How far will you go for fit??

It seems when knitting something like a sweater, us knitters are thrilled when we can say, "it fits!" Even if "fitting" is used very generally, its exciting when you (or the recipient) can actually wear it. In designing it seems that every time I get a little better at knowing how a piece will fit before I make it. My last sweater, however, was just wrong.... neck hole? Way too gaping. Sleeves? Too long. Armpits? Saggy. :( I do know now what I need to change to make it right, so the pattern is saved. But how to make sure it will fit from the start?
Vogue suggests: Drawing your panels onto knitting graph paper, cutting the panels out, tracing them onto cotton fabric, cutting out the fabric panels, and basting them all together and trying the piece on. Doesn't fit? Try again. This would have made my measurement problems clear before I even cast-on. But I still can't imagine taking the time to do all that. I figure, the more I try the better it will get (which is mostly true so far). Planning is maybe the most important part, but how far does that have to go? As usual with knitting it seems the more professional you want to be, the more steps and the more time it will take.

Does anyone actually do that panel tracing/cutting/basting/fitting?


KilgoreTrout's picture

Ja! Bin noch in Berlin... hab nicht vor wegzuziehen :)

If wishes and buts were clusters and nutes we'd all have a bowl of granola.

teejtc's picture

How much patience? Not NEARLY that much. If it's close to fitting, I'm happy :-)

Grace and Peace,

MMario's picture

Heck - I don't do that for SEWING patterns, let alone knit...

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

MasonM's picture

Ummm, all that for a good fit? Seriously?



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Linux: because a PC is a terrible thing to waste

Crafty Andy's picture

Visit Crafty Andy's Blog People have been knitting for ages without graphs and without much instructions. You can knit as you go and create your own way. Gauge is the biggest culprit, but gauge depends on so much, yarn type, needle type, your tension, your mood, the weather lol!

If you have a sweater that fits you perfectly, then you have the pattern for the sweater you need. Knitters like Elizabeth Zimmerman are good reads if you want to make sweaters. DOn't forget to have fun!

KilgoreTrout's picture

I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one that thinks Vogue Knitting is crazy in this respect! I didn't plan very well for this sweater, so its no surprise that it doesn't quite fit how I would like it to. The current project is much more thought out.... despite the lack of graph paper. Basting belongs only in the kitchen!

If wishes and buts were clusters and nutes we'd all have a bowl of granola.

ChazH's picture

In my experience, the most problematic thing about sizing has been trying to determine how the yarn will wear after it's been washed. Every yarn that I have ever knitted with has relaxed after washing, synthetic or natural. The high-quality woolens that I've used have caused the least amount of trouble, but even an expensive half-silk half-cotton blend that I recently used became a much looser after it was very delicately hand-soaked in Woolite and dried flat. I have concocted many crackpot schemes about how I could try to wash yarn before knitting with it, but alas I know that none of them would work. I just hang in there with the experience route. Knitting is not for sissies! :-)

Tallguy's picture

Well, that is why you always knit a swatch with your yarn in the pattern you want to use. Measure it. THEN you wash it as you would be washing the finished garment. Use the dryer if you plan to do that as well. Measure again.

This is the only way you will find out how the yarn will behave when it is knit into a garment. Of course, your sample should be of sufficient size to allow for enough shifting and give you a more accurate idea of shrinkage or stretching. Hang it for a few days to simulate wearing. Carry it in your pocket for several days to find out how it will handle constant friction -- will it wear well, pilling?

Some yarns are very well-known to stretch when washed. Others will shrink. Some stitch patterns will stretch out a lot, some not, some horizontally, some verticallly. Some yarns are very heavy, and with a looser stitch especially, the weight of the garment will pull it down and make your waist-length sweaters end up around your knees! Just something else you need to consider when choosing a yarn for a particular garment.

I know one lady that had used a variety of wools and silks in a very long vest. She used various stitches to show off her yarns. This was a final project for her spinning course. Everytime she looked at it, the hem of her garment had changed.. usually it got all wavy. She had cut and cut and straightened it out, but with a little time, it was all uneven again. It was just poor combination of yarns, and stitch patterns that gave her that result. But a very good learning experience!

You CAN wash your yarns before knitting. We often do that, for various reasons. But that won't really determine how the yarn will react when finally knit and finished. The stitch pattern will also affect it, and so will the final weight. Hats are not as much a problem as sweaters.

So do your swatches, and WASH them too! You don't want surprises.

hsfg's picture

I plan out EVERYTHING, every detail .... before I knit ! But I have to say... I worked in the "rag world" for many years as a pattern maker and tailor. I want a garment that is better than what is "out there".
I want "hand done" NOT "home made".
What passes for men's patterns is very sad indeed ! Many people think that just taking a "girl's" sweater and altering it for a guy is what is needed ! WRONG!!!!!!!!!! Well, maybe on occasion !
This will not change until we guys expect better from them . Knitting ,then becomes a true joy...because the garment is an extension of my body, my taste ...and, it fits me exactly the way I want....
Someone please help me off my soapbox !