Saturday, July 03, 2010

Wash's Sweater Revisited -- Gauge

In 2008, I recreated a sweater worn by the character Wash in two episodes of the TV series Firefly, and then worked out patterns so that other knitters could make their own. My prototype used a bulky handspun yarn, so my patterns called for a similar heavy worsted wool. But yarn like that is not easy to find, and I noticed many knitters were using a finer yarn, like Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool, to make their sweaters.

But Fisherman's Wool doesn't make a good fabric at the gauge my pattern called for -- it's too loose and open. So when I recently decided I wanted to make another of these, I thought I'd try the popular choice, and suggest some ways to revise the pattern for thinner yarns. (Also, I want to suss out a way to work the sleeves and chest together seamlessly).

So the first step is gauge. My original pattern called for 16 stitches to 4 inches in stockinette fabric, or 15 stitches to 4 inches of double moss stitch. I swatched the Fisherman's Wool on both size 7 and size 8 needles, which gave me 20 and 19 stitches per inch respectively in stockinette. After washing the swatch, I preferred the look of the fabric from the 8's.

I wanted this sweater to be 45 inches around at the chest, and at 4.75 stitches per inch, that's 214 stitches. Back in 2008, I calculated that I need to add about 16 stitches to make up for the cables. So my "key" number for the sweater is 230. I cast on 90% (208 stitches), and began knitting the 1x1 twisted rib that makes up the bottom of this sweater.

After 3 inches of ribbing, it was time to increase up to my key number for the body of the sweater. But before doing that, I would need to figure out where I was going to put the additional 46 stitches, because my original pattern is 184 stitches around, and this sweater would need to be 230. My solution is coming up in the next post.

1 comment:

Deb said...

Just beautiful samples of a beautiful sweater yet to come. I can't wait to see the finished project.