As of the Winter 2019 issue, we require all garments to be sized from XS to 5X for women's designs and S to 5X for men's, following the appropriate Craft Yarn Council chart. Note that there are separate charts for women, men and children.
The CYC charts provide a general overview for things like bust size and body length; designer Ysolda Teague has a very helpful sizing chart that fills in some of the gaps in the CYC sizing. Please refer to it as necessary.
Please pay particular attention to fit as you grade the sizes upwards, and note any possible pattern adjustment recommendations such as bust darts in the Pattern Notes section. Patterns must be graded to the Knitty size range by the designer before submission.
Helpful links for those new to grading patterns:
(thanks to the brilliant Woolly Wormhead for this chart)
(the following is a distillation of this blog post)
(thanks to our own resident math genius, Managing Tech Editor Kate Atherley, for her research)
Note: foot circumference refers to measuring around the ball of the foot.
- In the vast majority of cases, ankle circumference is the same as the foot circumference. The foot circumference is either the same or larger (never smaller), and if larger only by about 5%.
- There is a remarkable correlation between foot length and foot circumference: foot circumference, on average is about 95% of foot length.
- Gusset circumference on average is larger than foot circumference by 10%.
- Heel diagonal is about 35% larger than foot circumference, 25% larger than gusset circumference.
- A standard human leg (if such a thing exists) does indeed get wider about 6 to 8 inches up from the top of the heel, where the calf muscles start to curve out – which is also the usual length of a sock leg. But the majority of calf-length sock patterns keep the sock circumference the same – that is, they are assuming that the sock leg doesn’t need any increases to fit comfortably below that calf curve. However, what I learned was that in nearly 50% of cases, there’s a significant increases in leg circumference just up from the ankle.
- Calf circumference 6 inches up from the ground: 12% larger on average but there was a huge variance – for some, up to twice to size. For 15% of respondents, it’s the same or smaller; 40% it’s 1-10% larger than ankle; for 30% it’s 10-20% larger; for 18% it’s even larger.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR SOCK PATTERNS
This particular data point was known to me before I started the survey: in fact, it was why I started the survey. Looking at men’s and women’s shoe sizes individually, the difference between the largest and smallest common sizes (e.g. women’s size 5 to 11 and men’s size 6 to 12), there’s a 25% difference in both length and foot circumference. That is, a women’s size 11 shoe is over 20% larger in both width and length than a women’s size 5 shoe; and the same difference exists for men’s size 12 compared against men’s size 6.
Although knit fabric does stretch, you can’t expect one size sock to fit that range of sizes with equal comfort, and to look equally good.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR SOCK KNITTERS
Rather remarkably, you can guess the rest of the foot measurements based on one: as long as you have foot length, ankle circumference or foot circumference, you’re good.
If you have the foot length:
Foot circumference, ankle circumference = foot length * 1.05.
Gusset circumference = foot length * 1.16
If you have the foot or ankle circumference:
Foot length = foot/ankle circumference * .95
Gusset circumference = foot/ankle circumference * 1.10
A sock is best worn with about 10% negative ease.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR SOCK DESIGNERS
- Socks should be sized!
- It is safe to assume that foot circumference = ankle circumference. You can also use foot circumference as rough guide for foot length, as in the formulas above.
- Design with a gusset or expanded heel for better fit: If you’re adding a gusset, make it at least 10% larger; if you’re working without a gusset, ensure the heel provides 25%-35% extra circumference.
- Allow for larger calves; consider providing suggestions on how to size for larger legs.
I have sliced it two ways: by foot length, reflecting how shoes are sized and how non-knitters tend to think of their feet, and by foot circumference, reflecting how knitters usually think of feet. The numbers are the average of the reported results.
Note: I’m not making any statement here about shoe size, as it’s not an absolute or reliable measurement: I found that for any given shoe size, the reported foot length varied by on average 13%. There several reasons for this: shoe size varies depending on manufacturer (I wear a size 6 in some brands, a 6.5 in others, and a 7 in some others); those with wider feet will more often choose a larger shoe size due to its added width (since relatively few shoe brands provide wide sizes), and shoe size will vary wildly from style to style, and whether a shoe is worn with socks (and handknit vs. storebought socks at that). Just because you buy a size 8 shoe doesn’t mean that you have a size 8 foot!