Which size to knit?
Found a pattern you love? Chosen your yarn? One of the next questions is which size to knit!
This can really make or break your finished knit so it is an important consideration. We thought we would talk you through our steps to selecting sizes. Firstly, the size in the pattern is just a number, often you may knit a very different size to what you normally buy but it is important to look at real numbers as scary as that may be. There is no point knitting something in a size you think or want to be, if it then doesn’t fit and remember there is no size label on it when it’s finished.
So to choosing a size…
Most patterns give the finished size, some also give a “to fit” size or a recommendation of the amount of ease you should allow. Ease is the difference between your actual measurement and the finished garment. Negative ease means the jumper is smaller than your body so will be a tight fit, positive ease is when the jumper is larger than your body giving a looser fit. This ease or the “to fit” size is just a recommendation, you can allow more or less if you prefer.
To get an idea of the amount of ease you like, first measure your bust/chest including whatever undergarments (bra, t-shirt, blouse etc) you generally would wear under the jumper. Next, find a garment you love wearing and fits you well. Measure the chest circumference and compare this to your own measurements.
For example, my chest is 115cm/45”, a jumper I wear often is 125cm/49” which gives 10cm/4” of positive ease. This is quite a loose fit and allows lots of options for layering, it also means the sweater glides a little more over my lumps and bumps.These measurements mean when I am looking at a pattern, for a classic fit jumper, I choose a finished size close to 125cm/49”.
Other things to consider is the style of the garment, if it is a t-shirt garment, I would probably knit closer to 120cm/47” as I would only have a singlet under if anything and also would prefer a little less baggy fit. For a boxy style jumper however, more ease is often recommended. My Weekender by Andrea Mowery, is 143cm/56” so has 28cm/11” of ease (25cm/10”is recommended but this was the closest size to my requirements)
If you don’t like so much ease in your body section, you can always knit with less than the recommended ease, just bear in mind that knitting a smaller size means the armholes are also smaller, so check this measurement on any schematic drawing, and you may need to add length to your sleeves. Similarly, if you want a looser fit to the garment than the recommended ease, you can knit a larger size but your arm holes will be bigger and you may need to make the sleeves a little shorter. You can take these things into account when knitting and add or decrease stitches but we wouldn’t advise this unless you are a confident knitter.
The finished length of the garment is something that can easily be adapted. There are a lot of cropped jumper patterns around so if you like the design but want extra length, just keep knitting the underarm section. Conversely, you can crop any jumper by knitting fewer rows under the arm. If you are adding extra length, please make sure you have enough yarn-adding as little as an inch or 2, can easily be an extra ball or 2!
Sleeves are another pretty easy adaption, you can make them longer or shorter with adding or removing rows. You can also add or remove decreases (if working top down) or increases (if you are working cuff up) to make a tighter or looser sleeve. Another popular thing at the moment is to knit top down sleeves straight until the cuff and do 1 round with lots of decreases to make a simple balloon style sleeve.
We hope this helps you to select the correct size to knit and gives you a garment you love to wear. If you need any help to choose a size, please just send us a message and we will work with you to get the best fit.