The Farmer’s Market Cardi: Casting On!

Why hello again. I'm here, and I'm in yarn heaven. Care to join me?

The Dream In Color Classy yarn for my Farmer's Market Cardigan (the pattern is from Interweave Knits Fall 2009) arrived two weeks ago, and ever since then, I've been immersed in the Farmer's Market Cardi in one way or another.

I spread the yarn out on the floor when it arrived to admire it properly. Also, to make it easier for you (coughcough) to roll around in. I know how much you like to do that, and just in case you dropped by here (though you'd call first, wouldn't you?), it would be all ready for you. A cushy carpet of yarn. Sigh.

Anyway. I've been hard at work on getting my Farmer's Market Cardi Party started–today's post is Part One of a two-part series this week on what I've been doing while you all have been holiday shopping. That's why this post is showing up on a Tuesday; Part Two will be posted as usual on Thursday.

Now: Back to the important stuff: The yarn. "Classy" is worsted weight wool in the colorway In Vino Veritas. And it's superwash, but it doesn't feel like superwash. This yarn is gooshy and smooshy and soft…and shut me up, I sound like a commercial. 🙂

The photo cannot do the colors justice. Yes, colors, plural; This yarn may look red, but there are subtle tones, rich variations, glowing hues here that my pitiful camera skills cannot illuminate for you.

Yes, why, I am besotted with this yarn, why do you ask?

It's a good thing I am so obsessed with the yarn, because the first bit of the sweater is 6.5 inches of stockinette stitches, worked over 226 stitches at cast-on.

I calculated that this means I'm doing over 8,800 stitches in this first section. (One should never calculate how many stitches are ahead in a particular garment. The mind boggles.)

I'll now give our poor boggled minds a rest and talk about how I determined which size to make.

Which size did I pick?

Let's just get the suspense over: I'm knitting the size 43", which is about halfway through the range of sizes.

I have to make a few modifications on this sweater, due to my curvaceousness. And naturally, those modifications require math, swatching, and some crossed-out bits in my knitting notebook.

There is not a lot of math, but there is sufficient math to make me worry: How much math would you like to see?

I'll just give you a sample here so you can see what I mean by "not a lot of math"…and then you can leave a comment telling me "more, less, same" for future posts. How does that sound? Let's give it a whirl…

Determining the number of cast-on stitches

I chose the 43" size based on my bust size and some things I will discuss in Thursday's post. But my fingers were itching to cast on, and I realized that I could calculate the cast-on stitches without necessarily knowing the size to choose. Why? Because the number of hem stitches is all about ME–what will fit my hip measurement comfortably. Since my hips are bigger than my bust, then I know that I will have to do some customizations somewhere along the line.

My hips are a zaftig 46" without ease, and I decided to give myself some room. The finished hem circumference I was aiming for was about 49". (Find out how I arrived at that number on Thursday.) I knew from my ginormous swatch (about 8 inches wide by 10 inches long) that I could get the required gauge of 4.5 sts per inch spot-on using bigger needles (size 9) than the pattern called for–and in doing a sweater, it's all about getting gauge, baby. So: Swatchity, swatchity, swatchily.

All right. 49 inches multiplied by 4.5 stitches per inch gave me 220.5 stitches, which I rounded up to 222 stitches to get an even number (this makes any mods easily split between left/right sides).

Then I looked down.

I've gained some weight (medication, right? yes, it's the meds, work with me here) and my belly is once again bigger than my behind. (Harumph. Love Thyself Anyways, Girlfriends. Rockin' my curves, rockin' my curves!) So I added two stitches to the front on each side. The total? 222 stitches plus 4 stitches equals 226.

Voila! Cast-on!

The astute amongst you might notice One Teensy Little Issue with that number. Anyone? Tell me in the comments if you do!

So how's that level of math detail? Too much? Not enough? Juuuuust right? Let me know in the comments and I will adjust future posts accordingly.

Enjoy your holiday festivities during this season of light and joy.

– Sandi

P.S. I always, always love to hear from you. Please feel free to email me at or to leave a comment.


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20 thoughts on “The Farmer’s Market Cardi: Casting On!

  1. Just right, or maybe a little bit more math. I told myself I’d learn to make socks in my learning journey towards a sweater. Lots of socks later, I’ve still to make that first sweater. Oh well. I can at least learn from your blog posts. Math is good! Maybe just keep it in it’s own section so those of us who like can read, and those who don’t can easily skip to next section?

    Will there be any problems with the fact that 226 is not divisible by 4? Or am I just making stuff up?

  2. More math please! YOu explain it so elegantly, and you always make it easy to understand! I’m doing sweater mods too, and it is most helpful to have some one else walking you through step by step 🙂

    I adore the color, btw. soooo pretty


  3. Sandi,
    Glad that you are back on line. I love the color of the yarn and can’t wait to see it develop. The more math the better. I think many of us could use more help when it comes to modifying a pattern to fit well. Anxious to hear how you decided on ease.

  4. I would have picked a number divisble by 4 – so either 224 or 228. But I’m not sure that this is what you mean.

    I will be very interested to see how the sweater goes. It is on my favorites!

  5. You will have an odd number of stitches for the front and back, so will need to adjust for the two pieces for the front sections. This is a cardigan, so one side may be one itsy bitsy stitch bigger than the other side.

  6. Hi PacaPrincess! all your math is giving me the very bad feeling that I didn’t do enough of it when I cast on my latest project…which is looking a little on the small side…sigh. But I do like knowing the proper way to figure these things out, even if i don’t always do it myself. And looooooove the color you chose.

  7. Hi Sandi, I have missed your tutorials on fit from Knitting Daily. I learned so much from them. My biggest problem in knitting sweaters is getthg them to fit well, so I appreciate everything you do to enlighten us on this. I, too, am larger in the hips than the bust and have an ample abdomen to consider. (I think we are not alone in this.) My shoulders are not wide, so if I knit for the hip measurement, the shoulders are too large for me. So I am looking forward to reading how you decided which size to make as well as how to adjust a pattern. Math and more math are OK by me. Thanks so much for your informative, funny and heartwarming posts. Mary

  8. More math is good. It helps me figure out how to approach making changes in sweaters I try to make. I want to learn how to make them fit really well.
    After all that time spent making it I want to wear it!

  9. More math please…odd # of stitches…and it appears you did a provisional cast-on…if you did let us know…my favorite cast-on because you can do a much more finished edging when your done……

  10. I loved your comment about your fingers itching to cast on. Been there, done that. In fact, I do it all the time no matter how many projects I have going. Actually, I usually have at least one cardigan, one pair of socks, and one afghan going at all times. Big, big family! It’s a blessing and I love making things for them. I gave a 16-year old granddaughter a cardigan made from an Interweave Knits pattern. She picked it out from the picture and then picked the yarn. She loves it!
    Love your blog. Maxine

  11. Sandi, I think that is just the right amount of math. I really like the way you make it all so logical and and easy for those of us who have never knitted a sweater for ourselves. I’ve avoided knitting a sweater for myself for fear of the garment not fitting properly after all that knitting.

    I love your very amusing and candid writing style!

  12. I’m making myself finish some projects before I start the Farmer’s Market sweater so I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the sweater as you get started.

    I have to say the color is gorgeous. I hope you post more as you work your way through the pattern.

    That particular issue was packed with wonderful projects. I spun up some of Gale’s Art merino in eggplant and knitted it up in the sweater vest pattern in that issue. I finished it in time to enter it in the Georgia National Fair and it won second place in its category. I was thrilled.

    There are still a number of other things I’m itching to start but this is the year of finishing things and so I will.

    Keep us posted on your work, please.