Ease is really personal. Ease is the amount the finished sweater is bigger or smaller than the measurement at your bust line. How tight or loose you wear your clothes across the bust, is entirely up to you. Two people with the same bust measurement may knit two different sizes, depending on how they want their sweater to fit.
Positive ease means the sweater is bigger than your Actual Bust Measurement. A sweater that measures 44″ around on a body with a bust measurement of 40″ has 4″ of positive ease.
You can have negative ease too. If the sweater measures 38″ around the chest on a body with a bust measurement of 40″ then the sweater is said to have 2″ of negative ease. The T-shirts you wear usually have negative ease. It does not mean it’s 2″ smaller everywhere. If the sweater is knit straight it may have positive ease on the torso even if it has negative ease at the bust line. Apparently, in the knitting industry, we are only concerned with the fit at the bust line. Go figure (pun intended).
For the Any Gauge Raglan Pullover I was attempting to fit a pullover with some positive ease. At the Bottom of the Yoke this sweater would fit like a second skin. It fits your Actual Bust Measurement + both your Actual Arm Measurements. It fits your body exactly as measured. But we don’t leave it there.
In this pattern I have you add the Ease as a cast on at each underarm.
How much ease? That’s up to you. The easiest way to determine how much is to measure the sweaters you wear. How much bigger/smaller is your favourite sweater than your Actual Bust Measurement? That’s the amount of ease you like. Half the ease is added as cast on stitches at one underarm and the other half, cast on at the other underarm. Now your sweater body has the amount of ease you wanted.
You can see that half the Body Ease will eventually also be added to the sleeve. Let’s say you want 3″ of ease for your body, then 1.5″ is cast on at each underarm. When you work your sleeve, you pick up one stitch for each underarm cast on stitch, so adding 1.5″ of ease to the sleeve.
But … you knew this was coming, there are modifications you can make here.
- Different ease for your sleeve: If half the Body Ease is not the right amount of ease for your sleeve, as you set up your sleeve you can pick up additional stitches in the corners beside the cast on stitches for slightly more sleeve room or for less ease, pick up fewer stitches from the cast on stitches. It won’t involve very many stitches + or – so is fairly easy to do.
- You miscalculated your gauge: Your pullover at this point is a little smaller than anticipated. You can cast on additional stitches to add body width plus the amount of ease you wanted, as you cast on at each underarm. If your sweater is too big at this point, sorry you’re going to have to rip back several rounds before you cast on for the underarms.
- Yoke is getting too long: Your pullover yoke is already level with your underarm so you don’t want to work any more increase rounds to get to your total number of stitches at the bottom of the yoke. You can cast on the extra Body stitches needed to get to the correct number of stitches at the Bottom of the Yoke at the underarms (divided between the two underarms) along with the amount of ease you want.
- You want Negative Ease: Work until at the Bottom of the Yoke your sweater is the number of inches of negative ease you want plus extra 1″ smaller. Then cast on 1/2″ worth of stitches at each underarm. For example, if you want 2″ of negative ease then knit until your Yoke is 3″ smaller than your Actual Bust Measurement (2″ negative ease + 1″ smaller). Cast On 1/2″ worth of stitches at each underarm. This will make your sweater come out to the amount of negative ease you wish plus add a little ease to your sleeves.
- Extra Bust Width: You want to add some extra width to the Front only. Take your Total Sweater Ease at the Bust – Ease added on the Front only = cast on the underarms, divided between the two underarms. For example: Total Sweater Ease at bust is 5″ – 2″ added to the Front only = 3″ ease to Body at the underarm (1.5″ cast on at each underarm).
You might guess what I did. Give up? Yes, I added extra ease across the Front only. We’ll get into that next.
Cheers and stay safe and well, Deb
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