. And it's gotta' be one topic at a time. So for now, it's how to change an existing design. But please don't ignore the other half - designs with the larger person in mind to start with. Sometimes no matter how much you change a design to make it fit, it just wasn't meant to be worn on a more mature, or a heavier person.
SaraJ wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 11:18 PM
Eeek, it deleted the following:

Plus, I know KD won't be ALL fitting, ALL the time, as I believe is implied when you talk about this being an ongoing "class" . . . I understand that too, and look forward to the variety of topics that you will present to us! I had, weeks ago, decided to begin the Tomato, in the colors of yours, but reversed. I think, though, that I may be more ready for that NEXT year around this time, and will begin with something else as my first top (since I publically committed to it here on KD, I figured I'd note the change here, too.) Thank you SO much for this. It must have taken some time and effort to poll for volunteers, and encourage (sharing one's bust measurement, in conjunction with a pic in a possibly rather off-size for you sweater, must be a daunting though! Bravo, girls + Bertha!)
SaraJ wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 11:17 PM
Thank you. (And until that extra pair of hands is there full time, holy MOLY you are the only full time person working on KD; not just the posts, but with your computer stuff background, other aspects possibly . . . . . WOW. Seriously, if stuff takes longer than orignally thought, I understand.)
JulieS@3 wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 10:14 PM
Holy.
Moly.

I've been using my bra band size this entire freaking time. No wonder my sweaters are all too big. I thought it was my gauge.

*smacking forehead*
WeaversYarn wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 6:29 PM
I love the idea of a measuring party! Of course, any excuse, er reason, for a party, is a good thing -- even if you decide to have a party for one.
LauraM wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 5:23 PM
Caution, Sandi: Freestanding mirrors take a lot more room than you think because of the feet!
ShellieB wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 4:05 PM
this is really for the last post and today's post..this is awesome stuff. I really liked seeing the sweater on different folks w/ the ease. that helped ALOT.
Mary EllenB wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 3:16 PM
Ditto on the current models looking plenty real. I've enjoyed seeing them show off your latest designs season after season; like seeing a friendly face that I haven't seen in awhile. Thanks to them and your wonderful staffers who took the time to model the corset top for us!
NatashaH wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 2:37 PM
Hi... I too think this is great info and possibly a first in the interactive world of knitting.
But I'd like to interject one small comment to Alice Carden on her question about using a paper pattern for knitting. And the answer is yes, it can be a good idea. In fact, that's how designer Lily Chin works. She even discusses how to do it in her latest book.
Thanks again.
(And may I just please say, for the sake of the beautiful models you have in your magazine, that I find them realistic and that BELIEVE they ARE REAL PEOPLE TOO!)
BonnieM wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 1:58 PM
I chuckled to see comments about the Corset Pullover regarding making adjustments to the pattern to correct an "overexposed" chest. Ladies, that's how a corset fits. I know. Perhaps, like a corset, the designer intends the garment to fit low on the bust and wide on the shoulders.

Oh, and Sandi. . . we're not worthy! Thank you for all the practical and frank discussion.
AdcockJ wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 12:59 PM
Sandi,
Thank you so much for this topic! I am really looking forward to learning how to make the adjustments to garments for specific body types. One thing I'm confused about is how to tell if you are long or shortwaisted. I usually have problems getting tops to fit across my shoulders, around my arms, I also have a not quite an A cup size, so they often droop in the bust area. With pants and skirts, if I get them to fit around my waist, they are too short and too narrow in the thigh area, if I get them to fit length wise, they are too baggy around the front belly and waist and with all pants, I have problems with the back waist being baggy.(I guess my butt's dragging, lol) I really like the idea of showing designs in several different body types and going into how to make a particular design to work for your own body. The logistics of trying to show all the designs in all different body types would be mind boggling, but providing a reference on what measurements to take and how to adjust the schematics on the designs for various body types in the reference section would be great! Each of you working this ENORMOUS project, Knitting Daily, has my respect and admiration for all you accomplish!
Juli
GleanneK wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 11:45 AM
At the very least we should be seeing models who are sized 10-16. Then we will be able to have an idea of what a particular design would look like on a person with curves... it is so hard to even see the design of the sweater as it is hanging off of a mere slip of a girl. I thought the corset sweater MUCH more attractive on shapelier figures, it looked more like a potato sack on the model. Sorry! I don't want to project reverse discrimination, but merciful heavens, aren't we all tired of unrealistic examples of the female form in the media?
on Aug 18, 2007 11:07 AM
Needed to add...

