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The Central Park Hoodie: Which Size To Knit?

Dec 12, 2007

Originally, we were going to wait until Friday to post photos of Lisa Shroyer's finished Big Girl version of the Central Park Hoodie, but after all your requests, we just couldn't resist any Voila! And yes, that is Lisa modelling her hoodie for us all. Toooo cute! But how to make sure your own hoodie, and every sweater you knit, is just as cute on you as Lisa's is on her?

Ta-DA! Lisa's CPH "Plus"!

The first question, for any knitter of any size or shape, is: what size should I make? Too big, and the best parts of any figure can get swallowed up. Too small, and well. Certain features of one's landscape can be over-emphasized, shall we say.

So how does a professional pattern designer go about determining what size to make for herself? Funny you should ask...

Sizing the CPH+

by Lisa Shroyer

When I sat down to reconfigure Heather Lodinsky's Central Park Hoodie pattern in a size that works for my body, I had to ask myself a few questions:

What size am I?
How much ease do I want in this project?
What alterations besides width do I need to make in the pattern for plus sizes?

So I know my bust measurement—a solid 45". I also know my hips measure 49", and the space between bust and hip is an A-line slope (I am a total pear). So, to fit everywhere comfortably and to have enough ease to make this garment outerwear (to be worn over other garments), I decided 7" of ease in the bust and 3" of ease in the hips (as there is no shaping from hem to underarm in this project) would be best. And that makes for a 52" finished hoodie. I've seen other knitters make the CPH very fitted, which is super-cute, but honestly, on my body, a super-fitted cardigan is not flattering. Instead of looking chic and tailored, such a garment just shows rolls and bumps and causes discomfort at underarm and shoulder, as the underlayers bunch up. A fitted CPH on me would look like an inadequately knit and improperly sized garment. So my CPH is loose and comfy. (Sidenote: I'm not saying plus-size knitters should make all their sweaters oversized and shapeless; rather, you should understand which types of garments are suited to different amounts of ease on your body.)

The modified buttonband on Lisa's CPH

And besides width, how else does this pattern need to be altered to work on my body? I added a quarter inch to the body ribbing (does make a visible difference!), overall length to the body, and a wider buttonband. The extra length may seem obvious, but why a wider buttonband? Well, bold framing elements work well on my body type. Since I'm larger, I can wear plunging V-necks, huge cowl necks, wide kimono sleeves, large buttons—all those dynamic elements that can overpower the smaller of frame, but help break up and "frame" larger women. And with the deep body ribbing, a wimpy buttonband would have looked silly. Because the buttonband is so wide, it negates the need for front neck shaping on the cardigan. The buttonband takes up the space in the center front where the front neck would be dropped and shaped on a pullover. You could add front neck shaping if you plan to button your CPH up higher to the throat—making the shoulders narrower and the back neck wider (which would also affect the stitch count in the hood).

Next time: More FO pics of my CPH, and we'll talk about what I would have done differently.

This is the second in a series from Lisa Shroyer on her adventures in Big Girl Land with the Central Park Hoodie. Lisa is editor of Knitscene, and senior editor of Interweave Knits.

Our online store is open!

Our online pattern store is open! You can buy patterns (including the revised, enhanced version of the Central Park Hoodie) from many of our sold-out magazines. We're pleased to offer these out-of-print patterns, and even more pleased to be able to help support our wonderful designers by sharing a portion of each pattern sale with them! We'll be loading up new patterns as fast as we can in the days ahead.  Enjoy!


Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. She is now the author of the popular Knitting Daily blog: What's on Sandi's Needles.


Knit Cardigan Patterns From Knitting Daily: 7 FREE Knitting Patterns

Every knitter has dreamed of the perfect cardigan pattern that he or she might knit some day. From a cozy cable knit to luminous lace, this free ebook will be your dream come true. This is a wonderful and varied collection of cardigans-which is one of the most important pieces in your wardrobe. You'll want to make every one of these knit cardigan patterns, so download your free eBook now and get started (and don’t forget to tell a friend so they can enjoy their own copy!).

