knitting, Holli Yeoh, design process

What is standard?

I’m very confused about standard sizes for kids’ sweater patterns. For my most recent design, I decided I would dutifully follow the recommendations by the Craft Yarn Council of America. Indie designers are definitely encouraged to follow the guidelines for their self-published patterns. When writing a pattern for other publications we are often referred to the CYCA yarn standards. In addition to information about needles and yarn, the CYCA offers standard body measurements and sizing charts.

Although I wanted to follow the CYCA standards, I also looked at other sources including Michelson and Davis and Ann Budd. My experience has been that even with the baby and toddler sizes, the sleeve length is always a little on the short side.

I finished sewing the sweater together and¬†popped it on Devan only to discover that the sleeves were short – WAY too short! Now my kid is pretty much average as far as size is concerned and in fact, I had added an extra inch to the sleeves beyond the CYCA standards already! I took my measuring tape to my son’s wardrobe. I decided I needed more data so I went to The Gap Kids with my trusty measuring tape and notebook. Amazingly, no one bothered me as I stood there measuring clothes and taking notes!


I came home, opened the seam, cut off the sleeves and reknit the first one adding another inch. There was quite a ridge where I rejoined the yarn, but I attributed it to the difference between blocked and unblocked knitting. But, next sleeve – no ridge. ARG! When I picked up the stitches I had used a smaller needle because it was easier. I forgot to switch needle sizes! Time to rip and reknit.


It looks much better now.