Lately I have been struggling with finding my perfect size. My body has changed so much over these past 5 years. The quick gain and lost of hormones, that drastic ebb and flow that happen with miscarriage sent my body into a whirlwind. I lost weight from the morning sickness and gained it back. I then changed careers from my very active job as a pre school teacher to a work from home fiber artist, bringing in more healthy weight gain. I was happy with my body, even after gaining more weight when breast feeding Beau two years later.
But then, the health decline began. It started towards the end of my pregnancy when I was vomiting blood, a side effect of my brutal morning sickness. Instead of my symptoms getting better with time, they worsened. And before my son's second birthday, my doctor scheduled a colonoscopy and endoscopy. They said they were checking for everything, but that cancer was also a concern. I had just turned 29.
When my test results came in, they found that I was in perfect health, but said that my symptoms was due to my body recovering from my pregnancy and that everything should clear up with weight loss.
Honestly I didn't want to lose weight. I liked my body the way it was. But I just couldn't handle the stomach pain anymore and the bundle of medications that I was taking everywhere with me. And so I got to work.
Honestly I don't really know how much weight I lost this past year. For my own mental health, I don't focus on the numbers. I focused solely on how my body felt. But I do know that now, I don't feel any pain. Just a touch of heartburn here and there, which I will gladly take on any day!
And though I feel better, I am left with a lot of oversized knits. Because my body has changed so much, I don't know what size I like anymore, My favorite was a size 42, but now I find myself knitting a 32 or a 34, but still unhappy with the fit. My body feels so foreign now that it is showing in my knitting. I've come to realize that am in between sizes and therefore must knit in between sizes as well. So here's what I do.
Piece together my own pattern
Before I even begin to knit from a pattern, I will compare my own measurement to the measurements on the schematic. A schematic is a technical drawing of the knitted garment that includes precise measurements. Often when I check a schematic, I find that the yoke depth always tends to be too long and the shoulder shaping too big. So, when knitting a top down sweater, I found that I need to cast on for a smaller size, but then work my bust increases to match the next size. So for example, I will have a size 32 neck opening and yoke depth (distance from shoulder to armpit, D on the schematic below), but I will increase the bust to a size 34.
Always compare the schematics to your body measurements!
Adjust the stitch counts
Sometimes, a pattern will have such a large disparity between sizes that you will have to create your stitch counts. But that's ok because you can easily make up your own. First find your stitch per inch by using the following equations:
Number of Stitches in Pattern ÷ Stitches Per Inch = Width of Knitting
60 Upper Arm Stitches ÷ 5 Stitches Per Inch = 12 inches
How to Find Stitches Per Inch:
Number of Stitches in 4 inches ÷ 4 = stitches per inch
20 sts ÷ 4 = 5 stitches per inch
Remember, to block your swatch before measuring. I like to launder my swatches the same way that I plan on laundering the finished garment.
And remember, be gentle with yourself
Knitting is relaxing and satisfying, but it is still hard work. Remember that nearly everything in knitting is fixable and ripping back is part of the magic of it all.
Want to learn more about sweater knitting? Look our for me at Vogue Knitting Live NYC this February, where I will be teaching How to Knit Your Favorite Sweater.