Calculating for the design.
Lesson 4a provided how to calculate the decreases done at each decrease round. It also provided the number of rows that would be between each section.
Now we know how many stitches we will have at each section of the yoke and how many rows. This will help us when planning for some colour charts to design the yoke. Depending on the designs you want you may find you need to go back to your calculations and make adjustments. A stitch here or there and adding a row to one area, while taking it off another is not a big deal.
There are many ways to add some colour design to your round yoke sweater. Maybe you just want to have the yoke a different colour than the main body. Stripes can be added for interest. The only caution there is to use the main colour to complete both short row sections. This way there will not be stripes that are obviously deeper at the back of the sweater versus the front.
Many round yoke sweaters use bands of designs. If you are new at designing your own pattern, this would be my recommendation to follow.
Other round yoke sweaters have a single pie shaped chart that includes the decreases into the overall design. This type of designing can be complex, as such will not be covered in this lesson.
Calculation page from lesson 4a
two coloured fine markers
To help choose design elements there are several good books available. Fair Isle Motifs by Mary Jane Mucklestone, and Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting are great examples. Both books supply charts based on stitch counts and rows. Alternatively there are many available on Pinterest. I have created a board called Round Yoke Design Elements on our Murlo.ca Pinterest. Another helpful tool is to google factors of your stitch count. If it has been a while since you were in school, a factor is a number that will divide evenly into another number.
In lesson 4a I added a bit of a cautionary note that both lesson 4a and 4b should be reviewed before you begin knitting. You may also recall I stated knitting is an art not a science.
Once you begin designing for colour you may run into a case where based on your stitch count there is no design you can come up with that will work. Say after a decrease round you have a number that has only two factors. This doesn’t provide any real options for a design. If you adjust the number of stitches to a number that has more factors, you will have more design options. Adjusting the stitch count by a couple of stitches will not have a big impact on size or shaping but will make a world of difference in the colour design of the yoke.
An example here should help.
In my yoke I will knit 28 rows before my first decrease round. I have 352 stitches on my needle. I could create a design that is say 16 stitches across and have 28 rows for the design. But what if I saw a design that was 10 stitches wide and 10 rows high? I could decrease two stitches in a row to have a number divisible by 10. Then I could repeat the design twice using 20 of the rows. This would leave 8 rows. So I would knit 1 row to decrease two stitches, followed by 2 rounds. Knit the 10 row design, knit 3 rows of a plain colour, then the next 10 row design followed by 2 rows of plain colour, then the decrease round. I would have used my full 28 rows available plus the next decrease round.
After my first decrease round I will have 282 stitches and 8 rows before my next decrease round. I could do a 6 stitch by 8 row design. After my second decrease round, I will have 226 stitches and 8 rows before the next decrease. The only numbers that divide into 226 evenly are 2 and 113. I might therefore want to adjust my stitches to have 224 stitches giving me more designing options. With 224 I can choose a design that is 2,4,7,8,14,16 etc stitches in length. Way more options. It also means there is a need to go back to the calculations on stitch decreases and adjust. Thankfully I have used pencil, so a quick adjustment and I’m on my way again.
The designing process can be a lengthy yet rewarding challenge. I recall the first time I designed my own colour work yoke I added a lifeline to the first row joining the sleeves and body. If you are unfamiliar with a lifeline, it is essentially running a scrap piece of yarn through all of the stitches. That way should you need to rip back you can pull out your needle and rip back to the scrap yarn where your stitches are sitting safely. You may not need to rip back, but its a feeling of security knowing you can without fear of losing a stitch.
I recommend you visit our youtube channel Murlo Discovery Channel to view the video that accompanies this lesson.
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