Posts Tagged ‘measurements’

12 month old schematic

Somehow I forgot to add this size to the rest of the baby size and measurement posts. You can find all the baby sizes under Schematics Baby Sizes on the sidebar to the right.

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Hi everyone,

I’ve had a few requests for the measurements and sizes for a knit sweater for a 4 year old. A few words about pattern sizes when it comes to children. If you think a baby grows fast, children grow equally as quick. Like babies, they are most likely to grow faster lengthwise than widthwise. Hence, the sweater that is suddenly to short in the arms and overall length. But children also broaden out more quickly than babies. All this growing seems to happen in spurts. So if I am making a sweater for a child I tend to err on the side of a 1/2 inch longer and wider on measurements rather than smaller if I want to get at least two years wear out of it.

That said, below is the schematic for a 4 year old requested by Claudine. The schematic is for a drop shoulder sweater, a shape that will still work at this age. Missing from the schematic is the front neck depth. A good neck depth is about 1.5″ (4) cm. We don’t want close fitting at the neck unless it is a turtleneck.

4 year old schematic

The numbers representing the width of the garment are for half the garment only. To get the total circumference multiply the number by two.

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Once the shape of the foot is known, then comes the measurements. Take the first measurement around the ball of the foot; the padded area just below the toes.

ball of foot measurement

This figure is the circumference of the sock. For average feet and legs this measurement ensures a proper fit around both foot and leg. Jot the number down and subtract 1″ (2) cm from it. You want the sock to measure 1″ or (2) cm less than your full measurement. This smaller size helps the socks gently hug the feet and stay up on the legs and not bag around the ankles. My circumference number is 8″ (20) cm. Subtracting the 1″ (2) cm from the 8″ (20) cm gives me 7″ (18) cm. My adjusted circumference number is 7.

Socks knitted in stockinette stitch have about 4″ (10) cm of stretch in the fabric. This is how my socks go over the 11″ (28) cm that make up my heel-ankle-instep-ankle-heel area.

heel-ankle-instep-ankle-heel area

heel-ankle-instep-ankle-heel area

11-7= 4″ (18-28= 10) cm. If the heel-ankle-instep-ankle-heel area is greater than 4″ (10) cm from the adjusted circumference number make a note to add 2 or 4 stitches to the sock in the gusset area only and/or look to lengthen the heel flap. In the picture below, the gusset is the stockinette stitch area that looks like an upside down V.

gusset, heel turn, heel flap

gusset, heel turn, heel flap

The next measurement is foot length. Put a ruler or tape measure on the floor and measure your foot from the longest toe to the back of the heel. If your foot resembles the Greek tapered foot where the second toe is longer than the big toe, unless it is longer by an 1″ (2.5) cm or more start the measurement from the big toe to the heel. Remember the sock is going to stretch.

foot length sock

The last measurement is the leg length. Put on a sock that has the leg height you want. Measure from the base of the heel up the leg to where the cuff stops. This is your sock’s leg length.

Sock leg height

While you’re at it, measure your Achilles tendon area. This is where the heel flap on a sock goes. It should measure about 2 or 2.5″ (5 or 6.5) cm. If it is much longer than this (an inch (2) cm more) make a note that the heel flap needs to be longer.

achilles tendon

Finally, I put all the information on a drawing of my foot and put it in a folder in a file cabinet. Everyone who has ever had me make a sock for them has a folder with the drawing of his or her foot notated with sizes and alterations made. This makes it easier to knit socks that fit them again.

foot scan 3

foot scan 4

Now that the measurements are complete, next up is sock math.

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One thing that grieves me is seeing people search for a simple answer and have it elude them. In their search they often pay lots of money for information they can get for less. Such is the circumstance with people who want to try designing a knit and think they have to spend a ton of money to acquire the keys to the knitting kingdom of design.

The keys, are the “magical” numbers that govern the proportions of each size. If your a knitter or crocheter, chances are you already own those keys. They are inside every professional knitting pattern you have in the form of books or magazines. They are also in the patterns you have from quality online magazines like Twist Collective or Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People.

Every pattern by every designer, publishing house or yarn company holds a wealth of information. As a designer-to-be, you want to collect and cull that information. To do this all you need is paper and pencil, or your computer.

Let’s say it’s you’ve designed a sweater. The creative part is done, you have your sketch and it’s time to fill in the numbers.

