The Yarnologue

Swatching: Buttercup

I haven’t made much progress with my Buttercup top. Swatching properly will slow you down.

IMG_4138After knitting on both a US 5 and a US 6 needle, I tossed the swatch in the sink to block. Now I’m waiting for it to dry so I can get an accurate measurement. Currently, the US 6 section is in the lead.

While we’re waiting, let’s take a look at which size top we want to knit.

Buttercup is free on Ravelry, but it’s not our pattern, so I can’t reprint large section. Instead, pull out your copy and follow along.

Flip to the last page of the pattern, where you’ll see a comprehensive schematic showing the measurements for all the important part of the garment. All the measurements are in centimeters, so you’ll have to flip your tape measure over. LOL

Having all these measurements is really handy for deciding which size you’re going to make, and whether you’ll need to try to combine two sizes to get the fit you want.

Remember, Buttercup is knit top down, so you’ll be able to work a small bust size, but add flair to the hem if you want.

Of course, all these numbers for the sweater don’t mean much if you don’t know the numbers for your body! It’s really important to take your own measurements on a regular basis. You’ll know how often that should be.

The Craft Yarn Council has directions on their website showing where and how to take your measurements.  If the drawings on that website don’t make sense, there was a blog post on Knitting Daily with actual pictures showing the proper way to measure yourself.

In fact, there are a lot of resources on Knitting Daily about measuring and fit.

In addition to knowing your measurements, you’ll have to decide how much ease you want the sweater to have. Ease, as you know, is the difference between your measurements and the measurements of your garment. Check this blog post for a discussion of ease and fit.

Personally, I dumped all this data into my brain, shook it up, and decided to make the size Small Buttercup.

The pattern says the Small size will have a finished bust of 36 inches and is suggested for an actual bust between 33 to 35.5 inches. That’s me! The Small size should give me 2″ of ease in the bust. The next size up, Medium, has a finished bust of 40″. That would be about 6″ of ease on me, which will be too big.

For comparison, my recently completed Tucked Pullover has about 3″ of ease. With only 2″ of ease, I expect Buttercup to be a little more form-fitting in the shoulders and chest, but will probably go for more flair in the bottom hem.

As you can see, sometimes a lot of thought needs to go into selecting the correct size if you want to knit or crochet a well fitting sweater. But don’t despair, as you spend more time thinking about these things before casting on you’ll find the process is much faster.

Really, I looked at the pattern and quickly decided I’d make the size small. I’m just spelling it all out for your benefit.

How much thought do you give to sizing before you cast on?


  1. Suzanne Kennedy

    April 26, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I have been knitting for sixty years! Only in the past five or six years have been doing swatches hate to but pays off. I like you do two different swatches as one smart girl

  2. It’s easier than cutting the yarn or getting out a second ball!
    When you working a continuous swatch like this, keep in mind that the different sections will pull on each other and could distort your gauge.
    To help minimize that, work a drop stitch row when you change needle sizes. The slack from the elongated stitches will act as a buffer.

    For those new knitters out there: When working the first row, wrap the yarn around your needle twice, instead of the usual once. On the second row, work one of the pair of loops and drop the second.
    Practice on a swatch (LOL) to get the hang of it.

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