In the Meet the Panel post, Jaime mentioned she’s deliberately knitting Amanda at a different gauge than written. Today for the #fringeandfriendsknitalong, she shows us how she plans to make that work. This is the kind of stuff I totally nerded out on when I was first learning to knit, finding it so liberating and inspiring, so thank you Jaime!
I knit a lot of sweaters. I love knitting sweaters and I love wearing sweaters. I don’t always follow instructions very well though, which leads me to the predicament I’m in now where I’m re-working this pattern to work with my gauge. There are a couple of reasons that I might choose to do this. There have been times in the past where I just couldn’t get gauge (I’m a loose knitter so sometimes, no matter how small a needle I go down to, I just can’t get gauge with a yarn.) This was the case with a Quince Sparrow sweater I made this spring. The 100% linen just kept growing and I couldn’t make the fabric tight enough no matter how small I went down (this also probably has something to do with the fact that I always knit on slick, metal Addis). In the case of my Amanda sweater, I was able to get gauge with my Heirloom Romney, but the fabric of my swatch felt too dense so I chose to go up a needle size to get the fabric I want. Now I have to re-work some numbers to make sure my sweater will still fit.
If I was making a bigger size of the Amanda, I would most likely just knit a size smaller than my actual size and do the math to make sure it will work, but in this case, I’m already knitting the smallest size — the 33″ bust — so I’m going to have to work with a smaller stitch count to make my gauge work in my desired fabric. I knit two swatches, one for each of the sections where gauge is given in the pattern, so a honeycomb and a diamond. [See Kate's swatch tutorial.] Here is my gauge:
16 sts = 3 1/2″ in honeycomb stitch
13 sts = 3″ in diamond cable
It’s math time!!
Looking at the back panel of the sweater for my size 33, there are a total of 102 stitches on the needle and the finished back should measure 16.5″. There are two panels of honeycomb that are 24 sts each on either side, plus the two diamonds, each 13 sts, as well as a 6-stitch center braid. There are also a total of 20 sts framing the diamonds. In order to keep the sweater looking as intended, I’m going to keep the diamonds themselves and center braid as is. This means I have the side panels of honeycomb to play with (must be in multiple of 4) as well as the 20 extra reverse-stockinette stitches.
My gauge: 2 diamonds at 6″ + center braid at 2.25″ = 8.25″
If I just have 16 sts on either side for my honeycomb, I will have 3.5″ per side. 3.5 + 3.5 + 8.25 = 15.25″. I’m almost there for my 16.5″ total with 20 other stitches to account for. This is where I just get creative and hope for the best. I’m going to take out one stitch on either side of the slipped stitches on the back which takes out a total of 8 sts from the 20. I went ahead and swatched this pattern in my diamond swatch and my total for this is 3.75″. So for the back I have:
2 side honeycombs at 3.5″ each (16 sts each) = 7″
2 diamonds with framing sts at 3.75″ (19 sts each) = 7.5″
Braid at 2.25″ (6 sts)
Total = 16.75″
My stitch count for this is 76 stitches + 1 selvedge stitch at each end (so 2 total) = 78 sts.
This will work! I’m happy with this extra 1/4″ as my bust is actually 34″ so I will just have a bit less negative ease, which will be fine. I’m going to use this same formula to figure out my sleeves and front panels to match the back. Since they all use the same basic charts, this part is easy.
One more thing: I didn’t address the row gauge at all. Since my yarn does not grow very much I’m going to just measure as I go and knit to the length I want to wear it. There’s going to be a lot of trying on as I knit this.
There are still unknowns: Will I still like the look of the sweater with so many fewer honeycombs? How will I do the raglan decreases? These questions I will answer as I go, so there may be frogging — we’ll see. I am confident, though, in my math. If you’re swatching properly and doing math, it won’t lie. I will have a sweater that is about 33.5″ in the bust in a fabric that I like that isn’t too dense, and this makes me happy! I am super laid back about knitting sweaters — if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just pull back and start again. It’s just knitting and it’s fun! My back-up plan if this is a fail: just knit the sweater as written in the correct gauge. I’m sure I will still wear it even if it makes me sweat a bit :)
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Thanks again, Jaime!
Happy knitting, measuring, calculating and whatever else you may be doing this weekend, everyone. I’ll be eagerly watching that #fringeandfriendsknitalong hashtag on Instagram and elsewhere. We’ll be back on Monday to cast on, and I’ll have some big PRIZE news for you then, too!
PREVIOUSLY in #fringeandfriendsknitalong: Annotate your charts!