Something wicked this way comes
Ok, I know that this is a particularly overused quote, but I couldn’t resist, because it totally applies. What is wicked? Grading. I am about to the point of my pattern design career where I know just enough about grading to be totally afraid of it. Grading is the process of adjusting the measurements and stitch counts of a pattern to make it fit more than one size. So far, I have been knitting things in my size, and figuring out the other sizes from there. But how do I know which measurements to use for the other sizes? There are several “standard” sizing charts available online, the most popular of which are found at the Craft Yarn Council site (link takes to you to all industry standards for knit and crochet patterns), with the list of standard sizing here. The other popular one is from Ysolda Teague.
So far, the thing that sticks in my mind the most about grading has to do with ease. If I knit myself a sweater with 2″ of negative ease all over, and then grade it to fit a bust size 12″ smaller than mine, or 12″ larger, how can I be sure that it will fit them the same way that it fits me? One way is to work in percentages. Figure out what percent of my size each other size is. (For example, I have a 42″ bust. My sisters 30″ bust is 71% of mine. Make sense?) Then each set of numbers would be 29% smaller than mine. Ok, that’s great, but that will affect the ease. So what I do is figure out in percentages approximately how many stitches should be listed for that size. And then I figure out what 2″ of negative ease would be, (28″ around the bust for my teensy sis) and reconcile the two sets of numbers. Yes, it’s complicated. No, I don’t enjoy it. But if there is one thing I hate is finding a pattern I love, and knitting it in my size to find that the fit is totally different on me, because of how it was graded.
I have more to say about this. But for now, I must go continue performing surgery on one of my sample knits. I found out that knitting late at night with a fever is a bad idea, when it causes me to leave an entire row out of a stitch pattern. Twice. I don’t have time to frog, so I cut the bottom from the top and will graft it back after it has been fixed. More about that later too. It was scary.