Out of the patterns all your patterns select 4 to 5 that closely resemble your sweater sketch in silhouette, length, neckline, as well as sleeve lengths and shape. Right now you’re collecting information. On your computer or a piece of paper write one sweater size at the top of the page. Working with one size for now, makes it easier to grade the other sizes. Make six columns if you have five samples, five columns if you have 4 samples. At the top of the columns list either the designer’s name, magazine, or whatever will help you identify the source of your samples. On the last column write your name because this is the column that will hold all the numbers you need for your design.

To create a garment, size and grade it correctly, it helps to deconstruct it first. Part of the keys to the design kingdom is knowing all the individual parts and their measurements and then fitting them back into a whole. On the left hand side of the columns you made add another one that says Measurements. Write down the following: Chest width actual, Chest width finished, back width, front width, waist width, hip width, cross back, armhole depth, cast on to beginning of armhole length, shoulder to hem length, neck width, neck depth, shoulder width, sleeve length, wrist width, upper arm width, back of neck to waist length.

How we collect the numbers next time.

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The designer in me wanted to go with the “hot” turquoise, pink, and lime green found in the bedroom picture.

Notice the check pattern peeking out from beneath the coverlet of the bed.

Notice the check pattern peeking out from beneath the coverlet of the bed.

The three color combo said 1960s fun and bold. Alas,the trio was out of my comfort zone of colors I like to work with. I also kept having the urge to switch out the pink for coral. But I knew that changing to coral would update the palette to 2014 colors. I carried an argument around in my head for days over whether the substitution would cancel out the 1960 retro feel of the piece. Did I want the piece to feel truly retro or did I want it to give just a nod and a wink to 1960s? The more I wrestled with it the more the answer eluded me. When that happens I know I have to put it on a shelf and have patience while it works itself out in some behind the scene area in my mind.

Stuck on one thing, I moved on to another. What about the shape, the silhouette of the piece? I had a vague picture of white vinyl go-go boots, A-line shape, bell-bottom sleeves and then I saw this:


No go-go boots. And yes, they are maternity patterns. But they had the details and the silhouettes I wanted for this smock. The details that particularly interested me were the collar and button work on the yellow one. I really fell in love with the button placement on the yellow outfit and the Nehru type collar. The more I looked, the more I loved the idea of a Nehru collar with this silhouette. However, that decision presented some immediate issues.

My design range was babies from 0 to 24 months. But babies from 0 to 9 months don’t have necks. I knew a Nehru collar wasn’t going to work for them. On the other hand, I strongly felt that the Nehru collar was integral to making the silhouette work. That meant the smallest size would start at 1 year. Now I had to start thinking about the piece not as a cute retro baby smock, but as a cute, but not too cutesy retro garment for a child.

I was sketching the smock and watching TV news when the cuff of the TV news person’s jacket caught my eye. The jacket she wore was ho-hum, but the cuff made it zing. Turned back and in a satin checkered fabric, it made the jacket interesting and eye catching. The retro smock appeared as a whole unit in my mind. The main color was turquoise and the checkered detail would be stranded color work alternating the pink and lime green. The checkered detail would be used at the hem, the Nehru collar, the cuffs and the two patch pockets I now wanted on the front.

I researched the use of checks in 1960s clothes and found a treasure trove of pictures and ideas. Yes, there is more than one way to design with checks. See my Pintrest mood board here.

After all was said and done, the rough sketch I came up with was this:

sketch girl's 1960 smock 1

Once I added the patch pockets, the angled button detail wouldn’t work. It’s a feature I will save for another design. But what about all that fabric between the color work borders? Did I really want that to be all Stockinette Stitch? All Stockinette would be relaxing at first, but beyond the first five rows it might drive me mad.

Speaking about the color work borders, did I want all the floats to be exposed on the reverse side of the garment? The hems of a garment get a fair share of abuse. It’s easy to snag a float and pull the stitches out of line. It was time to think about and plan for a folded hem to cover the floats.

In the meantime, I had to find a stitch pattern that created a fabric I liked and that worked with the checkerboard borders. But first I had to come up with stitch counts and measurements.

More on that next time.

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For some knitters, the number of stitches picked up along the edge of a knitted garment is a mystery number. How do designers come up with this number? Really, it is simple.

The two rules for picking up stitches are:
1) If it is a bound off edge every stitch is picked up.
2) If it is a selvedge edge pick up 3 out of every 4 stitches.

Neck edges are usually bound off edges. The total number of stitches bound off to form the back and front of the neck is the total number to pick up. If each front edge has 20 bound off stitches, pick up 20 stitches on each edge. Same for the number of stitches in the back.

