Tuesday Tip – How To Measure Your Knitting

Tuesday Tip copy

Before my Ask Patty series on Modern Daily Knitting, I wrote for a column called Patty’s Purls of Wisdom. It has had a life in several magazines and I was thrilled when it joined Twist Collective. It was the beginning of my Ask Patty adventures. Knitter’s send in their questions, ala Dear Abbey, and I answer them. It’s full of all kinds of knitting advice, and this knitter asked a brilliant question that is has baffled many a knitter.

How to Measure Your Knitting

Dear Patty

How do you measure length before the bind off? If I’m supposed to work something for 24″ from cast on and then bind off, do I measure to the bottom of the needle or to the top of the needle (including the loops on the needle)? Why is this in NO knitting books??

Frustrated Knitter

Dear Frustrated Knitter,

What fun would it be if all our knitting questions could be answered in books? (Although this and many other answers are found in my Sweater classes!)

The important thing is to be consistent across the whole project. The bind off does add height, because the act of binding off involves first knitting new stitches, then passing one over another. Some bind offs add more height than others. For medium-weight yarns I find if I measure to the top of the needle it is usually very close to the finished bound-off height.

However, unless you are dealing with really bulky yarn, as long as you measure all your sweater pieces in the exact same way, you’ll be fine.

Here’s a picture of a mini swatch on the needles and bound off side by side to illustrate:

Although I answered the specific question asked . . .  for those of you who have taken one of my Sweater Classes (videos built right into the pattern) you know how I feel. The tape measure touches your knitting twice, once when you measure your gauge and once when you block. Otherwise it’s locked in a drawer

There are so many reasons that we must trust our finished row gauge. The yarn might shrink up or fluff up when blocked. But there’s one more important reason.

Stitch gauge and row gauge are linked, and we cannot measure length without setting width.

So when a pattern says “Now work straight until armhole measures 8” . . . it really means, “now work 8” worth of your finished row gauge.



If you have a burning knitting question, send it in to Modern Daily Knitting and your question might be featured in the next issue!
Questions like:
– What’s the best short row method for a scarf?
– What are the tricks to keeping your sanity when knitting lace?
– How do you avoid killing your spouse when he moves your shawl off the couch making your delicate stitches slip off the needle and your stitch markers tumble to the floor?
Please write them in letter form, just like the old letter’s to Dear Abby. We’d love to feature the full letter in the column, not just the questions, so have fun with it! Let’s all learn from each other and let’s start talking knitting! So e-mail your questions to:
E-mail Ask Patty (askpattymdk@gmail.com)

Want to learn more sweater tips? Join me in one of my sweater classes



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