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I have knitted and crocheted many flat items or items that don't have to fit such as afghans, crochet toys, scarfs etc. I have a problem with things that have to fit well. I do know about and do pay attention to the gauge. That I understand. My problem is the patterns themselves. when I sew ( I do a lot of that) I work with a pattern and measurements until I get the item to fit correctly before I ever touch my fabric. I can't do that with knit or crochet. I use sites such as Ravelry and read the comments people make about an item before trying to make it but still I have problems with things as simple as baby hats. The item I make looks nice - I did a good job with it. It just does not fit well. It is too big or too small or you name the ways something does not fit well. I just ripped out a baby hat I was making because there was no way it was going to stay on the child's head without ties or ribbing or something.
I was trying to make a vest for myself but once again I could not really tell how it was going to fit until I went to all the trouble of making it and trying it on which I decided I did not want to do so I ripped that out also. What methods do you use to determine whether some thing is going to actually fit, stay on your head etc.?
 

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I use the same 2 patterns for all hats I make so I have a good feel for fit. I can change the stitch pattern for variety and/or add beads so they don't look the same.
BUT I gave up making sweaters. Even with checking gauge, they are always too big. Granted I'm guessing at people's sizes, but I can't really ask for their measurements. Even sweaters for myself were too big or not just right.
Gift receivers politely say thanks and I know the sweater will never see the light of day. I think two in all the years I've been knitting actually fit someone.
So I too would like to know how people get knitting to fit. Thanks for asking the question.
 

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Well, I do (sometimes) check my gauge, bot mostly I start working and after, say, 8 cm I just try the fit on my back and than after 15 I do the same - if it was allright then, it's most likely to fit. If I don't like it, I rip it and correct with the number of stitches that I think were missing or extra, start again and most times this would be the right size.
 

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Patterns usually give the finished measurements as well as the chest size for which they are intended. If you measure a garment that you feel comfortable in and choose the finished size that corresponds with that, once you match the gauge the garment should fit.

The other way of getting a garment that fits is to take the measurements from you favourite sweater, work out your stitches and rows to an inch and do the maths for how many stitches and rows you need for your garment. There are websites where you can input your information and they will work out a pattern for you.

These two books should help too:

http://www.jimmybeanswool.com/knitting/yarn/SharonBrant/KnittoFit.asp?specPCVID=53976
http://www.woollythoughts.com/dtf.html

The second one is a reprint of two books which have been combined. I have part 1 of it and I have found it really helpful.

Hope this helps, Sue
 

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While on Ravelry check to see how many people have made the pattern. If 1,000's of people have made it, I feel it is a well written pattern that is true to size. Just one of the many ways I decide what pattern to use. Often people post on Paradise asking if anyone has made this or that to find out extra information about the pattern.
 

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In the section Workshops here on KP is the workshop taught by Designer 1234 (Shirley) on using your own measurements to make a sweater that fits. It's #1 for this year, Cotton Dishcloth Sweater. I think it's the 9th topic down, after the bolded topics at the very top. She gives detailed instructions for measurements to take, amount of ease you prefer, and how to adjust for your gauge. We used no pattern at all, and I now have a sweater that fits me. I'm eager to make another, once cooler weather gets here. I urge you to check out this workshop!
 

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Find a garment in your closet that fits the way you like it to. Measure it and then use the same numbers for your knitting project. I always check the "finished measurement" size on the pattern and always do a swatch.
 

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There is lots of good advice here about knitting sweaters. I am wondering though about your gauge. I know that you said you know about gauge and you check it, but then you also say that even baby hats are turning out the wrong size. That sounds like maybe there's something wrong in how you're calculating gauge. When measuring for gauge you need to be very precise in measurements and make sure the swatch is big enough to measure. (a 6" square is good). To be honest, for a baby hat, I would probably just start knitting it and then use the hat itself as my gauge swatch. Did you measure the hat you ripped out and compare to the pattern gauge?
 

