Tomorrow, tomorrow! We’re excited to kick off our February Hold-Along tomorrow and hope you’re just as eager to join in. Last week, we talked about why double (triple, quadruple) stranding is awesome, so hopefully your imagination is running away with you on all the options you can try out. Have you made your Hold-Along plans yet?
Gauge for Pattern or Gauge for Yarn?
You might be concerned about gauge for your project when it comes to adding more/different yarns. Indeed, gauge is absolutely important to a well-fitted piece, but luckily, a bit of swatch play can help you visualize your finished piece and guide you toward the best needle/pattern options. Here are some tips on how to choose the best options for your double strands:
- If you are intent on a specific combination of yarns, work up some swatches in a variety of needle sizes. Once you’ve washed and blocked, choose the fabric that you like the best and then hit up the pattern stores for one that suits the gauge and drape of it.
- If you are intent on a specific pattern, then you’ll want to be a little more discerning in your yarn selection. Consider the gauge and drape and choose a combination of yarns that gets you as close as possible. For example, if you have your eye on the Flannery sweater pattern, worked in a worsted-weight Superwash Wool, you might opt for two strands of fingering-weight yarn in a wool blend, so that you can achieve a similar gauge and structure. Of course, you can also try a DK-weight wool with a softer cashmere lace-weight to add a little more drape without losing shape.
It all comes down to being willing to swatch and experiment.
Gauge to Fit
Sometimes, it’s really hard to get close to the gauge you need for the pattern you want. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still work the pattern. It just means you might have to make some mathematical adjustments.
- If the pattern has schematics, use those measurements to recalculate your stitches and rows. For example, 10 inches x 5 stitches per inch = 50 stitches to work. Or 20 inches x 8 rows per inch = 160 rows to work.
- If you’re working from the pattern stitch counts, then you’ll figure out the initial measurement before adjusting for yours. For example, if the pattern wants you to cast on 60 stitches with a gauge of 4 stitches per inch, then 60 / 4 = 15 inches. 15 inches x YOUR gauge (let’s say 5 stitches per inch) = 75 stitches to cast on instead. Or, if the pattern wants you to work 20 rows at a gauge of 6 rows per inch, but your row gauge is 7 rows per inches, you’ll do the math the same way: 20 / 6 = 3.33 inches. 3.33 inches x 7 rows per inch = 23 rows (or 24 rounded up to next even number). You’ll work that math throughout the pattern.
Extra Math Trick
Occasionally, you might need to re-work shaping rows, such as armhole decreases. The math is a lot simpler than you’d think. First, write down the number of rows to work as A and the number of decreases/increases needed on one side of the piece for B. For my example, I’ll say I need to go from 80 stitches to 66 stitches. 80-66 = 14 decreases total, 7 decreases on each edge.
A = 80, B = 7
- A / B = unadjusted rate.
80 / 7 = 11.4
If the result is an even number, then you can stop the math and just work a single inc/dec at each edge for every number of rows you got out of this equation. Ie: 20 / 4 = 5, so increase every 5 rows 4 times).
- Write down the rounded down to a Lower Even Number and then the next Higher Even Number. So, for our example, 11.4, I’ll write down 10 (Lower Even Number) and 12 (Higher Even Number). If it was 2.4, I’d write down 2 and 4.
- First Inc/Dec Segment: [(B x Higher Even Number) – A] / 2 = number of times to inc/dec every Lower Even Number
[(7 x 12) – 80] / 2 = 2, so “Dec every 10 rows 2 times.”
- Second Inc/Dec Segment: B – Step 3 = number of times to inc/dec every Higher Even Number
7 – 2 = 5, so “Dec every 12 rows 5 times.”
If a sweater is in your Hold-Along plans, then guess what?! I went ahead and updated our Flannery Sweater pattern with a handy-dandy little spreadsheet (on Google Sheets) that will enable you to plug in your stitch and row gauge, along with your own measurements, to get completely customized stitch and row counts for the pattern. It’s the perfect oversized, cozy sweater.
All you have to do is buy Flannery and click the “Customized Your Sweater” link and that’ll take you to the spreadsheet. Copy it over to your own Google Drive and you’ll be able to use it over and over again (without having to do any math).
AND, to make it even easier, you can get Flannery for 20% off! From today through February 14, use code HOLDALONGSWEATER at checkout for the discount.
Psst… check back on February 1 for the gift Hold-Along Giveaway!
Tabetha’s Hold-Along Plan
After much thought (and now that I’m finally finished with a bunch of work knitting), I’ve decided what I want to make. I rummaged through my yarn closet and came out with two skeins of Merino Silk Lace and two skeins of this unknown origin grey lace and I’m going to combine all three for a version of Summer in Provence.
I really want something light and airy for the upcoming spring and it has been SO LONG since I’ve treated myself to a personal knit. This calls to me.
One of the yarns is special, too. On my first visit to the studio here in Canada, Charlotte taught me (and Brigid) how to dye and the variegated purple is the result of that lesson. I can’t wait to use it!
I haven’t swatched yet (will be doing that tonight/tomorrow), but I’m thinking the grey will soften the purples into a lovely, wearable, watercolour-like tone. We’ll find out!
Have you decided on your Hold-Along project? Share it with us here in the comments below, or over in our Discord channel, or in the School Hold-Along group. Can’t wait to cast on with you!