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Featured Product

Central Park Hoodie Knitting Pattern

Availability: In Stock
Price: $5.50


This best-selling hoodie pattern from Heather Lodinsky now offers expanded sizes. Tahnki's Donegal Tweed wool singles yarn delivers beautiful cable structure and insulation from the cold.


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Barb@80 wrote
on Sep 5, 2010 9:33 PM

Hi living in Australia your books are hard to get and buying them are to expensive for international folks

jmagyar wrote
on Oct 6, 2009 1:54 PM

Has anyone tried adapting the Central Park Hoodie pattern as a drop shoulder sweater? If so, how did you do it? Any advice?

Also, can anyone confirm MaryW's experience that the bust sizes given in the pattern are finished sizes and not figure sizes?


RosittaB wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 6:48 PM
I bought the pattern and knit the entire cardigan. I was knitting a size 40 for a size 38 person and now I have to frog the entire thing. It will not fit. The sleeves are way too tight and for and for a cardi it should have a more generous fit. Also I wanted to buy a back order of one magazine which was going to cost $9.50 to mail! Not in this lifetime, at least not my money.
TinaP wrote
on Jan 10, 2008 12:23 AM
I recently bought this pattern~ I LOVE it!!! I am working on it right now. I was curious if anyone had childrens sizes in the making for this sweater? I would love to make one in a childs size, too. I don't think I could figure it out myself though. Thanks again I wouldn't have even seen this one if it wasn't for the emails I get.
HeatherJ wrote
on Jan 6, 2008 6:50 PM
To all those who complained about paying for patterns - A fiber artist is no different than any other artist and deserves to be fairly compensated for their expertise and time. Pottery artist - Heather J.
TinaL@3 wrote
on Dec 24, 2007 12:42 AM
I was mot able to change my password. Please let me know how to do this.tina
MaryW@6 wrote
on Dec 20, 2007 4:00 PM
I have been following the series on the Central Park Hoodie and finally purchased the pattern. Who could resist after all the positive comments. BUT instead of saying "BUST SIZE" on the pattern, I think it should say "FINISHED BUST SIZE" I was trying to figure out which size to knit and I had to read all those articles and view your gallery to figure out that the sizes you gave on the pattern were "finished bust sizes" not actual "bust size". It is very confusing.

Mary Walter
Needles4ewe wrote
on Dec 19, 2007 8:30 PM
I like (and have ordered) the pattern. Now a different hard would it be to adapt it to a DK weight?
ReneeS wrote
on Dec 17, 2007 12:40 PM
Yarn requirement for CPH larger sizes? I have never knit an entire sweater for myself--just too much landscape to cover, but I love this CPH, and I bought the pattern. Now I want to buy the yarn, but the yarn I found is put up in 50g balls. Do I really need 40 balls of yarn to make the largest size?? Ouch!
BeverlyB wrote
on Dec 17, 2007 6:56 AM
I have wanted to knit this for what feels like forever and I'm eternally grateful that I don't have to do the maths. I don't work for free and don't expect anyone else to either. Thanks very much for making this available. Thanks again xx
HeatherC wrote
on Dec 15, 2007 9:25 PM
My only complaint about the CPH not being free is that I have already purchased the magazine and really just want the extended sizes. I made the purchase through the Interweave website after it was off the newstands and was charged a shipping and handeling fee, which I expected. The total was around $13.00 w/ s&h. Now to pay another $5.50 for this pattern kinda makes me feel like I have payed for the issue 3 times, just to get the one pattern, which is why I originally purchased the magazine. So I'm using the excuse of not having the extended sizes to get my fat arse back to the gym.

