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Knitting sizes

Even the most experienced knitter gets a little nervous sometimes about knitting the right size. Knitting for yourself or family member is relatively easy - I find the best way is to measure something in a similar style which you know fits them well.

Knitting patterns offer instructions in a range of sizes and specify both the actual dimensions allowing room to move, as well as the ‘to fit’ measurements. You may need to adapt the pattern for sleeve length and/or overall length. It’s important to add or take away extra centimetres before shaping a front or back piece for the armholes. If you don’t, the pieces simply won’t fit together. Similarly, when knitting a raglan sleeve, make any length adjustments before shaping the top.

It’s also a good idea to circle your required size on your pattern in case you take a long break and forget the size you were following.

Perhaps the hardest sizing is for a baby/small child outside the immediate family. We want to knit something for a friend’s newborn or toddler, but have no clear idea of what size. Below are the standard measurements recommended for different ages. If you vaguely know the baby or child is particularly small or large for their age you can adjust, but there is little harm in making something a bit too big for someone in this age group as they grow so quickly. This table is for chest measurement, which is the usual way of sizing for children. Overall lengths and sleeves matter less for babies. Generally, two inches ‘roominess’ around the chest is allowed, though knitting patterns often increase this gap for aran or chunky knits which may be worn over a thicker shirt.


AGE

TO FIT

ACTUAL SIZE

newborn

14in/36cm

16in/41cm

0-3 months

16in/41cm

18in/46cm

3-6 months

18in/46cm

20in/51cm

6-12 months

20in/51cm

22in/56cm

1-2 years

22in/56cm

24cm/61cm

2-3 years

24in/61cm

26in/66cm