Tag Archives: fit

And this is why you swatch.

OK.  Mistakes were made.

I was all stoked last week about making myself a pair of comfy socks.

Mistake 1-  After going on and on about all of those lovely, tried-and-true sock patterns, I decided to go off script.  Why?  Who knows?

Mistake 2- I decided to make the socks cabled.  Why?  When have I ever made cabled socks that weren’t a disaster?  Never.  Cables are the best- I love them.  They make wonderful, dense fabric that’s extra-thick and cozy.  I don’t want extra-thick fabric on my socks.  They have to fit inside shoes.

Mistake 3- I didn’t swatch.  Like an idiot.

Actually, I kinda did swatch.  I swatched the pattern (with different needles and different yarn).  IMG_2820I was thinking about using the cable design in a sweater or something, but I decided after I was finished with the swatch that it would be better for a sock.  I still maintain these are very cute socks.  But compared to my usual sock gauge, they’re way off.

Mistake 4- When I first started thinking I’d made a mistake, I just kept going.

About 3 inches in, I thought “Huh.  These are looking a little slim.”  But did I stop? No!  That would have involved admitting defeat, and having to problem-solve.

Anyway, long story short, I have one sock.  It’s a lovely sock.  It’s tall and blue and has a cute all-over cable pattern.IMG_2828

And it’s nowhere close to fitting me.  I’d show it to you on my foot, but you don’t need to see that.  Just trust that the cables are stretched beyond recognition and it barely stretches over my calf.  It’s real sad.


Now I just have to decide what to do next.  Do I rip it back, and go back to a tried-and-true pattern?  Do I continue and work up a second one in the same pattern, and give it away to a smaller-footed friend? Do I ball it up and leave it at the back of my WIP drawer until I forget how I made it?

All equally good choices, I think.

What would you do?

I’m Ease-y

When you are getting ready to start knitting a new pattern, you might come across phrases like “Meant to be worn with positive ease” or “Designed to have 1 inch of negative ease” or even “Zero ease.”  What the heck is ease?

Ease is a really easy (sorry, I had to) way for a pattern designer to tell you how fitted (or not) a garment is meant to be.  A garment with positive ease (like this sweater) is meant to be worn loosely.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A garment with negative ease (like these socks) are knit slightly smaller than my feet, so they end up nice and snug.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A garment with zero ease (like this hat) has exactly the same dimensions as my head, so the hat is neither too tight nor too loose.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ease is measured in inches (or centimeters, if you’re not in America).   To calculate the ease, you measure both the garment, and the person who will wear it.  Then you subtract the person’s measurement from the garment’s measurement.

For example, if a sweater has a bust line of 40 inches, and the person who is meant to wear it has an actual bust line of 36 inches, the ease for the sweater is +4 inches.  (40-36=4)

If a different sweater has a bust line of 35 inches, and if the same person wears it, the ease of this sweater is -1 inch.  (35-36=-1)

Got it?

Ease makes a huge difference in how a finished garment looks.  You wouldn’t want a fitted, structured sweater with positive ease- it would look baggy and too big.  And, you wouldn’t want a slouchy, cozy sweater with negative ease- it would look like you were trying to wear your little sister’s clothes.  And the last thing you want to do is knit up an entire sweater, only to have it look like you pulled it from the by-the-pound bin at Goodwill.  Ew.