Monday, April 25, 2011
The Real Sizes Sweater Project
Are you frustrated at finding really pretty sweaters only to find that the only size the sweater will correctly knit into is not the one you need? You know what I'm talking about. It's a very lovely lace sweater and you get all excited when you see the size range is XS through 6X. Wahoo! Your size is somewhere in there. You find your size, check the finished sizes, print a copy, highlight your size, test your gauge (you are a good knitter after all and this is a garment that you want to fit) and cast on. And then five inches into your knitting you start thinking how this sweater is not knitting up like you expected. You whip out your measuring tape and check to make sure you are still knitting at gauge. Then you start measuring your work. It's three inches wider (or narrower) than it should be. In a fit of tears you recheck to make sure you were really knitting the correct size. You then start doing the math and realize that there is no way whatsoever that the designers numbers can create what s/he says they should be. 144 divided by 4.5 will never equal 44. Nor will 186 divided by 5 equal 34. The mat proves it.
When I went to Stitches South I found a very lovely short sleeved pullover knit up. I bought the pattern. I bought yarn. I even bought a brand new set of needles. I tested the gauge. I selected the size. I cast on. I knit for over four hours before realizing that this sweater was so large that I could wear it with at least one other friend at the same time. Then I realized that it wasn't my knitting. It was the designer. When I started doing the math for the other sizes I realized that the only size whose numbers matched the math was the one for the medium sized. I was heartbroken. I pulled the needles out and frogged the entire thing. I haven't decided if I am going to cast it back on in a different size.
This isn't the first time this has happened to me. And I know it happens to other knitters as well. I've heard the frustrated tales of woe at my Monday night Stitch n Bitch. Some people don't even quit at the five inch mark. They keep trusting the pattern and make the entire thing only to be frustrated with it and having to frog an entire garment. So after ranting about it and fussing about it for an entire night I decided to quit bitching and do something about it.
So this is where I need your help. I want to start a project that explores real people's sizes. Not just bust/chest and waist, but all your measurements. Starting tomorrow I am going to collect people's sizes. I'll have a survey for you to fill out and your measurements will be sent to me. This gives you time to find your measuring tapes. Tell your friends. Tweet the link to here. Put it on Facebook. Spread the word on Ravelry and at your local knit shop and knit nights. I want as large of a sampling of sizes as I can get. I'll keep everyone posted as I go along with what I discover.