I'm knitting the 48" bust and will end up w/ 4" negative ease, which is a bit worrysome for me cause most of the FO's I've seen on Ravelry of the CPH were knitted up a size larger than the wearer would normally make. I'm keeping my fingers crossed
TerryW wrote
on Dec 15, 2007 11:43 AM
Reading & seeing all the pictures of the CPH in the different sizes has been invaluable to me. Paying $5.50 is nothing for all the calculations that you had to do in all the sizes. As I said before, I teach knitting on a small island, which is now a knitting group, and we are all different sizes. It was well worth it that I didn't have to figure it out and to be able to explain it to the other knitters. I also love the changes you made to the placket as the size got bigger. What a great website. Thank you Lisa & Sandy. Have a great holiday.
Fire Island Knitter
ElizabethW wrote
on Dec 15, 2007 6:14 AM
I can't tell you how much I appreciate the insight into your design/alteration decisions. I get a much better command of the topic if I can "look behind the curtain". Thanks - Liz
SaraJ wrote
on Dec 15, 2007 1:37 AM
Thanks for everything that went into this for us!
TamaraM wrote
on Dec 14, 2007 8:54 PM
Before I started reading today, I was thinking "I love reading my Knitting Daily--I enjoy Sandi's voice, I've loved the galleries, and I've found the sizing information invaluable. I hadn't really been reading the posts, so hadn't realized things had gotten so negative. I agree with Leslie V.--people can say whatever they want, and IP can hawk their wares if they like (I just delete those emails)--it's like with TV--if you don't like what you're watching, turn the channel! LOVE you and your group Sandi--Happy Holidays to everyone there. --Tamara M.
LesleyM wrote
on Dec 14, 2007 1:45 PM
Would it be possible to let us pay with Paypal instead of a credit card. My fun money is all in there and I really would like the CPH.
YavannaR wrote
on Dec 14, 2007 11:18 AM
Thank you for offering such an exciting pattern in such an amazing array of sizes. I myself actually fit into one of the original sizes, but I love the additions and changes. The button band is so cute!!

Even though I am a petite size, I am glad to see a range of sizes, because I love to knit presents for family and friends, and with the new sizing, that will be much more doable. I hope to see expanded sizes in many of the patterns to come.

As for the price--when you really think about it, $5.50 isn't all that much to pay for the patterns. When you consider how much work and love went into creating the original work. As a fashion designer, I know how hard it can be to create something new. I also understand how hard it is to make sure everyone in the creation process receives their fair due. We've become so obsessed with how cheaply we can get things. Once upon a time, we cared more about quality. I just look at my industry in general and as I see the trend moving even further and further away from quality to quantity...its a little heartbeaking for an artist.

Keep up the great work. This website is a wonderful resource. And the information you give with each pattern is wonderful. I am a big fan.
PennyM wrote
on Dec 14, 2007 10:45 AM
I loved this insight into how to rethink a pattern to fit yourself. My problem is, how do we know how much ease has been figured into the original pattern? And how tall was the person (or demographic) the pattern was designed for? I know Sandi believes that length is not an issue, but after knitting my first few sweaters too short, I believe that it is an issue for me. So how can we find out these things?
Meeb wrote
on Dec 14, 2007 8:47 AM
all the best of the season to you and yours, sandi and everyone else.... and safe driving. knitting while waiting for the tow truck is theraputic, but not really as fun as one might hope.
NiekB wrote
on Dec 13, 2007 8:37 PM
they have great problemsolving tips with pictures explaining what work of f.e. a big bust; v neck good, turtle bad, if you are a pear, apple, banana, it works! they even have shoe tips that wil make you ankles look better!
hope this tip will give everybody a nice x-mas. And i love kniiting daily, the staff and Sandi's writing. Thnk you very much, i will try my first sweater in 2008!
seasanol greetings from Holland!
NiekB wrote
on Dec 13, 2007 8:32 PM
Hi Everybody.there are a lot of questions the last few days about sizes, measurements, bodytypes, and whether or not a garment would look flattering on you. So you might like this tip i have. I allways use teh "what not to wear" guidelines by triss and suzannah.since i did tht people ask me if i lost weight even though i have gained 10 kilos.
KathyV@2 wrote
on Dec 13, 2007 8:27 PM
I tink that all of the people referring to the holiday season should remember that the people who design the patterns and work so hard for the knitters of the world have families too. They are obviously dedicated to bringing us the best, and should be rewarded as such.
Elizabeth wrote
on Dec 13, 2007 6:01 PM
To Kat who wants to make a 24 inch hat: First use your needles and make a swatch. Then, if you like the texture of the fabric in the swatch, measure the number of inches per inch in the swatch and multiply that number by 24 inches. see earlier postings for info on swatching.

