I don’t normally blog about my woolly makes, largely because I don’t read them therefore assume nobody else would want to read mine. However, when debating what size Humulus to cast on I found myself searching for reviews and finding none, so here’s my contribution to the greater good.
If you’re got this far you’ve probably either decided to or are seriously considering making Isabell Kraemer’s Humulus sweater.** Fantastic choice, you won’t regret it (and if you’re still on the fence jump off it and join us, the view is fab on this side). I enjoyed every single stitch of mine, even the normally eternally everlasting second sleeve, and resented the blocking time preventing it from getting on my back. It’s an utterly inspired pattern fast on it’s way to rivalling the find your fade shawl in the annals of knitting history.
But what size to make? Well that’s the question… my previous sweater experiments had all been fitted ones so choose a sensible but not excessive amount of negative ease and you’re pretty safe. Positive ease was a new territory for me.
I loved the look of the version in the designer’s pics (you know, the lovely yellow motif) which the pattern claimed was a small with 6 inches positive ease at the bust. Marvellous, let’s go for that then.
Only problem – I have a 38 inch bust. Which meant I could either choose the M1 size (42 inches finished bust circumference) and have 4 inches positive ease or the M2 size (45.25 inches finished bust circumference) and have over 7 inches positive ease. Neither of which was the 6 the designer got. Hmm.
And then with my sewing head on I was thinking “where are the waist and hip measurements”? I had to read the pattern to find out that after the increase from the neck through the yoke to the bust, there were no further increases or decreases. In other words, it was straight down from the bust and the bust measurement was the same as the hip measurement.
And now I’m going to share a shameful secret with you, I have a Tummy. I’d love to be able to claim I’m big hipped because I think a beautiful curvaceous figure in jumper and jeans is a fabulous look, but alas I’m slim hipped with a protusion on the front. Which an unfortunately sized jumper will basically cling to and might as well have a sign on saying “look at the cake compartment here”!
So would 4 inches of positive ease at the bust be enough to skim the Tum? Maybe, maybe not. But would 7 inches of positive ease at the bust look excessively baggy? That was my dilemna and what sent me to the internet searching for fellow knitters sage advice. I found almost none, except for the very talented and kind kimmakesstuff, who didn’t take offence at a complete stranger from across the pond asking for her body measurements and shared the magic of her ease.
By now you’re probably all agog to find out which size I chose…. drum roll please…. I went for the M2! I didn’t want to risk spending a month making a jumper I was already in love with only to find it was too small. And herein lies the big difference between knitting and sewing – in sewing it’s totally accepted practice to fiddle about with the size and have a couple of goes before you get it right, in knitting you’ll lose a year of your life, get sick of the sight of the thing and throw it out in the window if you have to do all that to get it to fit.
So I opted for baggy. And I love it! It’s nicely oversized, without looking like I’ve nicked it from my husband. Perfect for heading out on country walks, as demonstrated by my windswept hair in the pics. But now I’m thinking a fitted one for smarter occasions might be quite nice too… so I may have just ordered the wool to make another one in the M1 size after all…. 😉
** Editor’s note. I’m a good Brit, so have only referred to this as a sweater once in recognition of the fact that the name of the pattern is the “Humulus Sweater”. However from thereon I’m sticking to the fact that this is a quintessential woolly jumper and anybody who disagrees with me can stick it up their jumper. Or just mentally substitute the word sweater in and ignore me. 🙂
P.S. Since I’m going to all the effort of writing a knitting blog, I might as well throw in some technical details too. The pattern leaves the choice of cast on and off to you. I used the backwards loop cast on for the neckline but wish I’d used a tighter one so will next time. I then used Jeni’s surprisingly stretchy cast off for the sleeves and bottom edge, which is lovely on the sleeve cuffs but again I wish I’d used something a bit tighter on the bottom edge. The yarn is Snaeldan 4 ply from lainedesisles.com and was beautiful to knit with then softened wonderfully after blocking with Eucalan. Hope this helps!