When it comes to using your handspun yarn, finding a pattern that has a gauge to match your yarn can sometimes be a challenge. This is where learning to create your own pattern is fabulous. Not only do you end up with a piece of clothing that is all your own from start to finish. You will create something unique and custom fit.
The design process can be as simple or as complicated as you choose. Here at Murlo we will provide a series of lessons to get you started. We hope this will open a whole new world of creativity for you.
Materials for Lesson One
hand-spun yarn (see yardage sheet below)
Sweater Calculation and Sweater Pattern Pages (located at the bottom of this post.)
This first lesson includes how to calculate your stitch and row gauge, determine your yardage requirement, and how to take measurements of the sweater you wish to create.
Determining Needle Size
Hand-spun yarn does not come with a label stating needle size and gauge. We must figure all that out on our own.
To determine the knitting needle size required, fold a piece of yarn giving you two pieces side by side. Now lay that over a knitting needle gauge. Where the yarn covers the hole but does not go over would be a good size to use. If you do not have a gauge, lay a knitting needle beside the yarn. If they appear the same width this will likely be the size needed.
How to Calculate Stitch and Row Gauge
In order to calculate your gauge, you will need to knit a 4 inch by 4 inch swatch. Ok I hear you groaning from here, but this step is what will determine everything from here. If you cheat at this stage you will only cheat yourself out of a sweater you will be happy with.
If you are happy with the fabric or the swatch, this is the needle size to use. Want a different fabric? A large needle will make a drapey fabric, a smaller needle will make a denser fabric.
Once the swatch is complete soak it in warm water for 20 minutes. Squeeze out and pin to a towel or blocking board. This is known as blocking where your piece is pinned into a perfect square. Do not stretch. Allow the swatch to dry overnight.
Next day use a ruler and mark the start of the ruler with a pin and again at the 4 inch mark. Now count the number of stitches between the pins including partial stitches. Write down that number.
Do this about 3 times in different areas. If they are all the same you know your stitch gauge. If they differ slightly take the average.
Turn your ruler 90 degrees and repeat the process this time counting the number of rows within the 4 inches.
Now take your stitch and row count and divide by 4. This is the gauge for your project.
In my case the number of stitches in the swatch was 23.5. Stitch gauge then is 5.875 (St. gauge)
My row count was 35. My row gauge is 8.75. (r gauge) Write these numbers into the location provided on the sweater worksheet and the sweater pattern page.
Taking Sweater Measurements
The next step is to get measurements for the sweater you want to create. It is easiest to take a sweater that is your go to for comfort. Lay it out on a flat surface, ensuring there are no folds. Don’t stretch it just make sure it is completely flat.
Following the sections marked A- J on the sample sweater write down the measurements on the calculation sheet in the spot provided. All calculations are done using these measurements. I encourage you to measure a couple of times to ensure you have measured correctly.
A= Bust line. Take this measurement from armhole to armhole of your sample sweater.
B= Hem line
D= Width from shoulder seam to shoulder seam (note this measurement will be used once we get to the yoke design)
E= Shoulder area at the top of the sleeve. This should be directly inline with the armhole
G=Yoke depth. This will be taken at the center front of the sweater from armhole to the neck line.
H=Hem to armhole of the sweater body.
I=Cuff to the elbow
J= Cuff to the top of the sleeve where the E measurement was taken.
That’s it for lesson one. We have completed our swatch and calculated our gauge. We have taken measurements for our sweater and recorded them.
Lesson two will be all about the math behind the sweater. Be sure to grab a calculator, pencil, the calculation page and a coffee or tea.
Be sure to check out the video on Murlo Discovery Channel called Designing a Round Yoke Sweater Design Lesson One
The following chart will help determine yarn requirements. It is important to note that when doing the colour work you account for yardage of the main colour and the contrasting colour.
If the colour work is only going to be knit in the yoke a good guesstimate is 1/3 of the guesstimate below.
Example: If I follow 40” bust and sport weight I need approximately 1700 yards of the main colour. I will guesstimate my contrasting colour to be 510 yards. Now if I want to use 3 contrasting colours I will need about 170 of each. I myself like to have a bit more so I would likely have 200 yards of each. If using hand spun, hand dyed yarns it’s is always best to have more. Matching your yarn and dye is tricky if not impossible should you run short. Leftover yarns can be used up in mittens or hat to match your sweater.
Work sheets and a pattern page are offered here for you to print.
Once you select the download, head to the file icon on your device to find your download
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