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Avoiding the Sweater Curse: Knits that Fit the Entire Family

October 21, 2012

Antler CardiganThere are many ways to skin a cat, and many methods for wrapping your beloved babes in hand-knits!  At Tin Can Knits we are dedicated to creating many and more adorable patterns for you to knit for your tiny bairns and your full-grown darlings.

KNITS IN ALL SIZES:  There are so many baby sweater designs that would be adorable in adult sizes, and we also think it’s HILARIOUS to dress babies in tiny versions of ‘grown up’ clothes.  This has lead us to size our designs from newborn all the way up to adults 4XL.  It takes more knitting, calculations, testing, and editing, but we think the results are worthwhile!

If you are ready to venture into the world of sweater knitting I suggest that you begin with a baby sweater, because it allows you to learn all of the techniques but requires much less time and yarn [check out the Gramps Cardigan tutorial here].  With a baby sweater, you build your confidence and skills so that when you decide to knit for yourself, your mom, your sister or… most nerve-rackingly, for your Boyfriend… you will be ready to face the sweater curse with competence on your side!

ARE YOU READY?  As you prepare to face the sweater curse, I wish you the best of luck and a few tips and suggestions.  An ill-fitting sweater is probably not cause for a dumping… but lets not take the chance!  The best way to knit a sweater that will work for the wearer is to base it upon one that you / he / she already likes.

Lay the FAV sweater flat and measure:

1. Chest / Bust
2. Sleeve length (underarm to cuff)
3. Body length from underarm to hem

Armed with these critical dimensions, you can choose the correct size from the pattern options, and determine how to adjust arm and body lengths (if at all).  For most situations, arm and body length are all that you need to adjust.  If you are inclined to stray a bit further off the well-defined path… we will discuss how to add waist shaping in an upcoming post.

BEGIN AT THE BEGINNING ::: at the beginning there was a gauge swatch!

Now I really don’t care if you knit a gauge swatch… because I don’t care if your sweater fits.  But you should!  Many knitters have met desperate and depressing ends due to the TERRIBLE decision to skip the swatch.  I hope it won’t happen to you…   < click for more info on how to knit and measure a gauge swatch here >

HANDY EXAMPLE ::: To knit an Antler Cardigan for Emily

Lets look at an example – say I was knitting the Antler Cardigan for myself (I’m a little bit bigger and bustier than our lovely model Kim)

To start I would measure my favourite sweater.  The important measurements for me are:

1. Bust = 39″ (that’s my actual bust measurement, and I like my sweaters tight)
2. Sleeve length (underarm to cuff) = 20″  (I like my sleeves longish)
3. Body length from underarm to hem = 16″ (I like my sweaters short-ish)

Next I take a look at the pattern to review the schematic and measurements for the various sizes.  Always choose your size based on the finished bust / chest measurement.  Therefore I would knit the 39″ bust – ladies M.

As you can see, the ladies M has a sleeve length of 19″, but for a perfect fit, I will knit an extra inch of length before joining the sleeve to the body.  Also, the ladies M has an underarm to hem measurement of 17″, but I want to make mine 16″ long, so I will stop knitting 1″ short of the pattern instructions.

this is when … ‘OR DESIRED LENGTH’ … comes into play

The Antler Sweater is knit from the bottom up.  This means you knit the sleeves first (in the round – note that a sleeve makes a pretty good gauge swatch!).  Then knit the body (in rows, since it is a cardigan) to the underarm.

At the underarm point you join everything (sleeves and body) together into 1 big row for working the yoke up to the collar.

With this method of construction, you must make all of your length adjustments before you join the sweater together for the yoke.  At this point, you can slip the sleeve and body tubes on, and check how they fit.

We will have more info on sizing, including how to add waist shaping, in upcoming posts!

Like these suggestions?  Get our email updates to hear about our patterns and tutorials as they are launched!


Great bottom-up SEAMLESS SWEATER PATTERNS:

lions gate cowl  north shore pullover  campfire pullover

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2014 11:20 am

    When you say measure the chest, do you mean the upper chest (just under the armpits, or full bust (the largest bust measurement)? How do you adjust for a larger bust size either way?

  2. Barb Johnson permalink
    January 6, 2013 9:54 am

    Oh my gosh! I loved this sweater and you patterns and decided to check out your blog and started reading this entry. Then realized, I can knit this as a pullover!!!!! I am so tickled you cannot imagine. I’m not big on sweaters but I need some more pullovers. Love ya!!
    Barb

    • January 17, 2013 8:13 am

      Hi Barb – Glad you like! You should email us if you knit this as a pullover, because we would love to see how it turns out! Emily

Trackbacks

  1. Let’s Knit a Sweater | Tin Can Knits
  2. Share the love | Aphaia | One Stitch More

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