Easy Ease with Alicia Plummer on
Pattern: Portside by Alicia Plummer || Image Src: PostScriptLove
i'm so excited to have one of my fave knitting designer pals on the blog today for our summer sweater knit along! the lovely, talented and oh so funny alicia plummer of two little plums is here with us today talking about all things ease. i know a lot of you are always chatting about ease. how much, how little, where, how it works, how to change it i thought it was fitting to have the designer of the sweater actually called "ease" (which is currently at the top of my "to make list") come and chat with us all about ease.

alicia's designs are so perfectly northeast cozy with modern lines. they are the sort of designs you will stop everything to knit and that you love to wear when you are done. true wardrobe staples with clean and comfy design aesthetics. i'm so lucky to know alicia as a friend as well as a designer and this girl has some mad skills people. she also sews! so make sure you pop by her blog or ravelry page and give her a nice warm hello!
Easy Ease with Alicia Plummer on
and now let's hear from alicia......

Ease. The word alone conjures up images of effortlessness, breezy weather, and relaxed emotions.

It sounds “easy”…(not in the negative connotation! Ha.) In the knitting world, however, it can cause a lot of anxiety and confusion for the knitter. How can something so simple sounding be so…so…frustrating?

Simply put, Ease is the difference in measurement from the finished garment to the wearer’s actual body.

Negative Ease is what you see when something appears “skin tight”, like many popular tank tops these days. Chances are, you have some layering tanks in your closet now. Curious? Take one out, lay it on the floor and measure across the body directly under the armpits. More than likely, it’s smaller than your chest circumference. Since it’s a knitted fabric, it stretches and gives where it needs to. Something from a less forgiving fabric like canvas or linen wouldn’t even fit over your head! Most knitted hats and fingerless mitt are written with negative ease so that they stay put! In this case, negative ease is necessary. My upcoming Thoroughbred mitts (shown at bottom of post) are written with just .5'' of negative ease, but they hug the hands nicely.
Easy Ease with Alicia Plummer on
Ease by Alicia Plummer
No ease is when the finished measurements are identical to your own. My version of Jane Richmond’s stunningly simple Oatmeal pullover is a good example of no ease.

Positive Ease, my personal favorite of the Eases, is larger around than the wearer’s measurements. I find it the most flattering because not every single aspect of your anatomy is on display, and I have parts that should be in baggier clothing (sigh. The mummy tummy). Positive ease does not necessarily mean you’ll look like you’re wearing a big potato sack. When I put a test call out on my sweaters, a lot of the time I hear testers say “I don’t want it to be too baggy. Can I modify it?” (we will get into modification in the next paragraph). Well, a lot of ease with the right shaping can be downright gorgeous.

My favorite sweater I’ve ever designed is Ease—I don’t think there’s a knitter out there who doesn’t look amazing in it! 

Ease has an intended 3’’ of positive ease at the bust, but less at the waist and hips. That gives it a slouchy yet flattering look. Portside, however, has almost no intended ease at the bust but increasing ease at the hips and waist. Heathered, by Melissa Schaschwary, has 3’’ of positive ease throughout—also flattering.
Easy Ease with Alicia Plummer on
But will it fit me? I’ve seen (and been!) a paralyzed knitter who is stuck trying to decide on a size. 

Because a knit fabric stretches, more than likely your sweater will fit unless your gauge is terribly wrong. (This has happened to me before. 31’’ bust for an 18m old child? No thanks. Lots of ripping there!) Modifying for intended ease is simpler than you think.

Easy Ease with Alicia Plummer on
Let’s say that there is a sweater you love with 2’’ of intended ease in a gauge of 5 sts to the inch and you’re a 33’’ bust, but the sweater is based on a 34’’ bust (so pattern garment 36’’ total, but you need 35’’ for the ideal fit). Your stitch count for the bust in pattern would be 36 x5, which is 180 sts. Simply take your gauge and multiply by your bust plus intended ease (so 33 plus 2, is 35). 35 x 5 is 175 sts. Work to that number instead of the number in the pattern. Schematic measurements are a great help when doing this. You can take the schematic and write down your numbers (with intended ease—don’t forget this step!) and multiply by gauge to determine your ideal stitch counts.

Easy Ease with Alicia Plummer on
Viola! Perfection!

In closing, ease of all types can be flattering depending on how it’s used. The thicker the yarn, the more ease you’ll want. Happy knitting! xoxo
Easy Ease with Alicia Plummer on
thank you so much for coming on today alicia! thank you for being a wonderful friend and for all the chuckles my cute little space bar you xoxoxo you know how much i adore you.

you guys can find all things alicia plummer on her ravelry page here or on her blog here.

what are your favorite tips about ease? any tricks you use to help keep it all straight? a fave sweater you love that plays with ease? come chat! i can't wait to see how all of your projects are coming along!