Adventures in knitting math

I finally sat down and finished my second Katie’s Kep. This is the free (for now, until the next Shetland Wool Week pattern is released later this month) pattern by Wilma Malcomsen for Shetland Wool Week. I reduced the stitch count by 15%, one 24 stitch repeat, and it came out to 19.75” unblocked (above). After wet blocking, it’s a perfect 20”, or 85% the width of my first hat. My first hat was a great big gauge swatch!

The first one was 23” after blocking. I gave it to a friend for her birthday, so that worked out perfectly. The second one is the lower one in the picture. On to the next project!

And what was that blue swatch in the first picture? I had a ball of Juniper Farms Zooey, and I wanted to see if it would work for Casapinka’s The Birdwatcher sweater that I posted before. Yes, it could knit to gauge. No, I didn’t like the fabric; it was going to be denser than I wanted for this easy breezy top.

So Rio Calina did get frogged. I had knit about 12” before losing interest. Frogging 2 strands held together and rewinding is a bit of a pain, but it got done.

After frogging, I have 2 100g balls that are 357 yards each. The Birdwatcher pattern calls for 2 400 yard balls. Hmmm. The pattern calls for knitting 12” to the armhole, and it’s about 20” tall overall. My cropped sweaters are usually 9” to the armhole. The missing 3” would be about 15% of the total sweater; backwards that means that my sweater would be 85% of the required yardage. 85% of 400 is 340; my skens are 357…so close. Should I?

Well, it would be an adventure. Adding to the adventure is that the two balls are slightly different in color, so I want to alternate balls every other round. Why not every round? Because it’s worked in the round bottom up to the armhole, and then splits to work flat. I’d be changing every other row at that point, not every row, so it makes sense. I think.

One more piece of adventure: I didn’t really swatch. I cast on to see how I’d feel about that every other round change, knit 10 rounds, and found that I had twisted at the join. Even though I checked 3 times! Ugh. When I took it off the needles, I found that it was a little small (pretty lazy gauge swatch) so I cast on again with a larger needle, and metal instead of wood to make it even looser. We’ll see what size that ends up being in a bit. As you know, I don’t mind ripping things out.

Do as I say, not as I do! A sweater should really have a reasonable gauge swatch, if fit is an issue. But this sweater is meant to be worn with 4-6” of ease, so fit isn’t too critical. As long as it’s not too small, it should be okay. The complicating factor is my limited yardage. But I’ll keep playing with this until I figure out what my next design project is. I think better when my hands are busy!

I say I don’t do math, but it appears that I do…

Knit on!

8 responses to “Adventures in knitting math

  1. I love how you ‘did the math’ and shared it with us! As a continuing beginner this is as helpful for me as in-shop knit night. Thanks. Cindy

  2. It most certainly does !!
    Firstly, I’d love to see a shot of you in the Kep, Michele: your hair is cut so well and those little fitting caps look so good on you !! 😀
    Secondly, I’m not surprised you lost interest in the Rio Calina: that kind of ‘play it by ear’ knitting just ain’t you ! – I mean, you’re a person who does the math, after all !! [grin]
    And thirdly, yes you should !

    • My hair is currently too short to look good under a kep! It looks like I don’t have any hair. Maybe I should grow it out longer…

      Rio Calina had its moment; it was more about honoring Cat Bordhi than about my interest in actually finishing it. Now the yarn is still being pretty improvisational: A figure it out as you go knit, full of “let’s see what happens.” Is there enough yarn? Will it be the right size? Why didn’t I do a proper gauge swatch? As long as I’m willing to accept the consequences, it’s all good. Kind of like the 11,000 stitches I ripped out when starting my Cherry Blossom/Log Cabin wrap.

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  3. Catherine Chandler

    I hope you don’t mind me saying but when I knitted my first gansey about 4 years ago, a professional knitter for the same company I knitted it for gave me a tip that I will never forget! She said to work the first round flat and then on the next round, create the join. Just that one row cast on and not trying to join it up works an absolute treat. It means sewing in the end of course and that is when you can create the closure but it is so worth it rather than getting that inadvertent twist 🙂

    • Ha! I used to always start my circular knitting this way! But I’ve been doing it right after the cast on most recently, because I’ve been doing a lot of hats and cowls with worsted weight yarn, and twisting hasn’t been an issue with fewer stitches and big yarn.

      I did think about which edge I wanted to be my RS, and the long tail cast on means that if I knit back the first row before joining, the purl side of my cast on would be the RS, and I didn’t want that. So off I went…with a twist!

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  4. Michele I love the color of that top you’re knitting! I knit a cardigan in a similar color a year ago and I love it so much. It’s a color that makes me happy.
    Also- yes, knit it. If you run out, you can have impromptu color blocking- maybe a neon pink for an 80’s vibe or another blue, or, well, the options are end less and that would be a fun save. Maybe even do the color lock on the back only? In any case, you probably won’t even need to, but that would be awesome too if you had to.

    • Color blocking is a great idea, just in case! I have some off-white with blue speckles leftover, that I bought with this yarn. I used most of it with a darker for my Knit Picks version of my Half the Knit Sky, but it would work here, too. Hope I don’t have to, but we shall see. Thanks for the idea!

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