My Knitting
Book Review

Why Don't We Knit Sweaters That Fit?

Lots of people knit, but not sweaters, never ever. They knit hats and mittens and washcloths and scarves and shawls and things that look like sweaters, but that don't have to actually fit. We have gotten away from our bodies, hoping things will just fit. 

I used to see it all the time in the yarn store, people getting all excited about a sweater project but when choosing the size their eyes kind of glaze over, and they'd say, oh, medium I guess. I had to tell them I wasn't going to sell them the yarn unless I measured them, and you know, that's what they wanted -- someone to measure them and tell them what size to make.

I had to learn how to make patterns fit in different gauges, different arm lengths, with different necklines. Some people wanted a size large on bottom and a size small on top. These are things they do not teach you in knitting school*. I had to do it all with math.

MATH. There, I've said it. Walk around the word until it isn't scary anymore. Math, numbers, angles. They are things which will not kill you, and if you become familiar with them, you'll control the world.

Well, maybe that's going a little far, but women used to knit sweaters rather than buy them to save the money, and the sweaters they made fit well. Somewhere along the way we forgot that important skill and started to blindly follow patterns and sizes that Somebody said were right, and made sweaters that did not fit, and nothing in the world makes you into a raving loon more than spending the money and the time and have a sweater not fit. And you know what? We got convinced that the reason we got it so wrong was because our knitting was bad. And that's just wrong. And we stopped making sweaters.

It's time to take back control of your knitting. Measure yourself, measure what fits you well, do a gauge swatch that is not miniscule and know how to measure it well. Find out how long your arms are. Draw a diagram for your size, with the increases or decreases that you have to do to make it work, using the diagram that the pattern comes with as just a guide. You are in control of your knitting. These things are not hard to do, but they require effort; spend the time to do it right and you'll be rewarded with sweaters that fit every time. {Rant mode off.}

And remember, math will not kill you. But you could freeze to death if your sweater's too short :)

*There's no such thing as knitting school, really, except maybe in England. The only degree in knitting I ever heard of was from there.



I took a class to make sweaters that fit. I definitely had to come to terms with my body and get real honest with myself. That's sometimes very hard to do. Easier to make cowl than deal with that right?

Beth Collins

It's hard to be honest with yourself, trust me, my body's been lying to me for years, lol!

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