Machine Knit Sweaters that Fit

Have you ever knit a sweater that didn’t fit? It’s happened to all of us. Here are 5 Reasons for poorly fitting sweaters

Have you ever knit a sweater and put all that time and energy and money into knitting a sweater. You put it on and it just didn’t fit. Maybe it was too tight or too sloppy or just something wasn’t right about it. Well, it’s happened to all of us.

Let’s spend some time today talking about why that sweater didn’t fit and what you can do, so that doesn’t happen to you again.

Let’s say you have a sweater that fits that you just love. Maybe you knit it or you bought it and this thing just fits you like a glove and it’s your go to sweater. Now your friend may come over and look at you wearing that sweater and think to herself, Oh, that’s just way too tight. She won’t tell you that, but maybe the one she’s wearing, you’re looking at her going, Hmm, that’s really sloppy and not so attractive.

Fit is very subjective. It’s really a personal thing.

So I can tell you to measure yourself and make a sweater a certain size and you’re not going to be happy with it.

But here’s the trick. Find a sweater that you love, whether it’s in your closet or you find it in a store. Go out shop and try some things on and see what it is that you like. Check the body – the fit. Does it fit around the bust? How about the shoulders. Are the shoulders right? Are the seams falling off your shoulders? How about the sleeve length? Measure your sleeve from your underarm down to your wrist. How long do you like your sleeves? This perfect sweater is going to be just the right length, maybe just the right height of the neck, opening or depth, the neck opening. Find that sweater, be comfortable with it and take some measurements.

So tip number one is don’t measure your body. Measure a sweater that you like which leads us to tip number two.

So how do you duplicate that sweater? The key is choosing your pattern. Now, no matter what patterns you use, whether it’s something out of a book or something you get off the internet, or maybe something that’s generated in software or even a Knit it Now pattern.

It’s up to you to determine whether that pattern is going to meet your specifications, your dimensions that you established. So you need to … Let’s say we take a pattern out of a book. Take a look at the diagram, the finished measurements. Now let’s not talk about body measurements or anything else. You want to know how many stitches are around the widest part of that body, right? That sweater. So if it has a diagram, check to see what the widest width is and multiply that by two to get your bust measurement. Then compare that to dimension to your measurements.

So let’s say I want my sweater to be 40 inches around. I will check the pattern to make sure that the bust size that I choose to knit or the sweater size that I choose to knit is 40 inches around probably 20 in the front and 20 in the back. If that pattern is 42 or 46 or 38 it’s not going to fit. I want it to be 40. And if you can do the math and change that pattern for yourself, Hey, good for you. If not, don’t use that pattern. Find one that is your size.

That’s where software comes in handy, and that’s really where Knit it Now patterns come in handy, but we’ll talk more about that in a minute.

Alright, spoiler alert. Tips number three, four, and five, all have to do with gauge. Now I’m not going to get on my soapbox here about gauge. I’m going to assume that you knit gauge swatches, and if you’re not a believer, I will remind you that if you’re trying to reproduce a size, if I’m trying to reproduce that 40 inches, I need to know how many stitches it’s going to take to make that 40 inches. Accurately. No guesswork.

If I’m trying to match a gauge to a specific pattern, the designer came up with, I don’t know, 16 stitches to the inch. My gauge must be 16 stitches to the inch. If I’m off by just a little bit, think about multiplying that around 40 inches, and I’m going to get either a sweater that I’m swimming in or one that I ashamed to wear, that shows all my lumps and bumps.

So if you’ve had sweaters that don’t fit and you are not religious about matching gauge or establishing your gauge. That’s probably the number one reason your sweater didn’t fit.

I don’t know about you, but I hate to match gauge. I think I’ve spent way too many hours over the years trying to match my gauge to a designer’s gauge.

Let’s say I knit something on my machine and I use a specific yarn and I use knit it at tension 8 and I get a specific gauge. You could take that same Cone of yarn on your machine at tension 8 and your tension, your gauge might be different than mine and you’re going to have to adjust and then another swatch. Let’s not even go there. What I prefer to do is to knit a swatch in my stitch pattern with whatever yarn I want to knit, feel how it feels. Dress it, see how it washes, see how it hangs, see how it drapes, and then use my gauge and create my own pattern.

Now you can do that using software.

You can use pencil and paper.

and you can use Knit it Now patterns.

With our dynamic perfect fit patterns, we’re going to accomplish two things. You’re going to be able to use your gauge. Measure your swatch, your gauge. AND you’ll also be able to perfect fit the pattern to match those dimensions that you established. So I will get that 40 inch finished sweater without doing any math. All I need to do is know my gauge.

The last tip, or the last step on my soapbox is to measure gauge accurately. So many knitters struggle and their sweaters don’t fit because they made a mistake in measuring.

So this is a skill that you must, must learn, and here’s a little exercise for you. You knit your swatch, you measure, you dress your swatch, which means you wash, you steam it, whatever you’re going to do to the final garments, you dress that swatch, and then you take your measurements. Then I want you to sit down with that same yarn, same tension settings, everything the same at that gauge, and I want you to knit a rectangle that’s, I don’t know, six inches by six inches. Just choose a size. If your rectangle comes out six inches by six inches, you’re golden. You’ve measured your gauge well, you’ve calculated the gauge, well, you’re all set. If that is not six by six inches, got to go back to the drawing board. Something’s wrong. Now. Isn’t that a whole lot easier than knitting the whole back of a sweater and then realizing that maybe your gauge is wrong?

So I challenge you to do this, especially when you’re new. Until you get a feel for knitting a proper swatch.

If you’re having trouble with swatches, please go to a knititnow.com/swatch. It’s filled with tutorials and tips and tricks about swatching and establishing gauge. And I’ll warn you, I do get up on my soapbox on this subject in the classroom.

So for sweaters at fit, you need to establish your size. You need to choose the right pattern. And swatch. Swatch and swatch. Thanks for watching and happy knitting.

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