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March 8

The Silhouette Jumper & A Brief Discussion about Gauge, Measurments, and Resizing

While I was on vacation in Florida a few weeks ago, Felix and I hit up Orange Tree Antique Mall, just north of downtown Orlando.  The mall itself was on the larger side, which was deceiving looking at the small store front.  If you love shopping for records or knick-knacks this is the place for you!  I personally found the prices a bit too high for my tastes and there was far too many dust collectors and non-vintage items to make it someplace I’d recommend you all go when you’re in Orlando.  That being said, I’d probably go back anyhow if I happened to be in the area, but I don’t think I would make a special trip out there.

I have no idea how I spotted these three awesome vintage knitting pattern booklets in the place!

I find that I find objects that are at eye-level or down decently, but I have a tendency to fail to look up, which is where one finds hats and other accessories.  I’m going to have to practice more I guess.  Darn.  (Insert sarcastic Liz voice here.) heh

I paid $2 each for them which is a pretty decent price, imo.  If they were on etsy I’m thinking they’d be around the $8-$10 dollar range.

As you may have anticipated, today’s free knitting pattern comes from Bishop’s Fashions called the Silhouette Jumper:

Click on the following link to download the free pdf pattern: Silhouette Jumper.

Click here to add this pattern to your Ravelry Queue or Favorites.

For starters, this is a multi-sized pattern ranging from size 12-18 (or 32″ to 38″) which corresponds with a super handy chart to show where to stop-start the pattern repeats for each of the different sizes.

It’s knit using a fingering weight yarn on US size 2 needles.  I picked this one quickly this morning being drawn to the classic silhouette (no pun intended) along with the chain design and the little scarf she’s styled it with.  It’s so very feminine and french inspired, don’t you agree?  This would be lovely in a white and navy, with a corresponding red scarf (or in white and red, with a navy blue scarf).  :)  But you’d have to wear it while sailing or sitting along the Seine eating some decadent pastries.

For the newbies out there, to quickly figure out the size of the pattern you take the number of stitches x2 (for the front and the back, if the pattern has two separate pieces) and divide that by the pattern gauge.  I had to do this in order to figure out what a size 12 was and what a size 18 was.

Example:

  • The count of the stitches on the front of the jumper before the decreases for the armhole is: 128 stitches.
  • The count of the stitches on the back of the jumper before the armhole decreases is also: 128 sts.
  • The gauge is 8 sts per 1″.
  • So the math is (128 sts x 2)/8 sts = 32″

Before starting any pattern, I take the pattern gauge (given by the pattern) and calculate the pattern measurements at every given point: The cast on stitches, the waist, the bust, and the length from the cast on to the bust.  From there I figure out how much ease I want in the pattern.  I then just add or remove stitches as needed.

As my personal-general rule, I like to have somewhere around 2″ of negative ease in my vintage knitted garments.  But it all depends on the drape of your yarn and the style of the pattern.

The Silhouette Jumper looks like a form-fitting jumper so I would trust my gut and knit this in the size 12 (32″ bust) for my 34″ bust.  The issue I come across is that I have a short waist and also a thicker waist than that of the pattern measurements.  To resolve the short waist issue, by knitting a few rows fewer.  But to solve the thicker waist issue this is what I do:

  • I figure out the inches for the cast on edge.  For the size 12 it is: (91 sts x 2)/8= 22.75″ in ribbing.
  • Right after the ribbing you increase stitches which results in a final waist measurement of: (112 sts x 2)/8 = 28″

For my 29″-30″ waist, having the top of the ribbing at 28″ is perfect for 2″ of negative ease.  But I’m not liking how tiny the cast on edge is!  It’s way too small for my hippy-hips.

  • I’d cast on for the next size up, the 14, with 99 cast on stitches for the front and would work the ribbing as instructed.  When I got to the increase stitches at the waist I’d simply increase fewer stitches to get to the size 12.  So instead of increasing 21 stitches on the front to go from 91 stitches to 112, I would increase 13 stitches from 99 to 112.

I hope this gives you a tiny bit more insight in how to alter knitting patterns to fit your measurements.  I didn’t go into too much depth about length alterations, but this should help get you started with making width-wise changes.

One last thing that is super important to mention: these measurements are all dependent on your knitting gauge.  I used the stated gauge that was given on the pattern as a starting point.  But you must knit up a gauge swatch in order to either match the given gauge from the pattern or you can use your own.  (If you use your own gauge, you’ll need to do many more measurements.)  Even if you’re off by 1 stitch in your gauge swatch that 1 stitch multiplied across the entire pattern will alter things significantly.

For example:

If you have 1 stitch too many over a measurement of 1″ that would mean that for every 8 stitches you instead have 9, would result in a garment being 28″ at the bust instead of 32″!

It’s a general rule to measure your gauge over 4 inches (instead of over 1″) to lessen the error.  So again if you were off by 1 stitch (too many) over 4 inches this would result in your swatch being 33 stitches instead of 32 stitches wide.  If this were across the entire pattern your bust measurement would be 31″ instead of the desired 32″.  It’s not as drastic here, but still that’s an inch difference you may not want.

If you’re interested in reading up more about gauge with some crazy-amazing diagrams check out these links:

Importance of Swatching: Swatch Out via Knitty.com

More in-depth article about Gauge: Thinking Beyond the Pattern, via Knitty.com

The first image in this article blows by mind still: Got Gauge?, via TwistCollective.com

Article about Ease in Patterns: Unraveling Ease, via TwistCollective.com

The first image that blows by mind from the first Twist collective link shows the difference between the same size needle, but of differing content Bamboo vs. Brass metal ones.  Pure craziness!

I hope this was somewhat helpful and please comment at any time if you have questions.  And enjoy the Silhouette Jumper Pattern!  :)

  1. Annabelle / Mar 8 2012

    Ooh, I have that knitting book pictured in the middle! Some ladies from my knitting group were de-stashing and gave me a few books. That was one of them – and she actually bought it in the 50’s.

    • Liz / Mar 8 2012

      That’s amazing! Ms. Annabelle you and I see to have the same exact tastes. :)

  2. Tasha / Mar 8 2012

    Well you know I’m all about resizing and knitting math. lol Believe it or not on one of my current sweaters (So Neat and Sweet from A Stitch in Time vol. 2), I’m actually knitting it at gauge without resizing. That being said I’m knitting it in a smaller size than recommended because like you, I prefer a bit of negative ease in my vintage sweaters. It’s wonderful they went to the trouble of having so many modern sizes in the book. I -love- when I find multi-sized vintage patterns like this, though!

    That gauge swatch comparison at Twist Collective is really interesting. It’s one of the reasons I like to work with metal needles only (though a couple of different brands). I like the better consistency I’ve noted in my gauge over time, which I find helps me have much more expected outcomes in my knitting (you know, avoiding the “what gives? my swatch was spot on and my garment is too big/small” issue).

  3. Stephanie / Mar 8 2012

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I’m getting ready to start another sweater soon and this is just perfect timing!

    P.S. Love this pattern! :)

  4. Kat Ezat / Mar 8 2012

    This is just what I’ve been having a lot of trouble with recently! Very nicely explained, thanks so much. I’m going to add a link to your post to my blog where I recently tried to work out gauge for a new project, check it out:

    http://lifesjewelsonstring.blogspot.com/2012/02/gauge-swatches.html

    Please keep sharing! :)

  5. meredith / Mar 8 2012

    Ooh I love that swirlylink pattern! Thanks so much for always posting the most adorable vintage jumpers! (And wow– the difference between metal and bamboo is ASTOUNDING! I’ll have to pay attention to what kind of needle I’m swatching with!)

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