Sunday, April 13, 2014

Compound Interest

I've been toiling away on a new sweater project off and on for the past few weeks, and was hoping to share some progress with this post, but a quick reassessment last night showed that I had foolishly ignored the laws of gauge once again.

I'm making the Fine-Knit Cardigan by Erika Knight from Men's Knits: 20 New Classics. I got some Rowan Wool Cotton in a lovely dark green called Deepest Olive. I needed something to replace my gray work cardigan since it no longer fits. And even in a Texas summer, an overly air conditioned library can be a chilly place to work. I thought I might unravel the old one and make a smaller size, but I wanted something new and different.

One of the reasons I picked this yarn was for the fiber content -- I didn't want all wool or all cotton -- and because someone on Ravelry had knit this pattern with this yarn and it looked lovely. But after knitting it, I can't believe she got gauge with the needles listed. I went down two sizes and still I was too large. I got started any way, thinking I was close. But as I should know by now, close doesn't cut it with gauge. While compound interest is awesome when it comes to long-term savings, it's hell on knitting. I went down two sizes further than I would normally make, and two sizes down in needles, and it still appears I'm going to end up with a sweater with a 50" circumference!

But I love this yarn and this simple pattern. I've decided to start over and calculate the cast-ons based on ratios from what I got in my first attempt. For instance, if I originally cast on 140 stitches for the back and it ended up 25" wide, to get a 21.5" back, I should cast on 120. I think if I take good notes and try to be careful about the proportions, I should be in good shape. Let's hope the sweater will be, too. I'm kind of nervous about this approach, but here goes.


  1. SUCH a wonderful cautionary tale! And I think very clever solution...can't wait to hear how it goes.

    I love that book of patterns!

  2. You should do some math and them knit a different size than your normal size. Cross-multiplication is your friend!

    First, get the fabric you want from this yarn (be sure to wash your swatch). Don't knit on needles that give you correct gauge if you get a bulletproof fabric. You don't want it to be painful to knit, and you probably wouldn't like the resulting sweater.

    Then, math.

  3. ugh! and you made such great progress. i hope it's working out well and am pretty positive with your approach it will.