The one thing that I wish for from IK (and all other mags) - to see more people in the largest size of the pattern. We are not all size 2 or 4 or 10, show us the pattern on a size 14 or 16 or 18 or higher. If the pattern in designed to go up to those sizes, why are they always shown on the smallest sizes? Show the pattern on small, average and large busted women too - not every size 6 is a B cup and not every size 18 is a D cup. I'm sure if all the skinny women out there were constantly looking at items knit for and worn by the largest sizes they would have issue - we largest sizes have issue constantly looking at the items knit for and worn by the smallest size!

I don't want to have to look at a PLUS SIZE section to see these items. If people are designing patterns to go from size 0 to size 20, then show us the size 20. Don't just show the size 2 and have us take it for granted that it will work on size 16.

Thanks so much for listening! And again, thanks for taking the time to address some of these issues.
on Aug 18, 2007 11:07 AM
Sandi, thank you so much for the encouraging and kind words on making knitted items for the actual knitters to wear!

One thing that I do when making things to fit me - I use inexpensive yarn with similar characteristics and same weight and knit the pattern for the smallest size (I'm lucky enough to have a smallest sized friend). When she puts it on I am able to determine how the pattern will fall on my body. Some people write their patterns for low breasts, some for high breasts, some for high waists, some for low waists, etc. In this way I can modify the pattern to fit my highs and lows and I don't waist the more expensive yarn or all the time added to knit to my size.

I find it more difficult to adjust patterns to the highs and lows as opposed to the various around measurements. Where the pattern adds fullness may not be where one needs it, and each designer/pattern may not add at the same place so each pattern needs to be uniquely modified. When the modifications are made, they are so worth it! A knitted item looks so much better when I knit it for my low waist versus the typical waist.
Tsastolfi wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 10:58 AM
I would love to hear more about the other Knitting Truths in the future - what are some different qualities of garment construction and knitted fabric? Thanks!
AmyL wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 10:51 AM
I check my email everyday just for your post! I wasn't going to measure myself really, until I read this post. I keep making things too big, being used to having to hold my breath in dressing rooms. Now I just might have a chance...
FlorenceG wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 10:29 AM
Thanks, great issue today! This is the kind of help I need to make things I will want to wear! I knew what some of the questions were, I needed help finding the answers.
SilvanaS wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 10:27 AM
This is a fantastic essay. Very useful. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the installments.

I made this sweater but had to substitute yarn because I couldn't find the original. I don't think it's being produced any longer. I decided I wanted a cotton sweater, because I was making it for this summer, and lo and behold the sweater was much too baggy. I ended up sewing lines of elastic thread into the center front and back sections to hold the sweater in. Other than that, I think it worked well, and I enjoyed knitting this -- lots of interesting shaping & lace detail.
NitaH wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 10:05 AM
Greetings and Gratitudes!
Up until now, I have avoided daily list services. I have found the posts here to be generously filled with information, instruction, AND inspiration. For that I am grateful!
ClaudiaC wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 9:11 AM
Just wanted to say thank you for such an informative, "user friendly" quick tutorial. It's timely; since I (and maybe many of us) will be looking at new patterns from Interweave Knits and elsewhere for those fall & winter sweaters.~Claudia
Kim wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 8:42 AM
I just love this direction! Thank you! Could you also do a "measure your man" segment? I am especially intersted in hints for how to lenghthen the back of my tall man's sweaters. Anything I have knit for him so far pops up in back, making it shorter in back. I have heard short rows help to solve this but don't have a clue how to adapt patterns for same. Thank you!!!!
Cinders wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 8:34 AM
Thanks Sandi for your advice and for being brave enough to show us yourself! You've boosted my confidence no end . Now I'm not fat and ugly, I'm Rubinesque and a goddess!!!!LOL. You're really making me think and also realise why the camisole I knitted, which looked great on the scrawny model , looked and absolute BU@@er on me!!!! Only grpie, I received my IK mag yesterday and the models are all still slim, if not scrawny. Please could you use the odd veluptuous model like the Book-'Big girl Knits' by Amy Singer??
Lisa@3 wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 8:24 AM
Thank you for this "class!" I have never knit a garment for myself because I am a curvy ample gal and I'm always afraid that after all the time and money invested the garment won't fit and/or I'll hate the way it looks. I am working up the courage to knit a sweater for me, so I'm grateful for these posts on how to measure and fit yourself. Thanks Sandi! I really enjoy reading Knitting Daily!
on Aug 18, 2007 7:43 AM
WOW!! What simple but significant information. I am a fairly competent knitter, but have a lot of difficulty with figuring out fitting and sizing of a garment and this just made some basic essential points crystal clear. I often have a garment with good craftsmanship but I have dissatisfaction over fit and ease. THANK YOU!!!
KathyC wrote
on Aug 18, 2007 7:26 AM
I have what I hope is not a stupid question. I have been knitting about 3 years now and while I understand sizing, what I don't understand is the entire ease issue. Can someone explain to me negative and positive ease? This is an aspect of a pattern that completely befuddles me!! Thanks in advance for all your help!!
DeborahH wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 11:49 PM
I'm imagining a world where we all adorn ourselves with gorgeous garments because we believe we are beautiful and we deserve to display artfully constructed garments that celebrate our individual, glorious shape, Count me in!
C.M.Forsberg wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 11:22 PM
To Glenna: yes, you can convert patterns that are knit with seams to be knit in the round instead. The thing to consider is the material it is made from, and the weight of the yarn. For example, cotton tends to be really heavy and to stretch out of shape, so I personally wouldn't do that unless it was a DK or lighter.
But even if it's wool in a heavy weight yarn, I wouldn't do it either. Having 3 lbs of bulky or super bulky hanging from my needles is just not my idea of a good time. Your mileage may vary, but it's worked for me in all my years of knitting.

