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Deb Robson and Tussah

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August 08, 2008


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*Gorgeous* sweater - enjoy, and have a super trip!

tycho garen

my mother is finishing this sweater on her summer vacation, and she's doing it Elizabeth Zimmermann style in one piece (sleeves too, steeking the front).. I think she's using the cables as written, it's a cool sweater at any rate :)

It's a good sweater and seeing all of them gets me into a cable mood which I don't think I've ever really been in.

Sigh. Add this to the queue


"I discovered I was working on somewhere between 70 and 100 more stitches than they called for. I don't remember the exact count because I just noticed, "Oops, way more stitches, hmmm, seems to be working anyway," and forged on."

This may be due to your row gauge differing from that of the pattern writer/designer. If the designer had fewer rows to the inch than you did, you would need to pick up more stitches than the pattern called for. Combine that with your added length, and there you are.

The sweater is lovely - well done!

Deborah Robson

Thanks, Joy! Yep, Tycho, it's a fantastic sweater, and frankly I'd consider knitting it again. That's HUGE. I am easily bored and don't like to re-knit things. I'd even re-knit with my modifications exactly the same. And I think it would be equally satisfying with the original patterns (which I like, they just don't work for me). Go for it!

Deborah Robson

Hi, Kate:

Yeah, it's tempting to think that row gauge would make a difference in my total stitch count, but the difference in total number of stitches is actually a function of my *stitch* gauge *on the ribbing* being different than the designer's (plus my 4 inches of extra opening edge).

Our overall stitch gauges on the body were the same, even though I modified all the cables. I can't compare our stitch gauges on the ribbing, because patterns almost never include that. They just give a number of stitches to pick up and a needle size to work with, assuming that all will fall into place if you've gotten the gauges right on the rest of the garment. And all does ordinarily fall into place.

So here's how the row and stitch gauges do affect the picking-up for front bands:

Row gauge on a neckband of this type only comes into play in its width, once you're knitting it . . . it's not a factor in how many stitches are picked up where the band attaches to the body.

Row gauge *is* a factor in the *rhythm* by which the stitches get picked up.

Let's say my row gauge is 8 rows to the inch and the designer's is 6, and we both have a stitch gauge of 5. She will need to pick up 5 stitches every 6 rows and I'll need to pick up 5 stitches in every 8 rows. As long as we both have 5 stitches to the inch, we'll still be aiming at the same total number (adjusted for my extra length). Once we're knitting, if we want a band that is 1 inch wide, she will knit 6 rows and I will knit 8.

That's a little fuzzy in the way of description, because the gauge we're concerned with is *ribbing* gauge, not body gauge, and we (all) usually only measure and pay attention to body gauge. Plus ribbing stretches a lot more than other types of patterning.

I did happen to be in an infinitesimal minority of knitters when I knitted a ribbing swatch and measured it. That's certainly not part of my usual routine, but the pattern was AWOL when I got to the ribbing, it's a long way around the cardigan opening edges, and I figured it was faster to swatch than to reknit that boring bit. However, I then partially ignored the information I got from my ribbing swatch by knitting the real thing on smaller needles! (Yes, I hedged my bets by doing my 20-stitch sample and ripping *that*.)

Anyway, it worked. That's what I love about knitting. You can think about it all you want (and I think about it a lot), but in the end the proof is in whether what you just did gives you results that you like.

That always seems a little magical to me. It's part of the flexibility and sculptural quality of the medium: math helps enormously, but math doesn't rule. In the end, gut instinct can end up being equally valuable.

Deborah Robson

Okay, Kate, about mile 233 on I-84 in Idaho I figured out how row gauge *might* have mattered. If the instructions had said, "Pick up 4 stitches for every 5 rows," yep, I would have come up with too many stitches if my row gauge had been greater.

But the baseline (the pattern) was of the sort that says "pick up 71 stitches between bottom of sweater and beginning of neck shaping," and so on, ending with a grand total specific number. So the pattern's numbers and mine "should" have been the same (adjusted for my length).


Oh No!! You're **still** having system crashes? Beautiful sweater. I am in awe of all that you do and get accomplished. Lovely lovely photos. I'm enjoying the travelogue!

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