Friday, 20 June 2014

Ease, how much?

We all know we have to consider Ease when we pick a sweater size to knit. There's a certain kind of fit we're looking for. The only measurement we use in the knitting world is the Bust measurement as if one measurement dictates the shape of your whole figure, but that's a rant for another time.

Ease is the difference between the finished measurement of the sweater and the actual measurement of your bust. A sweater that is smaller than your body would have negative ease. A sweater that is larger, has positive ease.
Somewhere between a sweater that fits like this (negative ease)
and this (lots and lots of positive ease)
is the fit you might be looking for.

If you don't know the exact measurement of your bust try it now. Take a measuring tape and measure around your bust at the largest point(s). This is your bust measurement for sweater purposes and has nothing to do with your bra size.

A lot of us have in our heads a certain amount of ease we should be adding (or subtracting) for The Perfect Sweater. I think my ideal is 3". I like my sweaters a little on the looser side, with positive ease. But I do have store-bought sweaters with negative ease, go figure.

I think we can all tolerate a much wider range of ease in our garments than we suppose. I've measured the sweaters I currently have on hand. These are all sweaters I wear consistently over the spring/summer/fall seasons. Two of them are sweaters on the needles now. The rest of my sweaters are put away until September but would fall into this range.

+ 6" of ease: Take It From the Top sweater in Aran weight. Great for cool evenings. Fits over anything I'm wearing.
+ 5" of ease: Basic Cardigan from Need A Plus Cardigan book in DK weight.  My go-to sweater. (My friend Dana is wearing it in the photo.)
+ 4" of ease: On the needles, orange pullover from Need A Circular Yoke book in DK weight in hemp/cotton.
+ 4" of ease: Lakeside Raglan Cardigan from Button Up Your Top Down in DK weight. Old Blue, old reliable comfy cardigan.
+ 2" of ease: Lace Cardigan from Need A Plus Cardigan book in DK weight. My dress-up sweater.
+ 2" of ease: On the needles, red sweater from Need A Circular Yoke book in Aran weight.

All of these sweaters have a different fit but they do all fit. If the neck and sleeves look correct then the range of fit across the bust can be varied from sweater to sweater, style to style, yarn to yarn.

What kind of range do your sweaters fall into?

P.S. Seeing the sweaters like that, I have a very definite 'blue' thing happening! Gotta knit with some new colours.


  1. You have store-bought sweaters?��

  2. I need shaping for the back.
    To solve the problem of having the back flare out near the hem I have been experimenting with 2 princess seams on the back only and it seems to work for me.
    Can that be done top down with circ yokes as well?

  3. I'm actually making a garment with the "lots and lots of ease" thing going. And I might have a blue problem too (although I don't regard it as a problem).


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