To Sandi: This is exciting stuff! Keep up the good work!
Beverly wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 11:09 PM
hey, sandi! thanks for the helpful info on getting measurements for myself and others. is there any way this can be put in pdf format to download? i'd love to have it for reference later on when i'm not on the internet.

thanks! bev
HeidiW wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 9:40 PM
You are a brave woman. I've measured myself on a very few occasions and I hide away in the bathroom to make sure no one else could possibly see the numbers (that I never write down and quickly forget)I hope to be as brave as you someday. One thing I would be interested in knowing is how to deal with broad shoulders. I have broad shoulders and I'm not sure if I should be making adjustments in the length of the sleeve or in the width of the shoulder. I like my sleeves long (down to the 2nd joint of my thumb) and I can deal with that adjustment, but the sweaters I knit all seem to bind me up in the upper chest and shoulders (where the pectoral muscles meet the deltoid muscles) so clearly the adjustment needs to happen somewhere between the neckline and the armhole. I just can't seem to figure out where or how to make the increases without screwing up the shape. Usually I just make the next size up...

Thank You for all your hard work and a great blog.
BrandyG wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 9:32 PM
Thank you so much for the measuring party! I always appreciate a refresher in the basics. And please tell your grandpa that I said thank you from the bottom of my heart for saying that I am beautiful. I really needed to hear that!
CandiceV wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 8:43 PM
I know the difference between my measurements and the finished garment measurements. The problem is knowing what the intended ease of the garment. I wish designers & magazines would list it too.
NinaT wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 8:39 PM
Well, I did it. I measured myself, after first guessing. I already knew, but wasn't admitting it, that my bust size had changed, judging by how my bras fit.

My question is: If I am a 40B, and the pattern is a 40, there won't be any ease at all, the garment will be close-fitting?
JulieM wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 8:37 PM
After seeing the 9 Corset models yesterday I thought I would never knit a garment again (since they fit terribly). Your post today has given me the hope that I WILL knit something that fits someday. I adore you!
Katandben wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 8:36 PM
Lovely. This was a great article...to show that sweater on REAL women who were not waifs or 20.

And to find out what I would HAVE to do to make it fit better by seeing what the real woman model would have to do to fix it, that is priceless!

However, I have to agree with Kate who said it seemed silly to have a sweater that was too wide in the neck for ANY of the real women to look right in it. Being busty, I hate pulling at necklines that are too wide.

