If you are a knitter who has math phobia, you have the destroyed sweaters to prove it. One was the wrong size, another the wrong fit, and the other one went out before finishing. Sounds familiar? What you need is a math monkey to help you with arithmetic. Or a way to make math easier.
Try some math "light" in the form of EPS.
EPS stands for Elizabeth's Percentage System. This invention or "invention" of Elizabeth Zimmerman, the mother of all knitters, helps anyone to make a sweater that fits - even without a pattern! With EPS, you get a series of measurements that work together in a well proportioned raglan or drop shoulder pullover.
Is there math in there?
Just enough, not too much. Can you measure over the chest of the pullover that you love and often wear? Yes? Can you knit a color swatch with your new yarn and needles and then measure how many stitches you receive per inch? Yes?
Congratulations, you have done the key work.
The number of stitches you need for the chest of your sweater is the key. How do you get that done? For example, if your favorite jumper measures 42 inches and your pattern has five stitches per inch, multiply 42 times 5 with your trusted calculator.
This breast number is your magic key.
Every other part of your pullover is a percentage of that key number. When you knit your sweater with rib-knit cuffs, 90% of the 210 most important stitches are knitted. If you punch 210 times 90% or 90 in your calculator, you will get 189 tricks. This works for 1-by-1 ribs, but if you want 2-by-2 ribs, you can hit 188 or 190 as you like.
If you're putting on sleeves, use 20% or 25% of the key number, depending on whether you want ribs or not. They increase the sleeve width at the upper arm to 35%.
They are almost done, only two measurements left.
Your neck opening width is 50% of your key measurement and the depth of your neck opening is 10%. When knitting your raglan sweater round-top or bottom-up, there are no seams except for small 8% slits on the forearms. When you do the knitting, you're pretty much done!
And this sweater will fit you exactly as you like it best.
Thank you, Elizabeth Zimmerman, for your EPS knitting mathematics "light". They unleashed the knitting genius in all of us, even mathematics challenged us.