How to Measure Knitting Length + Video

Knitting Tip: How to Measure Knitting Length

If you’ve knitted scarves and shawls, the knitting length isn’t vitally important. However, once you begin to move on to sweaters, socks, hats, and mittens, measuring the length of your project becomes very important.

In this post, I’ll show you how to properly measure knitting length so your finished garment or project fits properly and has the desired outcome.

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Do you count the knitting needle in your measurement?

Do you hold the knitting up to measure or place it on your lap?

Is it really important to measure or should you just eyeball it?

I’ll answer all of these questions and more.

I’ve also included some related questions at the bottom so be sure to read all the way to the end.

This post is about measuring your knitting while working on a project and it is still on the needles. If you want to learn how to measure knitting gauge, check out these posts How to Get Perfect Knitting Gauge and What’s the Deal with Row Gauge? to measure gauge (in any direction) like a pro!

When to Measure Knitting Length

If you are following a knitting pattern, it might instruct you to “measure length from the beginning” or “when panel measures 4.5 inches” or “knit for 12 inches”.

This is when it is important for you to properly measure your project so that it turns out as intended. Eyeballing it and guessing at the length will not give you the results you want.

When measuring the knitting height, your project is still on the needles so let’s talk about how to do that.

How to Measure Knitting While on the Needles

  1. Lay knitting on a flat surface such as a table table or on the floor (not on your lap).

  2. Gently smooth out the garment but do not stretch or pull it.

  3. Do not hold up your knitting to measure. The weight of the knitting will stretch the piece and not provide and accurate read.

  4. Using a flexible measuring tape, find the center of the garment.

  5. Place the zero marker of the measuring tape just below the knitting needle (shown image below, left) and extend it straight down to the end of the panel (image below, right).

  6. Measure and write down your measurement.

Additional Notes On Measuring Length

Be sure to always measure using the same system. For example, if you are knitting a sweater and you measured the Back in inches, do not measure the Front in centimeters. You want an accurate and consistent measurement every time to insure the pieces will line up properly when seamed.

If the garment has shaping such as curves for armhole openings, do not follow the curves. Measure at the straightest point of the garment.

Related Questions

When Measuring Length of Knitting, Should I Allow for Blocking?

Sometimes a pattern will include a gauge after the swatch has been blocked. So, does this mean you should allow for blocking when measuring the actual project?

The answer is no. You should not allow for blocking when measuring the garment in progress. Just, lay the project on a flat surface and measure as noted in the instructions above.

How to Measure Width in Knitting?

If you are knitting a sweater, you may also want to check your width measurement to make sure that the project is working up as intended.

Here’s a step-by-step of how to measure width.

  1. Lay knitting on a flat surface such as a table table or on the floor (not on your lap).

  2. Gently smooth out the garment but do not stretch or pull it.

  3. For an accurate measurement, place the ruler near center of the garment, not near the knitting needles or near the bottom edge. For example, if the project has a ribbed edge, you don’t want to measure near it.

  4. Starting at the center, stretch your measuring tape outward towards the sides of the project, carefully unrolling any curled edges as you go. Curled edges are a normal occurrence with stockinette stitch, so you need to unroll to get an accurate measurement.

  5. Measure and write down your measurement.

How to Measure Knitting Width

In case you are wondering what I’m knitting, it’s a cute little mamma and baby monster stuffed animal. The mamma has a pocket on the front to hold the baby. Here’s a link to it: Danger Crafts Daphne & Delilah Knitting Pattern.