As for this sweater, I have the pattern since I suscribe to IK, but would not make it because it didn't close. Now, with the update, I can see a way to button it. It's really cute and I may buy the updated pattern for this reason. LOVE THE STORE. Thanks to Sandi and the staff for all this wonderful information. Merry Christmas!
23psalms wrote
on Dec 13, 2007 4:49 PM
I bought a back issue of the magazine because I liked the pattern and wanted it. I also bought the pattern from the online store because my mom liked it, and it has her size included.

So in a nutshell...if you don't want the pattern, don't buy it! Stop wanting everything given to you and show some respect for the ladies who made it available to those of us who will buy it. Geesh!
RobinB wrote
on Dec 13, 2007 4:04 PM
I absolutely love this sweater!!! I too am trying to figure out what else I need to reconfigure in adjustments in patterns as I'm a 'full' figured woman too. This post is wonderful. Really happy to see a professional tackle this issue!
JoAnneWM wrote
on Dec 13, 2007 11:27 AM
I have the original pattern and I fit into the size range. However, I would like to make this so I can wear it buttoned. Are there any things in the new version of the pattern that will help me do this? I haven't done many sweaters so it would be easier for me if I can just widen the band rather make changes in the neck and shoulders.
TonyaK wrote
on Dec 13, 2007 9:21 AM
Yay! Thank You Leslie B!! I plan on purchasing this pattern tomorrow (after I get the ole paycheck);)

I have no problem paying the $5.50 for the pattern. It is one I've been wanting to do for such a long time, and the fact that it is now even AVAILABLE, makes me giddy to no end!! THANK YOU KD!! You're Priceless!!
LeslieB@2 wrote
on Dec 13, 2007 9:05 AM
To Tonya K - yes, the pattern for purchase has the complete set of instructions for all sizes, new and old. (Love those girls at kd! And thanks so much)

As to the raging debate over whining and suppression thereof, although I am one who vehemently defends Knitting Daily's rights to capitalistic enterprise, I also find opposing points of view both educational and entertaining. Never would I have thought that there would be such disdain in paying a paltry $5.50 for a popular and classic pattern, but certainly there is. I say, bring on your comments -- Vive la difference!! Just avoid the personal vetting. That gets tiresome.
TonyaK wrote
on Dec 13, 2007 8:10 AM
Hi Sandi! I have a question about the new CPH pattern. Does this new pattern also include the original pattern? I'm not really plus sized, and would like my CPH to look just like the original one. Can I do that with this pattern? If not is there a way we can get the original pattern? Thank You!!
DianeW wrote
on Dec 13, 2007 7:09 AM
Any chance we could see what the CPH looks like without the hood up?
on Dec 13, 2007 5:20 AM
How do i find out how many stitches to cast on for a certain length? With #4mm needle &knitting worsted, Iwant to make a hat to be 24 inches round. How many stitches would it take? Is there a math. way to figure this out?
Carol J wrote
on Dec 13, 2007 12:40 AM
I,too, have to agree w/ Jayne and the others that I stopped reading most of the comments due to the 'whiners'. I guess in blogs you have to consider that some whine there because there 'friends' are tired of hearing it. As for paying for the pattern--it's like everything else in life if, if you don't want to pay the price-don't- but stop whining about not getting something for nothing. Find another sweater somewhere for free and forgo the tons of FREE, worthwhile, advice given in KD. Oh yeah! leave the blog space for constructive comments and kudos to the staff of Interweave. their advice and attempt to answer questions and help with knitting problems in invaluable and worth so much more than the whining and complaining. I think there have been adequate rebuttals for the whiners to figure out the the rest of us are tired of the negative blogging.
Jayne wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 10:51 PM
I came to the comments to give Sandi and Lisa and whomever else is involved a big kudos because I think today's posting is great! I look forward to putting the information to use, hopefully in making my own CPH but definitely in any other sweater projects that come along in the future.