What was best about this article was info that IS NEVER given in any patterns and few other articles: WHERE to make adjustments. This makes it very frustrating for beginners ready to take a leap into a full fledged sweater who then knit something ill fitting. Come on! Admit it...all beginner sweaters are bags or slouching weekend things, so we really don't get practice in fit until we invest the time and money in this kind of project!
TracyJ@2 wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 7:54 PM
Great article. Now I know how to measure myself.
Shelley C wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 7:51 PM
Thanks for the 4 Truths and the measuring tutorial. :)

Like some of the other commenters I also sew and I know what a difference proper measurements over the undergarmets you'll actually wear makes. A strapless or push-up bra can change your shape a lot so it's always worth measuring.

Another way of finding your waist (and I'm always suprised at where it really is) is to stand up straight then lean over to the side (from the waist - your legs and hips stay still). The point where you crease is your waist. I don't know if this works for everyone but it's handy.
MargoS wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 7:43 PM
Can I just say that I am LOVING "Knitting Daily." It is the first time any magazine has done anything like this and it is AMAZING. It makes us feel like we're being listened to and that IK is "our" magazine. It's fantastic, keep up the good work!
KristaW wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 7:18 PM
Thank you for posting this. I was about to purchase yarn for my first sweater and had the wrong size. I was using my bra measurement. oh, that just screams negative ease! ha!
And thanks for the sweater 9+Bertha. I totally disregarded the pattern, but once I saw it on someone older than 17, it is truely a great sweater!
MagaliD wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 7:13 PM
Thank you, Sandi, for giving us such a wonderful opportunity to learn new tips every day. On today's post I learned NOT to use my bra size to knit me a sweater. I have had wrong-sized finished garments that are passed down to my sisters. I am in the middle of them, if garments are to big for me I gave to my larger sister, or if too small then I would give them to the skinnier one. Now I will be able to knit a garment that will fit me!!!!
KateM@2 wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 6:24 PM
Really interesting post - and comments - but I still can't see the pictures that everyone is talking about!
ChrissT wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 6:24 PM
Thank you for going over the difference between "finished" and "actual" bust measurements. As a knitting teacher this information along with how to do a proper gauge swatch are two of the most important concepts I can teach. Many long time knitters who take my classes comment that it has made a world of difference in their knitting.Thank you for going over the difference between "finished" and "actual" bust measurements. As a knitting teacher this information along with how to do a proper gauge swatch are two of the most important concepts I can teach. Many long time knitters who take my classes comment that it has made a world of difference in their knitting.
LizF wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 6:21 PM
Thanks, this series has been most helpful to me. And it gives me an idea...couldn't you, oh great and smart IK, come up with a virtual you where we enter our measurements and see what your sweaters would look like...something to think about.
J EK wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 5:57 PM
Bless you and the model (who looks a lot like me from the shoulders down) for being so very specific about the simple art of measurement. You have given me enthusiasm to pursue things beyond socks, mittens, sweaters and hats! More please.
StacyR wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 5:52 PM
Sandi - Thanks so much for starting this series on measuring. I have never known how to measure properly, and thanks for the extra tips on
AnitaM wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 5:36 PM
Thankyou so much Sandi - this is really going to help us all! It will be so nice to eliminate the stress of "am I knitting the right size?" so I can just relax and enjoy the knitting, knowing that I will get what I expect at the end. And ditto to the comments about this community - it is so supportive, and I am learning heaps! I love knitters. :)
Monkeygurl wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 5:30 PM
I love the lessons and I love you writing style, but what I appreciate MOST is your Grandpa. I never met him, but he sounds like a wonderful man.
KatL wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 5:10 PM
You've done a fabulous job of explaining ease and how to take your actual bust measurement!

