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Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Every now and then I get inquiries or see posts about modifying my Arguyle men's sweater (gansey) pattern. People seem to really like it (whee!), but they sometimes want to use a different yarn weight, or switch around which charts appear on the sweater from what the size they're working ask for, or...that kind of thing. I've read things like,
And I always get really nervous and want to immediately tell people, "WAIT! STOP RIGHT THERE!" Because Arguyle is one of those garments where the different elements come together all interconnectedly; so if you make adjustments in one direction, you have to make them in a bunch of other directions, too. Therefore, making adjustments is sort of fraught with risk.
So I thought I'd write a post out about it, so that anyone who's thinking of messing with it can go into it with a whole bunch of "inside information" and hopefully avoid the rather painful situation of doing a whole bunch of knitting that has to be frogged near the end because it didn't work the way they wanted it to.
Possibly the most important thing
First and foremost, I cannot stress enough that whether you're following the pattern completely faithfully or making serious modification to it, SWATCHING and WASHING THOSE SWATCHES and GETTING THE GAUGE YOU WANT ON YOUR WASHED SWATCHES is extremely crucial. Please don't skip that part. I know, I know, it's a real pain in the ass, and trust me, I'm just as guilty of saying 'to hell with swatching' and just getting on with the business of making something most of the time, but in this case, it's super-important. Honest. And if you need visual proof of why it's so important to WASH the swatch, check out the difference between the following two photographs...
Firstly, there's this, which hasn't been blocked yet - it looks very lumpy and will clearly get bigger after blocking:
And then there's this, which has been blocked - the fabric has been stretched and is much smoother:
Big difference. So wash and block those swatches.
And now, the nitty-gritty
There are a few things about the sweater that are quite easy to adjust:
That, however, is just about where the simplicity ends.
Let's say that you want to use a different weight of yarn. You could simply change needle size in order to get gauge - but (as with all knitting), this will affect the density of the fabric you knit. Using thinner yarn on a bigger needle may give you a fabric so thin that it's not warm enough for its purpose, or that it doesn't show the motifs very nicely. Using thicker yarn on a smaller needle may give you a fabric so thick that the sweater stands up by itself without anyone in it! So make sure that you use a combination of yarn and needle size that gives you a fabric you're happy with.
Once that's done, and you know your gauge, and if the gauge is different from what's specified in the pattern, it's time to start thinking about all the variables at play that you need to worry about in order to get the same measurements as given in the pattern schematic.
The upshot is that you'll have to regrade and redesign the majority of the darn thing. Sorry there's no easy fix for this! The whole thing is just that mathematically interdependent.
But let's say that you are willing to regrade, redesign, and/or shuffle the motifs around. In that case, you'll want to keep in mind some basic "ground rules" for putting the different charts together:
And there you have it. Go nuts!
The large size and the double-argyle motif
There's one more, very specific, modification that I want to discuss before I end this post, and that's the fact that there is no Chart F (that's the double argyle motif) used anywhere in the "large" size of the sweater. I've seen at least two people point out that this is a shame, and I have to admit, I agree with this sentiment completely. I love Chart F, and I tried super-hard to work it into every size, but simply couldn't figure out a way for it to be done in large.
One lovely person asked if they couldn't replace the "Chart A, K1, Chart A" combination in the centre front and back with "K3, Chart F, K3" or "K1, P1, K1, Chart F, K1, P1, K1", because it would still add up to 35 stitches. And unfortunately, the answer is no, because remember, it's not about number of stitches, but rather, overall width (47" in the case of the large size) when you put the combination together.
Here's how the body of the large size breaks down:
You can see that, given the "ground rules" for combining the charts that I mentioned earlier, the replacement of "Chart A, K1, Chart A" with "K3, Chart F, K3" or "K1, P1, K1, Chart F, K1, P1, K1" wouldn't work, because then you'd have a knit stitch right after finishing Chart C and right before starting a Chart B (which is against the "ground rules"). So you're sort of stuck with replacing "Chart A, K1, Chart A" with simply "Chart F", which really doesn't work, because "Chart A, K1, Chart A" is 5.75" wide and "Chart F" is only 4.5" wide. That's a difference of 1.25". That means you'd have to put something extra on each side of the Chart F that's 0.625" each.
What I did think might work was replacing "Chart A, K1, Chart A" with "P2, K1, Chart F, K1, P2". The extra P2s would throw off the consistency of the spacing between the charts a bit (which is probably why I didn't think of it originally), but if you don't mind that look, it could be a winning solution! Again - SWATCH FIRST if you're trying to do this. If it turns out too big, you might try substituting "P1, K1, Chart F, K1, P1" instead; if it turns out too small, you might try "P3, K1, Chart F, K1, P3" instead...you get the idea.
At last, the end of this post
Anyway, I know all that is very long and complicated, but I thought that, for those who want to forge ahead with significant changes to the sizing, all this extra info might be helpful.
Enjoy the knitting!
10:04 PM 0 comments
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I have an eBook!!!
This is 'Flip for the Next Feed', a collection of five double knitted (reversible) baby bibs, which are presented in the book in increasing order of intricacy. The collection starts with 'Zombaby':
A very straightforward bib in worsted weight yarn, with a zombie on the front and a severed finger on the back (yum).
Next is 'Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock':
Also straightforward, except with finer gauge (sportweight), which means more stitches. It's got the classic rock, paper, scissors, lizard and Spock hand positions on the front, and glasses on the back.
Things start getting more intricate with 'Pysanka', which was originally published in issue #24 of Knit Now:
This has designs on the shoulders as well as on the front and back, and has multiple motifs.
Then there's 'Feast Your Eyes':
This has no charts, but it does require changing yarn colours on a regular basis, as opposed to just using the same two yarns throughout the bib, as in all the other patterns.
And lastly, the collection finishes off with 'Double the Love':
This introduces double knitted cables - which honestly, are just the same as regular cables except that you alternate knitting and purling the cabled stitches instead of just knitting them all.
Instructions on the double knitting techniques used in the pattern are explained in the book.
It's my very first pattern collection and I'm really proud of it. :) If you like it too, you can go right ahead and...
7:30 PM 0 comments
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
It's my "Tracery" vest from Interweave's special issue, The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits. It's a design that I'm very proud of having thought up, but when I designed it, I didn't seriously think that a lot of people would actually make it, because although it's fairly simple stranded knitting with no yarn changes, it looks tremendously complicated and I thought it would scare a lot of people away.
To date, however, there are 51 projects for it on Ravelry! Many knitters are making, or have made, really beautiful vests. But I was surprised by the fact that many of those projects are not actually vests. Knitters have shown tremendous creativity in adapting the chart for their own fabulously diabolical purposes. And I really wanted to share them! (Although you'll have to follow the links to see what they look like, as I'm not sure of the legality of 'lifting' other people's photographs that they've uploaded to Ravelry. Trust me though, following the links will be worth it.)
Three cheers for creativity!
7:06 AM 0 comments