If Interweave wants to send me some offers for other publications or use the forum that THEY are providing to toot their own horn then go right ahead.

I had forgotten why I stopped reading the Reader's Comments though, skimming through today's first 15 reminded me why. :-) Keep up the good work Sandi, maybe the whiners will get weeded out and we'll be left with people who are just interested in gaining the knowledge you offer instead of looking for things to be centered around only their preferences.

Glad to see your holidays are making you SO much kinder...
JenniferH wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 10:31 PM
I'm not sure I will knit the sweater, but am delighted that the plus size pattern is available. I have the mag & that is lovely ... I am sure to knit it for our g-children, but I'm not keen on cables for my body. :>)
Happy Advent & soooon, Merry Christmas!
ChrissieM wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 9:46 PM
Lisa, you look great in your CPH! I've seen pics on Ravelry and I really like the design changes that you made to the plus-size version of this cardigan. I'm planning on knitting this soon, in the 48in size. I think I will add some of your elements to that size (the deeper ribbing, extra length, wider buttonband). Even though I have the magazine with the original pattern, I think I'm going to buy the new enhanced version.
NinaT wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 8:55 PM
I love this hoodie! And I appreciate all the work that's gone into making it in bigger and more sizes. As to the price, if I was buying a pre-printed pattern, it would cost more, due to shipping costs, so it's not that big a deal to me. Yes, I've downloaded patterns cheaper, but I've also paid steeper prices getting patterns that are hard to find. I haven't done it yet, but I'm most likely going to get the pattern. I love this blog, and realize advertising is needed to pay to keep it going. I do look at the marketing emails we get, briefly, and delete what doesn't interest me.
AnnaM wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 8:43 PM
Hi, Lisa, I am very much a "pear" also, with even a greater disparity between bust and "hip/belly"--about 8 inches--and I am short and short-waisted, so my hips widen to full sail only 4-5 inches below my waist. Given this boring stuff, what do you think of knitting a size smaller for the bust area (maybe even two sizes smaller), and gently widening to a commensurate hip width down the side seams. Has anybody tried this on a "boxy " sweater like the CPH? Would it look ridiculous? I have long wanted to try this, but have been too timid (my nickname is Piglet). Hopefully somebody can give me courage! Or have a better idea. Thanks, Anna
Happygoo25 wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 7:18 PM
I am not against paying for the CPH pattern; however, I too felt like it was going to be a gift for the Holiday Season as inferred from the original post.
Kateykat66 wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 6:59 PM
Is the Tweedy Aran Cardigan by Norah Gaughan from the Winter 2001/2002 issue on the list??? I simply adore this pattern and was not a knitter in 2001, and didn't receive Knits. Sadly, it seems like this issue is a pursued scarce commodity and I can only imagine that this sweater has something to do with it! I've scoured the internet, but my searching efforts aren't turning much up. Please say this one is coming!!!
NancyG@7 wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 6:37 PM
Rather than worry about ease, fit, etc, I have achieved excellent results by just measuring a sweater that I (or the recipient) already own, and then, referring to the schematic, choosing the size which will reproduce that sweater. This way, my loose fitting sweaters end up loose but not overwhelming, and my skinny tight sweaters end up just right.
1120magnolia wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 6:23 PM
I was going to post that I would use bigger buttons on the CPH for a larger size. The small ones to me accentuate the added ribbing and the added size. Just my opinion/suggestion.

BUT, after reading the comments, I just had to add that I am not put off by buying the pattern at all! Especially since so many great patterns are posted free on the site. Honestly, I have learned SO MUCH from reading my knitting daily I could NEVER have purchased that information anywhere for any price. I paid a lot to learn to knit through my LYS and I don't think any number of knitting sessions could have given me (and continue to give) the sizing help that this blog has given for FREE! And as far as being marketed to, where else would you market your pattern? To the knitters out there who are interested/able to use it. Until I start getting spam or having to pay for some membership for the blog, I am content to have to pay for a pattern here and there. It seems totally unrealistic to expect otherwise.

