I have knit many many items over the years but surprisingly the one object that I have knit the least is the sweater. This elusive sweater has stumped me again and again. Don't get me wrong I have knit a few but none that fit the way that I wanted them to. Usually they turn out HUGE. Why? I am beginning to figure out the why. I read a great a couple of great articles on the subject of ease and measurements.
First let's tackle this ease business.
This morning I was on Ravelry AGAIN! Looking at all the great things to knit I came across this adorable sweater, I clicked and read the profile. I see in bold and caps 4" of positive ease. Hmmm. I google this ease stuff for further explanation. I mean I've seen it, glanced over it quickly but never studied it.
Here is the article written by TECHknitting - Negative ease and positive ease
Great article right?
Here's the cliff's notes version I found on Knitting Daily:
Ease: Positive versus NegativeWhat 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. That's positive ease! 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.
Okay now that I have a minimum understanding of ease, let's move on to measurements and fit.
I must have measured myself 50 times. I write all the numbers down and compare them to the patterns looking for the correct size to knit. Great size chosen. Then I swatch, like all good knitter's do when they knit garments. Great gauge is perfect and size is perfect (so I think). I begin to knit the sweater and it always look beautiful. After weeks of work it's time for the grand finale! Sew in all the parts, seam, block, and now for the reveal. I try it on. (This is where I want to scream AHHHHHHHHHHH) It's way way to big. Sob~sob~sob.
So, after I take a few minutes to compose myself. I look at all the hard work down the drain not to mention the cost of the yarn. I am too disheartened to figure out why and where I went wrong and I fold it up and place it in the pile of disasters to one day be studied and reknit to the correct size. (every knitter has a pile somewhere!!!)
I am really getting tired of these sweater mishaps and I am determined to, one day, get this right. I just had another mishap a few weeks back. However, this time I was knitting a raglan sweater and I was trying it on as I go. As I was nearing the bottom I decided to skip ahead and finish the sleeves. So I did. Then I said," I am going to try this on before I bind off." It's HUGE yet again. Length is great, arms and width around not so much. Both are way too roomy. I am so frustrated I through it in the pile and there it is sitting. So, there stupid sweater...
Then this morning, once again, I was reading about how to take your measurements for the 51st time (Link to article here) and the lightbulb went on. Duh! Why didn't I think of this??? Smacking self on the back of the head. Yes, this makes perfect sense. Why not take the measurements of my favorite sweater?? I already know that fits and looks fabulous. I can not believe I haven't found or seen this idea somewhere before.
Phew, I am not totally insane what a relief. Okay maybe a little when it comes to knitting. It made perfect sense to measure the thing in which the garment will hang upon - ME. After all, I am planning on wearing this work of art. Right??
According to her article I could not be more WRONG!!!! Three cheers for the TECHknitter. Seriously, it's a great blog. TECHknitting.blogspot.com
Now, I understand that this is just the beginning. I am learning that there is a great deal more than just being able to follow a pattern to knit a sweater. There are so many "tools" in a knitters toolbox of knowledge and I am learning a bit more everyday. However, these two little articles were a big
AH - HA moment for me. (Thank you Oprah!) So, on I knit into the future with a bit more knowledge under my belt. I just have to muster up some excitement to frog back that damn sweater to the arms and start all over again. Sigh.