I am about to start a new sweater project but am faced with a slight problem. The pattern is the Green Gables Hoodie Pullover (#28 in Vogue Knitting Fall 2008). I am using Rowan Cocoon in Emerald on size 7mm needles as I cannot get Lion Brand yarn where I currently live. My question is this - the measurements of the person for whom I am knitting this for are just one inch off the x-small size and 3 inches off the small size. The sweater in the picture looks as though it should be a fairly close fit - not tight but not loose fitting either. I am anxious to get started but wasn’t sure what to do in this case. Should I knit the x-small size and just stretch the knitting a bit when I block? Add some stitches? I’m not really a newbie to knitting but I am starting to try customizing stuff more, not just go by what the pattern says. Thanks!
I’m not the one to completely answer your questions, but I have a few suggestions/comments.
You can only stretch the fabric so far by blocking, plus not all yarn really blocks. If you are using wool you can probably get it to stretch some, but acrylic…not so much. Blocking acrylic really isn’t necessary as you can just toss it in the washer and dryer.
I suggest you do a gauge swatch to find out what size will work best with her measurements if you want a good try at getting it to fit properly.
You should knit a sample of the yarn you have to see how close to the pattern gauge you are. If you’re a bit larger, you could easily knit the xsmall and it should turn out right. If you’re a bit smaller, then the size small should work. Look at the measurements on the pattern schematic for those two sizes. See which one you’re closer to on the gauge you get; divide the total back and front sts at the underarm by the sts/inch you get with your yarn. You might also need to go up or down a needle size.
I am just designing my first sweater without a pattern and I found that Knitty has a collum called "Thinking Beyond the Pattern"which is really useful.
Also Debbie Stroller has a chapter in Stitch and Bitch Nation on modifying sweater patterns which is good.
A couple of suggestions I would make (gleened from these 2 sources) are to make a blow up of the schematic and make note of what the stitch/row counts will be at key points if they are in instructions. In case you are trying to make the size XS a little bigger by knitting on bigger needles, after you knit your gague swatch, do the math and figure out what [I]your [/I]measurements are going to be if you knit the same number of stitches at a looser gague. Hopefully they will be something like the measurements of the person you want to knit it for–a note on that, if it’s possible, you might want to think about taking the measurements of a similarly styled sweater which fits her well rather than her measurements directly.