Posted by: GourmetGirl | March 15, 2011

Running the Numbers

I have been “Running the Numbers” with my favorite tech editor on a lace cardigan pattern due out in a July magazine.

I call it “Running the Numbers” because that is what pattern writing is mostly about. I have the most amount of joy in creating a sweater in my size. The really hard part is grading the pattern to other sizes.

It can be really frustrating for me when all I want is to help the knitter make a sweater that fits. And I don’t mean fits well enough to show your friends at lunch, but fits so well you want to grab it and wear it every day.

Sometimes, I feel like I am all alone.

I think progress is being made when I see the several plus size books out there making the move to ask the knitter to measure before knitting. Is there a way for every size to obtain the perfect fit?

YES! It is called knowing your Numbers.

I don’t meaning 36/24/36 (totally unrealistic except for Barbie and the occasional Marilyn.) What I mean is knowing that you prefer a tight fitting sleeve to be 11 inches and a baggy one to be 13 inches. That even though your bust measures 39 inches and  your bra size is 34B your best fitting sweater is a 32, 34 is a nice loose look and anything larger is for around the house! (p.s. again, those are my measurements)

How to get there? By using your measuring tape.

Measure different sweaters and tops that you own and love the way they fit you. And if you don’t have one? Well, measure the one with the sleeves you love (don’t forget the length from under the arm to the end), the one you love the circumference, etc. In short: get to know what fits you best!

For some knitters they decrease the circumference after the chest. For others, they increase after the waist. Lucky for you! You are knitting your sweater and YOU can make these changes to work for your body.

Second is to measure as you are knitting. Gauge can change and yes, there are tons of errors in patterns. (And they are not necessarily from the designer!) So, measure and make sure you are getting the size you think you are. And if you are lucky enough to be knitting a top-down sweater, you can try it on as you knit!

This is a subject that can go on and on……… But, I will end it now by encouraging you to know your Numbers.

Here’s to Running the Numbers!




  1. Yes, yes, yes!!! If I could have got a grasp of this years ago, there would have been so many better-fitting items I had made! Another number to know is depth of armhole – I am low-busted and need extra length in the armhole. This is especially important when the design changes below the bust – it often ended up mid- or above-bust for me:( Short or long waisted too? The schematics are there for a reason!!!

    • Oh, my!
      I took out the section of my post on arm hole depth!
      Standardizing charts have the arm hole depth unrealistic in my opinion. The charts tell me I should be at 6.5 inches actual measurement. I am 9 inches.
      I have been starting research on this and find photos of finished garments where they follow the charts and they end up with tight arm holes.
      The tech editors are instant that the pattern grading follows these charts.
      I will be posting more on fit………

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: