A Re-Blog On How To Measure Knitting Length

I’m surprised and delighted at the popularity of my post “How To Measure Knitting Length”. I thought I would re-blog an edited version of it.

Firstly, please use a flexible, undamaged tape measure, not a ruler. Be consistent throughout your project, by using either the metric or imperial system; don’t measure a garment back in centimeters and the front in inches or you will end up with pieces that don’t match when seaming. There is a small difference between the two systems, but it will affect your measurements and row counts.

Conversion Factors

  • inches (in) x 2.5 = centimeters (cm)
  • yards (yds) x 0.9 = meters (m)
  • ounces (oz) x 28 = grams (g)
  • centimeters (cm) x 0.4 = inches (in)
  • meters (m) x 1.1 = yards (yds)
  • grams (g) x 0.035 = ounces (oz)

(A typical 50g ball of yarn equals 1 3/4 ounces and 100g ball equals 3.5 ounces)

To measure knitting length on a straight needle, lay the piece on a flat surface, a low pile carpet, ironing board or blocking board. Don’t place on a smooth, slippery surface, such as a wood table top, and definitely not on your lap. These surfaces will give inaccurate measurements. Without stretching the piece, smooth the surface, trying to evenly space the stitches around the center area of the needle, particularly if there are lots of stitches. This is easy to do  with small pieces, like a baby sweater, or as in the image below. A fully ribbed item is a little tricky to measure because of its elasticity; stretch a little to reveal pattern, unless the instructions indicate otherwise. Place the tape measure at the centre of the work, from the base of the knitting needle to the bottom edge.

Measuring Knitting Length
Measuring Knitting Length

To measure a shaped area such as an armhole, measure perpendicular to the bottom edge, lining the tape from the base of the needle to the first bound off row of the armhole. When measuring the length of the sleeve, always measure from the center at the base of the needle to the lower edge. Do not follow along any slanted or shaped edge, as this will result in an erroneous measurement – armholes too shallow and sleeves too short.

Measuring Armhole
Measuring Armhole

Tip: I like to write down my lower border measurements, and then I subtract this from the total measurement of the piece, in order to figure out row counts. This way, all the borders will be exactly the same. Another reason for recording this measurement is borders are often done on smaller needles, so the length will be slightly smaller than the gauge for the body of the piece.

Measuring knitting length when working in the round is tricky. What I do is smooth out the knitted fabric hanging from a circular needle, and not from the flexible wire, on a flat surface, as for straight needles. Again measure from the base of the centre of needle to the lower edge. With double pointed needles, place one of the needles with stitches over top other needles and smooth out the work into shape. Place the tape measure from the centre of needle to edge of the area you’re measuring, as in measuring foot of sock to back of heel. Remember when your gauge is accurate, measuring confirms those numbers.

Getting Ready To Measure Foot Length
Getting Ready To Measure Foot Length

I hope this helps you to measure more accurately.

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