Now if only IK would start including the suggested ease in the patterns, or something like "loose fit," "close fit," etc, that would be great!
KateV wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 4:47 PM
Sandi, you wonderful, wonderful girl! This measuring stuff may be elemental, but boy did I need to be shown once and for all. Also, being a Rubenesque gal myself, I sure do appreciate your positive insights on self image. Oh, and I love your Grandpa too!
TammyT wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 4:42 PM
Oh. My. Gosh. (I'm so overcome I've lapsed into my 14 year old daughter's manner of speaking.) This is, like, the MOST HELPFUL thing I've ever seen in my knitting life. I will hang on every word of this "class". Thank you so much!!
MarieB wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 4:39 PM
I not only knit, I am a professional seamstress - you could not be MORE RIGHT about measurements! I've just had two of my dearest friends ask me to help them "properly" fit their bust sizes for decent bras and proper shirt fit. Both were larger than they thought, not realizing that as you age you change shape and that with each garment you MUST RE-MEASURE. Heck, I've done it to myself! Voice of experience... long years now!
LindaK@3 wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 4:33 PM
Yay! I'm so glad to see you address measurements and how they affect knitted garments. I sew as well as knit so I know how important measurements are for good fit, even in hand knits. I'm looking forward to seeing your posts on measuring the rest of the body too. I'm forever lecturing my friends on the glories of the fitted sweater vs. the fattening knit (a.k.a. the "Yes, knits do too need shaping!" argument)
ShirleyM@2 wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 4:29 PM
You are wonderful, & oh so right. I am almost 69 y.o. and probably haven't really measured since 30. It's going to be a shock, I know, but realistic. Will do the dastardly deed in a while. Thank you, thank you. SM
BarbaraB wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 4:16 PM
Thank you so much for today's class on measuring. At last! A glimmer of light! Your explanations were first class and I look forward to a measuring weekend, a swatch and more instructions in due course. Thanks a million again, from Barbara, Down Under.
nekosan wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 4:08 PM
Ditto on the "pointless to choose by bust size unless you're a B cup". I'm a very strange shape (28G bra size); if i choose something based on my bust measurement, it's *huge* everywhere (back, shoulders, sleeves, length, waist), but STILL too tight in the front. (For most sizes, they assume the front is only a few inches bigger than the back. My front is about twice *twice* as big as my back.) Wah! I prefer to choose the size that matches most of me (usually a 30"-32" size), and add the room only where i need it - that basically being just for my tits, just in the front.
AliceCarden wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 4:00 PM
Could you make a diagram of the finished product on something like tissue paper and hold it up to yourself to get an idea of the true size? When I use to sew, I could do that and have at least a general idea if the garment was going to fit. Most knitting patterns give the final measurements to use in blocking.
SkyeP wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:58 PM
This is a great article - I love the 4 truths and felt calmer about this whole issue of making garments that fit (one reason I like to make tea cozies is to avoid this!) . . .and I just love the community created here.
Skye
WreathaD wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:57 PM
Sandi - Just a note to tell you how wonderful your Kitting Daily is. You put out so much meaningful data. You obviously take a huge amount of time to do this, and it is fabulous the way our feedback is driving your column. Your Grandpa was right - YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!! Thanks for your efforts - getting the email is always a highlight of my day.
StephanieE wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:46 PM
I've learned that reading the description of the design helps with figuring out ease. I do not see the kinds of word that indicated type of fit in the IK descriptions. Although the size that is on the model is indicated, I'm not good at determining whether the model has a 32" chest or a 40" chest. Thanks for asking for input on this.
Anonymous wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:46 PM
I have a question that doesn't fit the theme of measurement...but it's on my mind so I am going to ask! If you have a sweater with the exact shaping for front and back up to the armholes, and no customization is required, is there any reason to NOT work the front and back on circular needles as a single unit? I'm working on a pattern now where back and front are identical...seems like it should be doable in the round but I'm not experienced enough to know. Thanks!
PatF wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:45 PM
I think--maybe I'm wrong--that one usually choses her basic size in a given pattern by using her band measurement + 2 inches + desired ease.

Standard sizes are made to fit an A or a B cup size. Anything more than that will require a larger size or, preferably, short-row treatment for the bust area, starting about an inch in from each side of the front, about 3 inches below the armhole. Those short rows are about one inch in your row gauge for each cup size above B. And a well-fitted bra is essential to good measurements and a good fit.

But in the larger size, for anyone with a large bust, the sweater will be bigger in places where she doesn't want it--across the back, in the arms, probably in the shoulders, almost certainly in the waist.

And what you're after here is a good fit, and an even hem that isn't hiked up in front by a larger bust, a problem for which the larger size doesn't do much.

