Knit- Custom Fit Knitwear: Part 1
June 6, 2011
Everyone is different; I know I am preaching to the converted but this can become very evident when it comes to knitted sweaters. It is such a bummer to put all your time and yarn into a sweater that is just a bit off, or worse, a lot off. Every knitter wants a perfect fit and why not! After so much effort and evenings spent half-watching movies, you should have a perfect fit. With a little math you can and every time. You can use my Custom Fit Knitwear Worksheet to create custom fit sweaters just for you and your family or use it to alter awesome knitting patterns. We'll start out with a custom fit pattern and then discuss alterations.
To start pick a shirt that you love. It fits just right and makes you feel good. It should be something simple, like a t-shirt or sweater. A basic shape will make it easier to measure. If it is too complicated (like a twisty top or billowy tunic, you won't be able to pin down the measurements as well. Make sure your shirt (we'll call it a muslin) is washed, ironed and rested. Ironing can stretch your fabric, so lay it out on a flat surface for about 30 min for it to recover. Now we measure. You will want to note all the areas on the illustration below and write down all the measurements that correspond. The neckline will be your cast on edge, the shoulder length and armhole length will determine where and how many increases, the bust measurement will tell you when to stop increasing and the waist length will determine how long your sweater will be. We will cover this more in depth as we go along; for now just measure and note. You will also want to note which shirt you are measuring in case you want to come back later and measure for a different neckline or arm.
Next, you will want to choose your yarn and knit a good sized swatch in the stitch you will use for your sweater. Knit a 4 x 4 in. or even bigger if your stitch requires many stitches. Measure your gauge. You will need to know how many sts per in. (we'll call this X) and how many rows per in. (we'll call this Y). Download your Custom Fit Knitwear Worksheet to record your measurements and to help with the math. Below are the instructions:
Step 1: This step determines how many stitches to cast on to match the fit of your muslin. You can adjust this by adding or subtracting sts to match your stitch pattern (if it is a cable pattern add sts, if it is lace subtract).
Step 2: Knit for this many rows to achieve the shoulder length you need.
Step 3: This will tell you where to place you markers for the arm; place 2 for each arm. You will increase inside these markers for the arm and outside these markers for the chest.
Step 4: (X * C) you will need to add this many sts for your arm. (Y * C) This is the number of rows you will need to knit to achieve the arm hole length you need. Evenly distribute your increases over the number of rows you need.
Step 5 (AT THE SAME TIME as Step 4): You can increase on both sides of the arm markers. Inside the markers, you will increase for the arm (see step 4 above) and outside the markers for the chest. You will use Step 5 on the worksheet to determine how much to increase and you will distribute these increases over the same number of rows as in Step 4.
Step 6: This will tell you how many rows you will knit to create your desired length.
We will continue later this week in Part 2. Stay Tuned!!!
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