I rang in the New Year with a group of knitters and friends in Toronto, and stayed over chez fellow knitter Emily for a leisurely start to the day. She is embarking on an ambitious “12 in 2012” project, whereby she will knit 12 sweaters in 2012. I’ve heard of other knitters doing this and picking 12 of anything they like, as a goal for the year. I don’t know if I’ll jump in, though I will say I’m tempted to go for 12 socks – just as a way to keep myself going on some basic sock projects throughout the year. I always seem to want more basic ribbed socks or Jaywalkers to add to the drawer.


It is a good time to stop and get set for the year ahead in any case, and I helped out Emily by taking her measurements so she was off and running for her sweater project (it usually helps if you’re making sweaters that have some relation to the size and shape of your body). It’s always easier to do that sort of thing with help, and it occurred to me too late that, dangit, I should have had her take my measurements, too.

So this is my friendly recommendations to you, dear knitting friends: Treat yourself to a few minutes with the measuring tape. Know your key measurements – not just bust and hip circumference, but cross-the-shoulder, head circumference, foot circumference, hand circumference, and so forth. You might be surprised to discover that some of the measurements are different than they were last year. (Likely not your head or feet, though. Heh.) The best way to help yourself knit for yourself in the coming year is to have a good sense of what size and shape these garments need to be. Since it’s the New Year, of course, you may well be resolving to change the size of some parts of your body, but even if this is the case, it’s good to know where you’re starting from so that you can see these changes take shape. (As one how-to example, Sandi Wiseheart at Knitting Daily has a few tips on measuring, with photos included.)

And the best part is: the measuring tape has never heard of dress sizes. How fantastic is that?

On the other hand, if anyone has seen any of the 50 or so dozen other tape measures I am pretty sure I own, please let me know. I’m not sure what they’re up to.

Happy New Year of Knitting!



  1. Great advice! I think the idea of making 12 sweaters is ambitious – but doable as long as she knows what she wants to make and as long as each one isn’t intarsia / cabled / lacework 🙂

  2. I think your 50 tape measures eloped with my 50 tape measures. They’re probably off on an exotic vacation in the Carribbean. If that’s the case, I envy them!
    Happy New Year to you, and I look forward to reading about all your knitting adventures in the coming months!
    p.s. I don’t like committing to anything like 12 fill-in-the-blank in 12 months. My knitting whims change by the minute. I cast on for whatever I feel like, and it seems to work out! As long as I’m knitting, I’m happy. For example, I just bought some Mirasol something-or-other on sale the other day to make your Frostbite set…looking forward to getting started on that 🙂

  3. I’m doing Year in Color by TFA. This is 6 one-skein projects in the year. I look forward to see how I’ll. I’m a rather slow knitter! 12 sweaters in 12 months, that would be impossible for me (unless I take a sabbatic!) I hope to make one though. So, I’ll take a few measurements for sure. I think that a fitting sweater is quite a challenge! Happy New Year!

  4. I tried doing 12 pairs of socks in 12 months in 2011. I made it to March. lol I hope you have better luck!
    Knowing all your measurements is a great thing to have. I try to measure myself every 6 months or so, and the kids every 3 months.

  5. I’m also on the 12 sweaters journey. I’ve taken the basic measurements but I should take more detailed ones too.

  6. Happy New Year! 🙂

  7. I started knitting about last August or so (and it’s still obvious) and I made myself a little knitting challenge. I have to knit (or crochet) one large project or two small projects each month. I’m doing this so that way I’ll remember what I’m learning, and I’ll stick with it. Luckily my cousin is having a birthday this month, so I’m inspired and off to a good start! (Once I figure out what to make!) 🙂

  8. I must remember to measure myself…..may have to take some sort of drug beforehand to calm my nerves. This also assumes that my tape measure has returned from the Carribbean….. 12 sweaters in 12 months!!! Wow! That’s some challenge. The most I’ve managed is 5 in 12 and that was when I was a student….possibly why I failed my exams but at least I looked great whilst I was failing!!! Happy New Year! xxx

  9. wow, 12 sweaters that are adult sized in 12 months is an aggressive goal! She must be quite the speedy knitter. Good for her.

  10. Funny how those tape measures seem to disappear when you want them.

  11. The thought of 12 sweaters in 12 months makes my hands and shoulders ache. Good luck to her, though. I’d be way more comfortable making 12 pairs of socks. And maybe I will.

  12. Phyllis L. · ·

    Bad news–your feet do change sizes! Two things which seem to affect this are pregnancy and/or advancing age–after you have been standing on them for several decades they can kind of collapse on you! Of course you may have already been aware of this when you had to buy new shoes in a larger size. And it is possible your head size may vary if your hair has thinned out, though it probably won’t be as noticable as your feet. BTW, I am going with 12 pairs of socks for my NY resolution.

  13. Oh my, 12 sweaters in one year. Geesh, it takes me three weeks to knit a hat. Good luck to her! Though I do think that the socks would be the way to go, lol.

    I believe that there is a special hiding space that tape measures go. The only way I can keep one is to make myself put it in a bag in my knitting bag. Otherwise they are like those missing socks from the dryer, lol.

  14. It was such fun ringing in the new year with you! Glad you made the trip. And the videos were awesome too. Hammer time.

  15. Happy New Year! The only knitting goals I’m going with this year is knitting from stash, designing a few more patterns, and finishing some lingering WIP’s.

    Maybe I’ll find a few more my tape measures as I dig through things. Maybe they’re partying it up with yours.

  16. I soooo get you on the missing measuring tapes! I am always losing mine! Fortunately, I’ve got a backup that never seems to disappear…a cheaply made one that came in a child’s kit for my daughter. Not the best, but it works.

    Love the blog! Happy Knitting.

  17. Some crazy ravellers knit 26 pairs of socks last year (patterns starting with each letter from a-z)! They’re going to do it again this year I think.

  18. It’s a good idea to make sure the garment is a little bigger than you measure as when you go for a smaller size it makes the garment pull in the wrong places but if it is a larger size it has the ability to make you feel thinner. Have you visited our website We have lots of free patterns and yarns that are exclusive to us!

  19. oooh…a sweater….that’s sort of the final frontier of knitting for me. I”m learning socks now, and then….then, I ‘ll attempt a (gulp) sweater!

  20. Meredith MC · ·

    When I saw the title of your post, I thought you were writing about bras. Happy sock knitting.

  21. Really great advice. I have been using the EPS with measurements of my favorite sweater, but there are times when I really need to know hat, hand, etc. Thanks for the reminder. I am going to try to stick with selfish knitting, already a challenge!

  22. You left your “Gauge Rage-o-Meter” at our house. I’ll bring it next time I see you. (Um, am lying, but you need one of our tape measures anyway)

  23. I don’t know about your tape measures, but I’m sure my cats have made off with my favorite point protectors. I usually find their stash when I get motivated enough to vacuum behind the sofa and bookcases.

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