Selvedge edges usually become button bands of some sort. The rule here is to pick up about 3 out of every 4 stitches. Three out of every 4 prevents the bands from becoming wavy. The same number of stitches picked up on one side must be picked up on the other side. Do a test count before picking up band stitches just to make sure the number on one side can be duplicated on the other.

Another thing to watch out for when picking up band stitches is the effect the amount of stitches picked up has on the overall length of the garment. Is it shortening the length by drawing it up? If so, adjust the 3 out of every 4 rule by picking up 4 out of 5 or 4 out of 4 every so often. The more stitches picked up the greater the chance the band will become wavy and not lie flat. This can be countered by picking up less stitches.

Picking up the right amount of stitches isn’t really as hard as it seems. Knitted garments can be quite forgiving. As with anything in life, practice helps.

Have a good weekend.

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Everybody, including me, has body image issues. For instance, I refuse to measure my waist. The looks that attract me in a knitted or crocheted sweater don’t usually emphasize the waist, therefore waist shaping is minimal or non-existent in the pattern. But I need to know my other measurements if I am going to knit or crochet a sweater that fits.

The king of all measurements is chest / bust size. This had never been a body issue area for me until I had my mastectomy. Talk about body image taking a hit, the mastectomy was a biggie. I didn’t know if I would or could ever wear a knit sweater again. I mean, how do I get a bust measurement with one breast? I cursed myself for not taking an accurate measurement before the operation, as if that should have been the upper most thought in my mind: take bust measurement for future knitted sweaters.

An accurate bust measurement is necessary as it will affect all other measurements. My bra size is not my bust measurement. I didn’t know this until I was fitted for a special bra and prosthesis after my mastectomy. My bra size is the actual measurement I get when I wrap the measuring tape around my rib cage and back underneath and thus excluding the breasts. My chest measurement is 36″ (91) cm. But I wear a bra with a circumference of 38″ (96.5) cm so I don’t feel like a character in Downton Abbey all stiff corset and tightly laced in. For bra wear it’s the difference between the circumference of my chest sans breasts and the number I get when I measure and include the breasts that tells me what cup size the bra should be. It’s this latter measurement, however, that I use as a knitter to decided what size sweater I should knit.

But here’s the thing about the king of measurements, it only rules until I get to the point in the sweater where my bust is at its fullest and that coincides with where my underarm starts. At this point, the king takes a hike. The new ruling measurement is the cross back width. If I want my sweaters to fit from the fullest part of my bust up, I need an accurate cross back measurement.

The easiest way to get this measurement is to measure a shirt that fits me the way I want it to. Lay it out and measure the back from the top of one armhole to the other. In the picture below, notice that the measurement starts at the seam created by joining the top of one sleeve to the top of the shoulder and ends at the opposite side where the top of the other sleeve joins the top of the shoulder. That’s the cross back. It’s a painless, body image-less, measurement. It doesn’t hurt in anyway to know this number. It’s neutral, a no commentary number.

cross back 1

Next, I measure my shoulder width. Another neutral, no commentary number. The shoulder measurement starts at the seam created by the top of the sleeve joining the shoulder, goes straight across and ends at the neck. I don’t include the neck edging seam in this measurement.

shoulder width

The next number I need is armhole length. I measure straight down from the top of the armhole to the bottom and put a second ruler, or in this case piece of paper, at the bottom of the armhole to get a clearer measurement.

armhole depth

The last number I need is neck width. I find it tricky to measure this on a shirt. The area I need to measure is between the neck edge on one side and the neck edge on the other.

neck measurement

What I like to do instead, is take the tape measure in both hands and put it behind my head. I slide both hands down the sides of my neck and along the tape measure until I come to the base of my neck where it curves into the shoulder. I bring tape measure and hands forward and record the number between my hands.

Checking the accuracy of the individual numbers is easy. The cross back is the sum of my shoulder measurement times 2 and my neck width. If I have accurately recorded the cross back and one shoulder, I can easily find the my neck number without measuring. Multiply the shoulder measurement by 2 and subtract the answer from the total cross back number. What is left is the neck width.

A small aside here. I’ve been looking for this yarn that I don’t know where I got it or what it is. At the suggestion of a friend, I am posting a picture of my mystery yarn in hopes that someone might recognize it and tell me what it is. The only other clue I can give you is that its a fairly heavy weight yarn being knitted on US 8 (5 mm) needles at 4.5 sts per 1″ (2.5) cm. I am positive it is not wool as Yarn Rascal has little interest in it.

mystery yarn

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