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I work top down. Once I learned how to do top down seamless set in sleeves I was in heaven. If the shoulder and neck are the right size - that's easy to tell fairly soon - then I try it on again and start the armhole shaping at the appropriate length. I also add short row shaping to give more room as needed in the front without making the garment too loose in the upper chest and avoid those ugly, wrinkly fold effects in front of and under the armhole. I then work about an inch and add more short row shaping for the bust. The short rows wouldn't be necessary for someone who doesn't have as large a bust perhaps but I think most sweaters look better on most women if they have some shaping. I then increase for the hips. Raglans are quite similar in the try it on and add or subtract as needed method that I use. I am willing to frog if needed and rework.

That's how I do it. If you learn top down, seamless or start the fronts and back and do your shoulder seams early in the project or clip them together for fitting, you can adjust simple styles easily by trying it on as you go. I am a super hard fit so I've not done a very complicated stitch pattern for myself. I might be able to one day. I also play around with the yarn and needles and use the combination I prefer. I know the basics of construction and really don't use a pattern.

I sewed for years before learning crochet or knitting. I adjusted almost every pattern I ever made. I mixed styles and brands to put together the different pieces my daughter wanted combined. No pattern is carved in stone. You can alter as you wish once you really grasp the construction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
dragonfly7673 said:
There is lots of good advice here about knitting sweaters. I am wondering though about your gauge. I know that you said you know about gauge and you check it, but then you also say that even baby hats are turning out the wrong size. That sounds like maybe there's something wrong in how you're calculating gauge. When measuring for gauge you need to be very precise in measurements and make sure the swatch is big enough to measure. (a 6" square is good). To be honest, for a baby hat, I would probably just start knitting it and then use the hat itself as my gauge swatch. Did you measure the hat you ripped out and compare to the pattern gauge?
No I make the hat to the specifications. The hat style or pattern does not work out. The person or company giving the instructions do not have good sizing information. In crochet I have even gone several crochet hook sizes smaller that the recommended hook and the hat is still is too lose. I finally decided that style of hat is not a good one. When you try something on in your size in the store and it is too lose then you try something else on in your size and it is too tight both items say they are your size but they really are not. That is the experience I am having.
 

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I knit extensively for my grandson and initially I got the sizing all wrong.
Now I measure the following on him:
Back:length from back neck to waist
Front: length from start of neckline to waist
Arms: (for dropped sleeves) Length from 5cms above elbow to wrist
As I always knit the width a size bigger, that is no problem.
Since doing this, everything fits well, and he has space to grow
into the sweaters.
Not so easy though for myself - as being a dumpy granny, everything I knit
for myself tends to look like a potato sack on me! :)
 

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I want to make a sweater for myself and appreciate te Q too.
bet WI
ourhobbyhouse said:
I use the same 2 patterns for all hats I make so I have a good feel for fit. I can change the stitch pattern for variety and/or add beads so they don't look the same.
BUT I gave up making sweaters. Even with checking gauge, they are always too big. Granted I'm guessing at people's sizes, but I can't really ask for their measurements. Even sweaters for myself were too big or not just right.
Gift receivers politely say thanks and I know the sweater will never see the light of day. I think two in all the years I've been knitting actually fit someone.
So I too would like to know how people get knitting to fit. Thanks for asking the question.
 

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black kitty said:
I have knitted and crocheted many flat items or items that don't have to fit such as afghans, crochet toys, scarfs etc. I have a problem with things that have to fit well. I do know about and do pay attention to the gauge. That I understand. My problem is the patterns themselves. when I sew ( I do a lot of that) I work with a pattern and measurements until I get the item to fit correctly before I ever touch my fabric. I can't do that with knit or crochet. I use sites such as Ravelry and read the comments people make about an item before trying to make it but still I have problems with things as simple as baby hats. The item I make looks nice - I did a good job with it. It just does not fit well. It is too big or too small or you name the ways something does not fit well. I just ripped out a baby hat I was making because there was no way it was going to stay on the child's head without ties or ribbing or something.
I was trying to make a vest for myself but once again I could not really tell how it was going to fit until I went to all the trouble of making it and trying it on which I decided I did not want to do so I ripped that out also. What methods do you use to determine whether some thing is going to actually fit, stay on your head etc.?
If you get the same gauge as the pattern dictates...the item should come out to the size specified in the pattern. Making a vest... front pieces same size as pattern (length x width same as pattern) and back pieces same size (length x width) should come out to the size listed in pattern, including any ease built into the pattern.
 

