Measuring your work?

I often have problems with measuring, and thought that someone here probably has a great trick for doing this.

I am somewhere close to the point on the back of a sweater where I need to decrease for the arm holes. I am using size 10.5 circulars for this sweater, and a bulky weight yarn. The pattern is a 4x3 rib, if that matters. The circulars are new and still are pretty curly. When I lay my knitting flat to measure it, I’m getting measurements anywhere from 14" to 15.5", depending on what surface I lay my knitting on (a flat but fabric-covered surface, a flat but slippery surface (like the pattern book), etc.), and whether I measure on the outside edge of the knitting or somewhere in the middle of the knitted part. Since 15.5" is where I’m supposed to start the decreases, I sort of need to figure this out. What is the best way to measure your knitting?



I too, am new to sweater making so I am sure someone with more experience will chime in

However, If I were making the sweater for myself, I would try it on (if it was done in the round), or I would hold it up to my body (if it is done flat) and see where everything falls, then compare it to the schematic. I not a big measurement person, which is why I am making top down int the round sweaters. I’d rather go by how it fits my body, then how it measures up on a ruler.

I am guessing that you get a larger measurement on a surface with more friction because it lets the fabric be stretched out a bit. I slippery surface will keep the fabric in a more natural state. If it was hanging on someones body the length might be a little bit longer then if you are measuring it flat, but the width will not.

Since it is the armhole you are concerned with, the side measurement will probably be more essential.

I was always told that when measuring something that hangs on the body, such as a sweater, that it should be measured “hanging”. So that is how I’ve done all my sweaters. I have my husband hold the needle at both ends, I straighten the knitting just so it is hanging right and straight, and then I take a measurement with a fabric tape measure down the center. Then as each section is complete, I still pin and block the pieces to the exact measurements called for by the pattern before seaming.

You should measure it while it’s as loose as possible. Hanging is probably best. When I make sweaters I make them top down and just try them on to see when they are right.

Lay it down without spreading it out and see how it measures from the bottom up. Probably better to let it be a little longer than too short.

I haven’t done this, but I’ve heard that if you have a similar sweater that you like the way it fits, measure the one in progress by that and it should work.

If youre having trouble with the cable curling, getting the knitting to lay flat, it might be a good idea to transfer the live stitches onto a separate piece of yarn (something in a different color then the sweater) so that you can tame it better.

Thanks, everyone. I tried knitTogether’s suggestion (except, with no DH to hold it, I used clothespins and a metal hanger) and went with that. I think the curling circular needles were causing part of the problem.

This is a VERY helpful thread. I get a lot of different measurements depending on the factors mentioned here. Thanks to all for the hints.