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Crazy for Ewe

Choosing your size for Jessamyn - or whatever you knit

Choosing your size for Jessamyn - or whatever you knit

This is the first and sometimes scariest part of starting a knitting project.  You put all that work into it, you want it to fit, and you want it to look good.  So, choosing the right size is important.  Fortunately, Berroco gives you lots of good info to help you make a good decision.  I love that Berroco gives you numbers rather than words like medium or large.  Those words really don't mean anything.  What matters is how big the finished garment is intended to be and how you would like it to fit you.

You'll want to start with your full bust measurement. This is not your bra size, but the measurement of your body over the fullest part of your bust.  If you don't know this measurement for sure, ask a friend to measure you. Wrap the tape around your body, across your bust line without pulling. See the purple line in the image below?  

That's where the tape measure goes -- around the body and over the bust line.  Now to the language of patterns. 

Designers typically have a look in mind -- an idea about how a garment should fit a person. Sometimes they're going for an over-sized effect -- size small could have a finished bust of 46".  Other times they intend a very body conscious look, and size small could have a finished bust of 28" because the fabric is intended to stretch over the bust line.  Those finished measurements could be misleading and get you into trouble with your finished garment.  So they tell you instead what size to knit based on your full bust measurement. You'll see words like "to fit bust 32 (36, 40, 44, 48) etc." You can always look at the schematic or go in and do the math to see what size you'll be getting if you just have to know.  

Other patterns, like those from Berroco, give you the finished bust measurements and tell you how much ease is intended for the garment. For Jessamyn, designer Donna Yacino tells us, "This garment was designed with 2 -- 4" of ease. Please take this into consideration when selecting your size." This guidance tells you to knit the size that is 2 -- 4" larger than your full bust measurement. For example, if your full bust measures anywhere between 35" and or 38" you'll want to knit the 40" size. In between sizes? Given that this is a cardigan you'll wear over other garments, be generous with yourself. No one wants a sweater that gaps and pulls. 

For some women, their bust is not the largest part of their torso.  If that's you, think about how you want to wear this garment. If you want it to close around your body without pulling, measure where you are largest, add 2-4" for ease, and knit the size that corresponds to that number.  If you don't think you will ever try to close it around yourself, choose the size that is  2-4" larger than your full bust measurement. 

One last thing on choosing a size. Jessamyn is worked side to side, so the cast on gives you the length of your sweater from shoulder to hem (less the border stitches worked at the end). If you are very tall and thin and plan to make a small size, take a look at the finished length. Have a friend hold a tape measure up at the top of your shoulder and see where that length hits you. If it's shorter than you wanted, check the other sizes and see which one has a finished length that's better for you. You will cast on the number of stitches for the size that gives you the length you want, but follow the knitting instructions for the size you want for your bust. Same if you are shorter -- cast on the number of stitches given for the size that has a length you like but follow the directions for the size that fits your bust.

Now go choose one of Ginkgo's 12 beautiful colors and get ready for the next post on everyone's favorite topic...swatching.

Before you cast on for the size that matches your body measurement, you need to consider ease. Here's a question I get all the time, "What is ease anyway?" Simply put, ease is how much bigger or smaller than your body a garment is.  It's confusing because sometimes designers tell you what size the garment is, and sometimes they tell you which size your should knit. Here's why that happens.
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