## Sunday, April 8, 2012

### Miette 3: How much yarn?

If you're going to use a yarn other than the one suggested in the pattern, you're going to have to figure out how much you need.  You certainly don't want to end up with dye lot issues!

The pattern calls for Cascade Sierra, which as 191 yards per hank: 4 hanks each for the small and medium and 5 hanks for the large.  But it also gives estimated yardages for each size:  650, 800 and 950 for small, medium and large respectively. If you're using a worsted weight yarn that gives you the recommended gauge, AND if you're knitting one of these sizes with no modifications, you should buy that quantity.

But what if you want to lengthen the sweater, make a size larger than what's in the pattern, or make the sleeves short rather than 3/4?  I'll admit that I don't have a perfect formula to figure that out.  But, in general, on a high-hip length sweater with long sleeves, the sleeves make up about 1/3 of the total fabric.  And we can use proportions to make an estimate of how much we need.

Let's take the size small as an example, and lengthen it.  This size calls for 650 yards of worsted weight.  Approximately one third of that will be for the sleeves, so let's say about 200 yards, leaving about 450 for the body.  If you want to make the sweater longer, think about how much longer - maybe 1/4 of the length to the waist?  So you'd want another 1/4 of the 450 yards, or about 115 extra yards of yarn.

Now, if you're changing the weight of the yarn, it's a different ball game.  My first tactic is usually to cheat:  I take a look at that Ravelry page again to see if anyone has made the sweater in the yarn I'm using!  This can give me a great clue to how much I'll need.  If not in the same yarn, has anyone made the sweater in the same weight yarn?  I generally prefer to do detective work over math!

In any case, I think it's always a good idea to buy an extra ball or two of your yarn for any project.  You never know - even yarns with the same dye lot can be noticeably different in color, like the project I linked to at the top!  The good news is that with a top down sweater, you're making the whole sweater as you go along, so you have more leeway to change things as you go along.  But knowing in advance what changes you plan to make will help you to purchase the right amount of yarn to get you there.

Well!  I think we're about ready to start some actual knitting!  Who has yarn and needles ready?

!
I've got 4 hanks ordered so hopefully that's enough! (Perhaps I should have ordered 5 to be extra safe!) :) Just hurry up and get here, lol!

I will be posting a Miette update with a few bits and pieces today hopefully :) Let's get those banners out there!

1. Great! Looking forward to getting my banner up!

2. I haven't knitted anything but DH's garter stitch blanket in ages. I may have to check out Miette. Doing a KAL might keep me on track and actually finish a sweater. :)

Excellent lessons!

1. Thanks, Pam! I hope you'll join us - the more, the merrier!

3. This is perfect timing! I have only been knitting for about 9 months and am champing at the bit to do a sweater. So far I've tackled socks, slippers, chunky scarf, lace scarf, etc.
I don't own any circular needles and have been doing a little research on what to get. I want an interchangeable set. Any suggestions?

Also, I think I may knit this without shaping, And keep it on the small side for my 10 yr old daughter. One of the ravelry projects is done by a pretty petite girl. I think it would work. What do you think?

I can't wait!

1. Hi there! I have to admit that while I knit almost exclusively with circular needles, I don't own any interchangeables. I did buy the Knit Picks Options for my mother-in-law a few years ago, but I honestly don't know if she likes them or not! That said, my favorite non-interchangeable needles are Clover bamboos, and Susan Bates Quicksilvers (they're teflon-coated). Unlike a lot of knitters, I'm not a fan of Addi Turbos - they slow me down! And they're so slippery, I think they might be a little tricky if you're not used to using circulars in the first place.

We can certainly size the sweater down. We just need to know her chest measurement. And it will also be easier to do if you go with a DK weight yarn.

2. I'm so excited. I bought my circulars today and some yarn. I also took my daughter's measurements and this is what we've got.
Chest=31
Back(neck to waist)=12
Arm circumf=10
Arm circ for 3/4=11
Waist=28

The yarn I bought is Bebe Cotsoy. It says worsted but it's 9 ply. What do you think? I could save the yarn for something else if you think it's too heavy.

3. Looks like that yarn will be good. I wasn't familiar with it but I looked it up on Ravelry and it says it gives a gauge of 5 stitches to the inch on 4.5mm needles.

Tomorrow I'm going to be doing a post on getting started with the knitting, but before you get started you'll need to do your gauge swatch so you know how many stitches to the inch YOU are getting. Then we can figure out the numbers for your sweater!

4. I am working on gauge now. I had to put it down because we had two birthday celebrations. Monday for my son who turned 14 and yesterday for My youngest, Mikahla, who is the recipient of this sweater.
I have never worked with a professional knitter before. This is amazing. Thank you for showing us how to be organized. Hits is already better than I had imagined and I haven't started the sweater yet!
Silly question...is it best to continue posting here or move to the current day?

5. Happy birthday to the kids! And thank you for those lovely words :-)

For now it doesn't matter too much where you post - all comments also come to my email, so I won't miss them. If it gets too "crowded" we may consider moving them elsewhere to neaten things up.

6. Okay, I'm almost done with my swatch but I don't know if I should start over. I am using size 6 needles and my 20 stitches is 3 3/4". Should I start over and stitch to get 4 inches and see how many stitches that takes. I'm sorry, I've never swatched before so I'm not really sure what I'm doing. Everything I've made in the past I didn't too much worry about different sizing. It wasn't crucial like with a sweater.

7. Hi Heidi:

We usually say a swatch should be at least 4 inches wide because we can get a more accurate count of how many stitches per inch when measured over several inches. But yours is OK. It sounds like you're getting between 5 and 5.5 stitches to the inch. How do you like the fabric? Can you make it a little looser (with bigger needles) or tighter (with smaller needles), or is it just right? We can still do the math with the number you have, so don't worry!

8. I could make it a little looser with bigger needles. I actually like the feel of what I have but would change it to make it easier. It probably wouldn't make that much difference in the feel to bump up to 7's would it? and if it makes the calculating easier I can do that. Let me know what you think.

9. okay. i just knit some with the 7's and it's gotten me closer to the 4" mark and I like the feel of it.
So, I'll go with whatever works best/easiest.

10. Ok - I had a chance to look a little closer at this, and I actually think you should stick with the 6's IF you want the 2" negative ease for your daughter. If you do that, you'll be able to follow the directions for the medium size with no fiddling!

If you don't want so much negative ease, I suggest you go up to the 7's but still follow the directions for the medium.

11. I'm thinking that for a 10 year old less negative ease would be better. Don't you think? I guess I'm having a hard time picturing what the negative ease would be like. Would it help me if I measure a sweater that she already has?

12. Yes, I think that would be helpful. Negative ease is hard to picture, but it's more present in knitwear than we realize.

13. ok, haha, I don't know what I'm measuring! Boy, all this prep work and calculating is so foreign to me. This is a great experience. Thank you again for your tutoring.

14. Oops - sorry! Measure across the chest just at the underarm.

15. I had her try on a few sweaters. Her cardigan which fit snug was 14 1/2 across the chest. My cardigan was 17 across the chest. It was obviously a more loose fit but she said it was very comfortable. I think the more loose fit is the better choice. If we don't go with quite the 17" it will be fine. Whatever works for the measurements.

16. OK - once we know your gauge for sure, we'll figure out which set of directions you should follow :-)

17. Done! 4x4 swatch is 20 stitches x 24 rows. That's with the 7 needles. Whew!

18. Perfect! You're good to go then - follow the directions for the medium size (38") and you should end up with a final chest measurement of about 31" - "standard" fit: not too tight, and not too loose.

19. Yeah! I can't wait to get started! Thank you so much!

4. Would Cascade 220 be an okay alternative? That's the only Cascade yarn I can find.

1. Cascade 220 would be great - lots of people have used it for this sweater. But you don't have to use a Cascade yarn - you could use any worsted weight yarn, i.e. yarn that would give you a gauge of 4 stitches to the inch.

If you want cotton, you could try Rowan Handknit Cotton. Or their All Seasons Cotton, which is a blend, might be even better, in terms of looking more even in tension.I'm thinking you could find these pretty easily over there. They might be calling "worsted" as "10 Ply" in the UK - I'm not sure!

2. Thank you! I will look into everything you said and see what I find.

5. You've provided us with more helpful info, Gail.
thank you

1. Thank you, Gerry!