Some patterns, both jacquard and pattern stitches, don't work so well for short-rowing. Try to work it out on graph paper first.
ViviV wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:41 PM
Wow, thank you so much for this post, PLUS the measuring post! As a relatively new knitter, I've been scratching my head at the term "ease." Thanks for clearing that up! I'm not quite up to knitting grown up pieces but luckily we're experiencing a baby boom in my circle of friends, so I'm getting plenty of practice with smaller sizes. That being said, I'm enjoying your posts and I'm learning a lot from you about what to do when I am ready for me-sized garments. Thanks again!
MaureenT@3 wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:41 PM
I can't tell you how helpful these knitting daily posts are! I'm a self taught knitter who's torn out and started again more projects than I can count. I feel like I can really succeed with some more challenging garments. Thanks. Maureen
on Aug 17, 2007 3:41 PM
All right, Sandi! Way to start the "Sandi-sized" corset pullover. I'm sure we are all hoping you share the details of that WIP with us. And thanks for today's post-- one of the best yet. Can't wait to see the rest of the series...
Rebecca S wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:40 PM
Seeing a garment on the gals that work at Interweave was brilliant! Perfect! This showed me more how this garment looks on real women than any photo in any of your magazines. PLEASE, Please consider using the Interweave staff as models for all your upcoming issues! Sandy I would love to see your smiling face and beautiful bod modeling a garment in every issue! Please, this is what we readers really desire!
Mary BethB wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:35 PM
How do you know how much ease will be in a knitted garment? How do you plan for a certain amount of ease when chosing what size to make?
SuzanneR wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:33 PM
Forgot to ask -
I love to knit with wool but live in a warm climate. I would love to knit a sweater but I don't know what fiber to use. Could you do a feature on the pros and cons of different fibers? i.e. temperature comfort zone, softness, washability, how well they retain shape, etc.
Thanks!
Suzanne (again)
KateR@2 wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:30 PM
I don't understand why you put the burden on your faithful readers to correct a pattern when the neck didn't fit properly on any of the women who tried it on. How about suggesting that the designer construct a neckline that wouldn't have the shoulders falling off everyone who tries to wear it? We can see that the neckline is very low (why?) and probably correct that ourselves quite easily, but it doesn't seem fair to expect us to fix the shoulders. I like your idea of showing garments on real people, but why don't you do that before you publish the pattern? I just bought your fall issue, and I vote that you try 2 sweaters on normal people--the concentric vest and the belle cardigan. Kate
RebeccaW wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:30 PM
One way to figure out what sweater size you need without trying to figure out ease blah blah blah is to get one of your favorite sweaters, measure that, compare that with the schematics, and pick the width that's closest. That's what I do, personally, because there's just no way in hell a 40" sweater will fit me (way too big), even though that's my bust measurement.
SharonH wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:28 PM
Sandi, this is a good start. Thank you.

Can I ask that the cross back measurement be adressed too? I know that is doesn't probably affect as many people as some of the others, but I'd love to learn how to adjust patterns to fit across my broad shoulders.

I just measured myself yesterday and I have a 46" bust but a 23" cross back measurement, which means I need to find an extra 5 inches somewhere is people are designing based on the yarn standards.

Thanks
SuzanneR wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:27 PM
I normally try to avoid daily postings but all of yours have been relevant, educational and witty (aren't knitters a witty group?). Thanks for all the great info!
sulitk wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:20 PM
The picture tutorial is awesome. It is always helpful to know where to do your measurements and this should help a lot of the commenters from previous posts. I have been knitting long enough that I am comfortable with adjusting sizing, but would like to know how to do arm hole changes and neckline changes for patterns and then I should be able to design my own. :)
AllisonK wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:11 PM
Sandi,

Great topic today! But how do you know how much ease (not not) is written into the pattern, other than by looking at the photo?

Thanks! Allison K.
KD Sandi wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:06 PM
****Sandi here...

We're working on a new feature that will allow you to click and get close-ups of the photos! The current small size of our staff (did you know that I am the only full-time person working on KD? yup! Even Bertha works part-time for other mags and books) means that we're a bit backed up right now...but the larger photos is something we hope to have soon for you!
ElaineS@5 wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 3:05 PM
I like your measuring instructions, but I never notice that ease is even mentioned in knitting patterns. I often wonder how big/small is the model. The final measurement for the garment is given but I don't know the size of the model. If I want my sweater to fit like the one shown in a photograph I need to know how much ease there should be. Am I making sense?
SharonC wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 2:51 PM
What a wonderful idea, Sandi. A class for us, about us! I'm sure I'll find a few surprises. The explanation about negative ease finally clarified that for me. Thanks again, and thank you, Grandpa. On another note, it would be nice to get a closeup of your free patterns. Right now, I just download it, look, and if I don't want it, then I delete it.
B.L@2 wrote
on Aug 17, 2007 2:23 PM
B.Luke I wish that I didn't have to download every pattern that I want. I wish that they were already ready to use without it. Thanks