•  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

The UK's Bestselling Knitting Magazine

October 2018
October 2018

Guest post: five things you should know about plus-size knitting

Category:
Knitting, Women's clothing, Guest
Author:
Let’s Knit
22 Oct 2013
Guest post: five things you should know about plus-size knitting

For our guest post this month, Knitting at Large blogger Julie Matthews gives advice on adapting patterns for plus-size women.

As a plus-size woman, I spent decades wishing I could wear beautifully crafted, natural-fibre sweaters with intricate cables or colorwork. Instead, all I could buy were cheaply made, fine-gauge, acrylic garments that looked frumpy and shoddy after only a few wearings.

Frustrated, I decided it was time to learn to knit a sweater that fits regardless of my size and shape. I read every knitting book I could find, took classes with several well-known knitwear designers, and spent my leisure time knitting, knitting, knitting. Fast forward five years – I now have an entire wardrobe of spectacular pullovers and cardigans, each made with top-quality yarns, that fit well and look great.

Here are five important things I’ve learned about knitting ample sweaters:

1. Size doesn’t matter

In knitting, sizes are mere suggestions. There is little standardisation in knitwear sizing; an extra-large in one pattern may be the same as a large in another. Accept the unfortunate reality that sizes mean nothing in the knitting world. The only things that matter are the finished garment measurements. Change your thinking from “I wear a size 24” to “I wear a 127cm sweater.” Note that the finished garment measurements are your actual body measurements plus ease, or the extra room you need to feel comfortable in your sweater.

2. Use a sweater schematic

If a sweater pattern doesn’t have a schematic, you should make one. A schematic provides the road map to knitting the sweater. If you don’t have one, it’s like driving without a map or a compass from Washington, DC to Washington State on a cloudy day. You’ll neither know where you’re going or where you’ll end up.
The easiest way to make a schematic is to use graph paper, a pencil, and a ruler. Using the measurements provided in the pattern, draw the pattern to scale. Then draw your measurements on top and you’ll immediately see the modifications you need to make. For example, here is the revised schematic for the sweater I’m currently making with my modifications shown in red.

3. Take accurate measurements. And swatch!

The operative word is ACCURATE. Don’t guess. Don’t fudge. If you want the sweater to fit when you’re done, then you must take good measurements. Try using this worksheet from the Craft Council [LINK: ]http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/sizing.html] or equivalent.

And yes, you MUST swatch a tension square first. Don’t skip this incredibly important step. You must know that you are knitting to the correct tension, and the only way you can know is if you swatch. Just do it!

4. Use lots of buttons on cardigans

Most cardigans are designed for six or seven buttons; I always use ten or more. Larger bodies, especially busty or curvy ones, need more buttons. They will eliminate both the gaping space between buttons and the need for safety pins, too.

5. Practise makes perfect

In the past five years, I’ve made over two dozen sweaters and each has been a learning experience. None of these sweaters are perfect, but each one is better than the last. Knitting inevitably improves over time, and so does sweater making. Persevere and practise and you’ll soon be making sweaters you love.

You can read more of Julie’s adventures in plus-size knitting at blog.knittingatlarge.com.

Knit news worth sharing!

Get the latest from Let’s Knit in your feed.

Recommended posts

7 knitting patterns for health and happiness

7 knitting patterns for health and happiness

Read post

Why lace knits need to be your go-to this season

Why lace knits need to be your go-to this season

Read post

6 things you’ll wish you’d known before you started knitting

6 things you’ll wish you’d known before you started knitting

Read post

READER MAKES - The August Finale 2018

READER MAKES - The August Finale 2018

Read post

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW! Issue 136 October 2018

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW! Issue 136 October 2018

Read post

Special Preview: DesignEtte’s Brand New Collection!

Special Preview: DesignEtte’s Brand New Collection!

Read post

 BACK TO BLOG
22 Oct 2013

Guest post: five things you should know about plus-size knitting

Guest post: five things you should know about plus-size knitting

For our guest post this month, Knitting at Large blogger Julie Matthews gives advice on adapting patterns for plus-size women.

As a plus-size woman, I spent decades wishing I could wear beautifully crafted, natural-fibre sweaters with intricate cables or colorwork. Instead, all I could buy were cheaply made, fine-gauge, acrylic garments that looked frumpy and shoddy after only a few wearings.

Frustrated, I decided it was time to learn to knit a sweater that fits regardless of my size and shape. I read every knitting book I could find, took classes with several well-known knitwear designers, and spent my leisure time knitting, knitting, knitting. Fast forward five years – I now have an entire wardrobe of spectacular pullovers and cardigans, each made with top-quality yarns, that fit well and look great.

Here are five important things I’ve learned about knitting ample sweaters:

1. Size doesn’t matter

In knitting, sizes are mere suggestions. There is little standardisation in knitwear sizing; an extra-large in one pattern may be the same as a large in another. Accept the unfortunate reality that sizes mean nothing in the knitting world. The only things that matter are the finished garment measurements. Change your thinking from “I wear a size 24” to “I wear a 127cm sweater.” Note that the finished garment measurements are your actual body measurements plus ease, or the extra room you need to feel comfortable in your sweater.

2. Use a sweater schematic

If a sweater pattern doesn’t have a schematic, you should make one. A schematic provides the road map to knitting the sweater. If you don’t have one, it’s like driving without a map or a compass from Washington, DC to Washington State on a cloudy day. You’ll neither know where you’re going or where you’ll end up.
The easiest way to make a schematic is to use graph paper, a pencil, and a ruler. Using the measurements provided in the pattern, draw the pattern to scale. Then draw your measurements on top and you’ll immediately see the modifications you need to make. For example, here is the revised schematic for the sweater I’m currently making with my modifications shown in red.

3. Take accurate measurements. And swatch!

The operative word is ACCURATE. Don’t guess. Don’t fudge. If you want the sweater to fit when you’re done, then you must take good measurements. Try using this worksheet from the Craft Council [LINK: ]http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/sizing.html] or equivalent.

And yes, you MUST swatch a tension square first. Don’t skip this incredibly important step. You must know that you are knitting to the correct tension, and the only way you can know is if you swatch. Just do it!

4. Use lots of buttons on cardigans

Most cardigans are designed for six or seven buttons; I always use ten or more. Larger bodies, especially busty or curvy ones, need more buttons. They will eliminate both the gaping space between buttons and the need for safety pins, too.

5. Practise makes perfect

In the past five years, I’ve made over two dozen sweaters and each has been a learning experience. None of these sweaters are perfect, but each one is better than the last. Knitting inevitably improves over time, and so does sweater making. Persevere and practise and you’ll soon be making sweaters you love.

You can read more of Julie’s adventures in plus-size knitting at blog.knittingatlarge.com.

Recommended Posts

4 Autumn Knits To Start Planning Now

4 Autumn Knits To Start Planning Now

Read more

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW! September Issue 2018

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW! September Issue 2018

Read more

5 Ways With Knitted Socks

5 Ways With Knitted Socks

Read more

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW! Issue 136 October 2018

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW! Issue 136 October 2018

Read more

9 Top Trends For Autumn

9 Top Trends For Autumn

Read more

Visit The Southern Wool Show This September!

Visit The Southern Wool Show This September!

Read more