Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More on gauge & knitting another size: a very good question for a commenter

Following up on my last post about gauge and the perils of knitting another size...

In response to my points about the danger of having to add more increases to the sleeve, that it might make the sleeve too long, a commenter asks a reasonable question:
'With a few calculations, though, surely you could just knit the number of rows that would give you the correct length for the size you actually want?'
Absolutely, of course you can adjust the length of the sleeve. It's not that hard, relatively speaking, and knitters who are comfortable with the math do this all the time!

But my point was this: knitters often believe (hope?) that they can just work another size and have it magically work out, with no math at all. And as my example illustrates, and your question supports, this just isn't true.

Another reader has asked for some more basic guidance on checking gauge and counting - I'll post on this in the next day or two. Any other questions I can answer?


Natural fibre girl said...

If a knitter chooses a cabled kimono pattern and eliminates 3/4s of the cables all round - back, front, sleeve what is the impact to the pattern in doing so? Of course the yarn yardage will be different but what about the size of the kimono. How would one ensure the final size will be what they want?

Kate said...

Simple: swatch! Seriously, swatch in the cables and swatch in st st and compare the fabrics. Cables cause the fabric to pull in significantly.

Can you find a kimono that's unpatterned?

Blithe Spirit said...

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but can you always get gauge? I do swatch and will go up or down a needle size as required and swatch again. Here is my most comon problem - I'll get gauge horizontally, but not vertically and I never really know if that's okay to go ahead. It's never hugely off on the rows count, but as you point out, even a little bit off can make a difference. Any advice?

Carrie said...

(I'm no Kate, but will do my best :P)

Short answer, Blithe, is that it depends on the pattern. A shawl's shaping doesn't matter as much as the waist or sleeve shaping on a sweater.

If you're making a shaping-sensitive garment, read ahead in the pattern a bit for instructions. If it says to "work until piece measures x inches/cm" before shaping, row gauge shouldn't be a problem.

However, if it says to "increase X sts every Z rows", row gauge will matter just as much as stitch gauge. As Kate previously mentioned, you can do some calculations to make adjustments (best used if the difference is minor, so you don't end up with sleeves heavier than the body of your sweater.) I'm not sure how to explain those calculations in a succinct manner though, so hopefully Kate will explain in a future post. Hope this helps!

Kate said...

Carrie provided an excellent answer!

If truth be told, if you're within about 10-15% on row gauge, you'll be just fine. If you're off by more, then you will either need to consider doing some math, or changing yarns.