My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Ease on Down the Road

A question about ease from the comments the other day:

If a pattern is says “36” bust” is that yours or the sweater’s?? If that is your actual bust measurement, how much ease would be (usually, accounting for personal taste I understand) necessary for a good, comfortable fitting sweater? Let’s assume this is a pullover that is not supposed to be skin tight or extra loose, since those are different animals. And does the amount of ease matter if you are making a cardigan or pullover? I really think this is the major stumbling block that is preventing me from knitting sweaters.

The bust measurement in a sweater pattern is the actual measurement of the sweater.

How much ease do you allow? My best advice is to take a sweater you like the fit of and measure that to get an idea of how much ease you need. I personally like at least 4 inches for a “standard-fitting” sweater, more for a loose-fitting one. More for cardigans because I generally wear a long sleeve shirt under cardis, and I hate the feeling of being stuffed into a sweater.

I am making Frida in size small, and the chest measurement on the size small is approximately 46″! It’s a tunic type sweater, so you want it nice and loose. The most unflattering thing I can think of is a sweater that stops at the hip line that’s tight across the hips.

Speaking of Frida, I did some work on her yesterday.


You can see that Lucy was a big help, as usual.

A Frida question:

When you were ordering your yarn for Frida, did you notice that the requirements for the white background version in the child’s size shows only one ball of gold and two of the red? I saw in your July photo of your shipment from Bea Ellis that you went by the amounts in the adult size, just changing the background color, and the tan to gold. Do you think it’s a misprint in the other list? I don’t see that much more red in the charts than any of the other contrast colors, and it seems that more gold would be needed for the lattice design.

When ordering yarn for Dale sweaters, it’s always an adventure. ๐Ÿ™‚ They are notoriously bad for giving good estimates of yarn needed. It’s quite possible that the amounts for the child’s sweater are wrong.

Only time will tell if the amounts for the adult version are correct. So far, it looks okay.


  1. Yet another reason to push for standards in knit pattern writing: Rowan patterns always give “to fit” sizes rather than finished sizes. The actual finished sizes have to be derived from their schematics.

    I’ve just started discovering the heap o’ goodness that is Kim Hargreaves, so I’m painfully aware of this ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Frida is looking fabulous. I think you should have your own knitting show or, or, make a DVD on all your knitting techniques and sell them. Not only would you get rich (or your favorite charity) a lot of people would learn from the best. Hint……

  3. Remembering waaaay back to patternmaking classes….the standard ease around the bust is 4 inches; any less than that will look clingy and bunch up under the arms. You may wish to go to 5 or 6 inches in a bulkier knit for a standard fit.

  4. Just saw yesterday’s winners, WOW! You must have had too much fun sending those to the judges. Now THAT’s a contest. Excessive, nothing. That’s just love, baybee!

  5. I am afraid I keep repeating myself but Frida is simply gorgeous! Each time you start a new sweater I learn about new designs that I had never seen. Frida has such nice colorwork, thanks for sharing with us. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Ahhhh…it looks like Lucy is knitting that row for you, albeit in cat posture…pretty sweater, the jewel tones are quite striking.

  7. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I just adore the colorway in Frida. Stunning composition, too.

    Damn fine sweater.