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I, too, do top down because my arms are so much bigger than the bust size that I am supposed to make. The designers never make the armhole drop large enough for my arms. I had weight loss surgery 3 years ago and have lost 182 pounds. That causes the "bat wings" or my arms flap back and forth with hanging down skin. When I make top down I can try things on and make sure that the armhole depths and lengths are long enough and my hips are the right size too. I have a large butt as well with big hips so I have to do increases at the hips so that the sweater fits in my hips too. So as you can tell, I have lots of fit issues and I still need to find one sweater pattern that fits me perfectly so that I can make it over and over. I do make sure to get gauge but most of my fitting comes from trying it on as I go.
 

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black kitty said:
No I make the hat to the specifications. The hat style or pattern does not work out. The person or company giving the instructions do not have good sizing information. In crochet I have even gone several crochet hook sizes smaller that the recommended hook and the hat is still is too lose. I finally decided that style of hat is not a good one. When you try something on in your size in the store and it is too lose then you try something else on in your size and it is too tight both items say they are your size but they really are not. That is the experience I am having.
I am just getting into more garments and like you, I started with sewing. I agree that some patterns do not create what is in the picture. It makes me a little leary of doing items as gifts. For my family I can easily check and rewrite as I go. All I can hope is that by making many things I will develope a natural feel for shaping that will lessen the frogging and help my projects turn out successfully. It should also give a better idea which patterns are better written just by reading through.

I'm saying this after some booties that kept only one original line from the pattern. It was a loose blob that would never have stayed on a foot. My current work I found a great designer both patterns turn out perfect as written. I have seen a lot of reviews were people mention how it "looks" and then say they can't wait to make it. That skews the review numbers and ratings so reading through to find some who used the pattern may help.
 

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Sometimes it is the pattern itself that causes problems. I remember making a top down sweater once. Did a gauge, stitch just what was asked for. When I finished and put it on, it would have fit the refrigerator!! Had to rip out the whole sweater and start over. I've learned since then to check and double check the sizing on whatever I'm working on and if it starts to get off very much, to stop and figure out what's going on.

I learned the hard way that you ALWAYS knit a swatch. I usually knit a 4" one, but a 6" is even better. If the swatch is right, the garment "should" fit.

For me, knitting sweaters means altering the pattern as I knit. Most patterns give a length from the bottom to the armhole, from armhole to the neck. I'm short, so I have to shorten the length both places. I also have t make sure that it's big enough around the hip to fit snug but not tight. Sometimes that means I don't use a smaller needle for the ribbing. I'm always checking the width, too, to make sure it's not too small or too big (not as easy to do on a top down, but I still stop, spread it out on something and take measurements.

Most patterns give a diagram of the sweater with inches for various parts. Check that and make sure your sweater is conforming to the diagram.

I hope some of these ideas may help you with your sweater knitting.
 

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Since you are a sewer, have you tried looking at the schematic provided with most patterns? It is a drawing of the sweater pieces very much like a sewing pattern and gives pertinent measurements. If the measurements of the schematic match the size you need to fit you and you get gauge, the final garment should fit.
 

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LindaH said:
I, too, do top down because my arms are so much bigger than the bust size that I am supposed to make. The designers never make the armhole drop large enough for my arms. I had weight loss surgery 3 years ago and have lost 182 pounds. That causes the "bat wings" or my arms flap back and forth with hanging down skin. When I make top down I can try things on and make sure that the armhole depths and lengths are long enough and my hips are the right size too. I have a large butt as well with big hips so I have to do increases at the hips so that the sweater fits in my hips too. So as you can tell, I have lots of fit issues and I still need to find one sweater pattern that fits me perfectly so that I can make it over and over. I do make sure to get gauge but most of my fitting comes from trying it on as I go.
Congratulations on your weight loss!!!
 
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