questions on ease and gauge

I am about to start knitting my aunt the Morning Ramble Cardigan

The pattern suggests knitting it with 4" of ease. I know what ease is, but have not knit enough sweaters to know what 4" of ease will look like (I’ve knit one baby sweater and one men’s, so I’m a sweater newbie). From looking at some websites general suggestions for ease, 4" seems like a lot. I don’t think my aunt would want the cardigan to be baggy, but at the same time since it’s a cardigan if it’s too tight it will pull at the buttons. Would you just go with the suggestion of 4" or does that sound like way too much to you? The pattern gives the chest measurement for the actual garment, not bust measurement for the wearer, so maybe 4" more than the bust measurement isn’t what the designer is suggesting, but 4" bigger than the chest above or below the bust?

My second question is regarding my gauge. The pattern suggests size US 5 needles. I read through the projects on Ravelry and a couple of people mentioned that size 5 is too small. One woman said she had to use size 7. I am generally a tight knitter, especially with cables, so I started with the 7’s and did a swatch. My gauge was still too tight. So I swatched again with size 8. My stitch gauge is now correct but my row gauge is too loose by 4 rows in 4" (it was too loose with the 7’s too but only by 1 row in 4"). Should I be super worried about this? Should I be concerned that I am using needles so much bigger than the pattern suggests? Would I be better off with smaller needles and a bigger size sweater? Are you going to make me knit more swatches? :sob:

Four inches of positive ease seems reasonable to me for this type of sweater. It’s going to be worn over other clothing and maybe even over another sweater. The designer has written this correctly so that you know that the measurements are those of the finished sweater at the bust and not the body measurements.

Size 8 needles would be reasonable even for the yarn recommended in the pattern, Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. We don’t know about the kind of knitter the designer or test knitter is, perhaps a very loose knitter. I often change by one or two needle sizes for patterns. I don’t think row gauge will be a problem since it isn’t a raglan and you will be knitting to a given length in inches more than likely.

You might try blocking your swatch just to see how the yarn behaves once wet and dried. Sounds like you’ve paid your dues in swatching!