Sandi and the rest of the staff that I have gotten to "know" through the blog...YOU RULE!

Happy knitting holidays!
EmilyR@2 wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 5:47 PM
I'm not opposed to paying designers for their hard work, what I am opposed to is this seemingly great blog turning into a marketing tool. I'm not interested in the emails about the newest books or mags being published, but because of the great KD content I was willing to over look those 'sales' emails, to see the marketing mindset creep into the blog posts is not so easy to overlook.
AdrienneB wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 5:15 PM
After reading the posts last month, the pattern was going to be available through the Knitting Daily site. I was really looking forward to that. At that point in time, I certainly did not know about the pattern store. My thought, therefore expectation, we were getting a very special holiday present. I was disappointed to find out the pattern is $5.50. I was disappointed because the expecation had been set up (look back at the posts leading up to this weeks posts) the pattern would be free. I do not recall ever seeing anything about a pattern store being created. The actual cost of the pattern is fair, and it reinforces the value of the magazine.

But, after looking at the information presented with the pattern, and coming up with questions and then ONLY finding those questions answered in Monday's comments, and then not addressed again, I am disappointed a bit in the store. My question was why the big difference in the yarn requirement. Asked and answered, but only in the comments. I think the information, especially the information regarding gauge, should be more widely shared than in the pattern notes. After stressing the importance of gauge, then to have a pattern with a change of gauge depending on which size is being made, that should probably be HIGHLIGHTED not ignored in the pattern information.

Will I buy the pattern, I am not sure. The cost, although a disappointment, is not a factor.
AnnR wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 5:11 PM
Merry Christmas to all that put out the wonderful "Knitting Daily" I look forward to it every day.
I think that the online store is a great idea, and of course you should charge for the patterns.
PamK wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 5:02 PM
Lisa Lisa Lisa. Your crossed arms in the photo not only ruin the line of the sweater, it shouts DON'T LOOK AT ME! Not to mention that we can't see the front of the sweater! Where was the photo stylist?
Coley J wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 4:46 PM
Look people (especially Layl)- here's the deal. The pattern is available. If you want the pattern, you have to buy it. If you don't want to pay for it, then don't!! Why do you complain about it having a price tag on it? They can't give us everything for free!! For goodness sakes, they gave us the modern quilt wrap for free and there are hundreds of free patterns. Plus, this magazine is out of print! Why on earth would they give this pattern to us for free; ESPECIALLY after Lisa did so much work on getting us a bigger size for us BBW!? ...It frusterates me that people have overwhelming expectations in people who are just trying to do their job. Lay off people and lighten up!! I can tell that Sandi works so hard to bring us the most useful and entertaining information. I am sick of all of these complaints the past few weeks! What is it with you people who complain so often? It's the time of year where everyone should be happy and thankful for life and the opportunity that Interweave Press has given us with Knitting Daily and being able to read Sandi's posts and her wonderful guest writer's posts. It's been such an amazing treat. Be thankful that the pattern is even available. Thank you ALL at Interweave Press and Knitting Daily! Have a Merry Christmas! (P.S. - Sandi, we love you and the ones who don't are just crazy! You have a wonderful holiday and I pray you stay safe and enjoy yourself!! I hope you get to see your husband too.)
lerikson80 wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 4:44 PM
Uhhh...the patterns are from the magazine so of course you have to pay for them! Just individually as you like them instead of for the whole mag - which in some cases is out of print/sold out so you wouldn't be able to get it anyway. I'm thrilled that they are doing this. It is an excellent idea, surprised they didn't think of it sooner!
LeslieB@2 wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 4:02 PM
Scheeez! I don't work for free and I certainly don't think these kind people that have brought us so much information and fun should either. Ms. Layl H, stunned and amazed in you I am.
LaylH wrote
on Dec 12, 2007 3:52 PM
I find having to pay for a pattern on this site objectionable - so will do without it. Disappointed in you I am.