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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Design Process - Math

Math, the bogyman of the knitting world! I'll try to explain the best I can, and I hope it is somewhat understandable. Instead of doing everything at once, I'll try to break it down into smaller pieces and only as I work on each section. My numbers tend to change as I'm working anyway, so this is probably the best way to go.

So we're back to the trusty schematic. I've added in a few more numbers since we last saw it:

To start, I needed to decide whether to make the sweater in one piece or three. I decided to make it in three pieces for two reasons: #1 Seams add more stability to a garment and #2 it would be difficult to continue in one piece when I got to the sleeve section.

With that decided, I can now begin to figure out my numbers.

To sum up the process in very simple terms, I need to multiply all the horizontal measurements by the stitch gauge and all the vertical measurements by the row gauge. But with this sweater, it's not quite that easy.

For example - Bottom hem: I want it to be 17 1/2" wide. Multiply 17.5 x 5.5 (st gauge)=96.25 sts. I round this down to 96 sts, but this still doesn't work. My lace stitch pattern is a multiple of 7 + 4 sts. This means that my cast on number must be evenly divided by 7 and then 4 sts need to be added to keep the pattern centered. So I play with my number and come up with 95 sts to cast on (95-4=91 then 91/7=13).

So I have 95 sts to cast on, right? Well, not really. I decided to start the hem with a 2x2 rib whose stitch multiple is 4 + 2 sts. In order to center the rib up correctly, I couldn't do a correct pattern repeat. I decided on 96 sts (k1, (p2, k2) to last 3 sts, p2, k1). When I get to the pattern portion of the body, I'll just need to decrease 1 st to get back to 95 sts for the correct pattern repeat. I make a note of this on my schematic so I don't forget.

Next I usually figure out the decrease and increase frequency along the side seams, but since this body is fairly straight, I haven't really decided on the decrease points yet. I decided to cast on and think about where these points may be as I go along.

I cast on for the back on Sunday night and I have about 11" done so far. I haven't quite figured out where I want to start my shaping yet. I'm also wondering if I should start increasing instead of decreasing as I originally planned........hmm. I better decide soon though, I really don't feel like ripping back because I've gone too far!

Stay tuned for more sweater progress and math! Can I hear everyone say "yay! math!"?

P.S. Speaking of numbers changing - at about 5" in I realized that my row gauge was actually 8 rows per inch instead of 7. I did recheck my gauge swatch in the beginning, but it just goes to show that you can't always rely on them 100%. Always check your knitting!


Connie said...

Ah! row gauge! I hate hate hate row gauge. It always trips me up and I have a really hard time getting an accurate measure of it.

Anyway, thanks for this series! It's really interesting. Your sweater is looking tantalizing too - I can't wait to see it unveiled in its entirety.

Hope you're enjoying the milder weather!

schrodinger said...

I'm really enjoying this series, it's very inspiring - as well as informative. Thank you! Plus, that sweater is going to be great!!!!

Anushka said...

"I love maths!"

sulu-design said...

I'm enjoying this series - it's the math part that interests me the most. Looking forward to the next installment...