too many stitches, correct number of rows!

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Posts 13
on Apr 15, 2011 8:42 AM

i'm paying attention to gauge/tension for the first time as i'm knitting my first garment where it matters - a sweater for my little one. 

the pattern calls for 22 stitches and 44 rows over 4in. i understand that to be 5 and 1/2 st and 11 rows per inch. 

i'm getting 6 stitches and 11 rows per inch. what to do??? please help!

suzy

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Zoe wrote
on Apr 15, 2011 9:49 AM

knitting4charlotte:

i understand that to be 5 and 1/2 st and 11 rows per inch. 

i'm getting 6 stitches and 11 rows per inch. what to do??? please help!

 

Chuckles here, and no need at all to panic.  Your little one will get a knitted sweater.  Your understandings and math are correct.  When you get more stitches per inch than you need, then you need to go up by a half size to a larger needle.  Since it is only one half stitch too much, then the half size larger should be fine.  This is why swatches are made -- to get the right size needle to use (assuming the yarn weight is correct).  ie.  if my needle size knitting the swatch was a 4mm and I get too many stitches per inch, then I would do the next swatch using a 4.5mm or 4.25mm size.   

If you got too few stitches per inch than what the pattern calls for, then your needle is too big.  You simply decrease the size of the needle and re-swatch.  Generally speaking, you dont want to change your needle size more than two mm sizes.  When you have to change needle sizes by 3 sizes, then you would start to look at the weight of your yarn. ( Stitches will become distorted if you make a big jump in sizes of needles.)

As far as the number of rows go, rule of thumb in knitting is to match the number of stitches per inch going across the needle.  You can knit more or less rows to get the right length needed for the item.  So if you are off by 1/2 row in a four inch swatch, it really wouldnt matter.  If you are short one row for 4 inches, then you just knit one more row.  If you are over by one row in your four inch swatch, then you simply knit one less row.  This is why many knitters measure as they knit, so they know how many more rows to knit to get to the correct size.

What is the name of the sweater you are knitting?  What yarn name?? and how old is your little one???

Happy knitting, Zoë Smile

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Posts 13
on Apr 15, 2011 10:01 AM

Thanks for your help Zoe. I understand i have to change needle sizes - I scoured the internet for what to do. But what I was confused about, and which you answered perfectly, was what do you do when you have the right number of rows but the wrong number of stitches. I didn't want to end up with the opposite problem and then have to fix that and frog up so much yarn. 

My next question is - the pattern calls for using 2 different needles (also new to me as a knitter). Since the first part of the pattern involves using 3.75mm needles, and the second 3.25mm - will I have to change the second pair of needles and/or check the gauge when I start working with the second pair? 

The name of the sweater is - Striped Garter Stitch Jacket. The yarn name is merino double knitting. I'm using comfy sport. And my little one is 3 months old. This is my first real knitting project outside of scarves and afghans. I'm nervous about all the striping and sowing coming up!

 

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Zoe wrote
on Apr 15, 2011 12:27 PM

knitting4charlotte:
the pattern calls for using 2 different needles (also new to me as a knitter). Since the first part of the pattern involves using 3.75mm needles, and the second 3.25mm - will I have to change the second pair of needles and/or check the gauge when I start working with the second pair? 

 

Hi knitting4charlotte,

I am going to ask a couple of questions to get understanding for myself.  First, was the gauge swatch for the larger needles or for the smaller needles? This can be found in the gauge/tension guidelines at the beginning of the pattern directions.  And then check to see which needles were suggested for the swatch compared to which needles need to be used at what stage of the knitting.

Second, the smaller needle will produce a tighter knit.  What part of the sweater needs the tighter knit??  Usually when knitting up a sweater from the ribbing up, the ribbing is knit using the smaller needle and once the ribbing is done, then the larger needles are used.  Ribbing has a looser tension simply because the switching between knit and purl stitches, so it makes sense to use a size smaller for the ribbing in order to get the same gauge as the rest of the pattern.

I looked on the web for the Striped Garter Stitch Jacket and there were so many listed.  Did you get the pattern off the net??  If so, please provide me with the link to the site so that I can read the pattern instructions too.  Who designed this jacket??  if I could get the name of the person, then that will also help me to find the pattern.

It is always wise to get all the instructions understood, and all the kinks worked out before starting a knitting project.  That way there is less to rip out or as we say, frog.

Happy knitting, Zoë Smile

PS  Can I assume from your moniker that your daughter's name is Charlotte?

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Merlich wrote
on Apr 15, 2011 12:37 PM

Hi Knitting4charlotte,

Some times when you have this kind of problem about 1/2 stitch besides the instructions Zoe has given to you, you can try knitting a bigger gauge to adjust your tension. When you knit very 4" square gauges you don't let the yarn to stretch or to become as it would be in a bigger guage. It has happened to me that after twenty rows I measure my work and there is a big difference between my gauge and my work. That is why I suggest you to knit a bigger gauge. That way you may find out if you really need to change your needdles size.

Furthermore, be patient. Not always you can knit as you would like to. I think that has happened to all knitters and everyone who is trying something for the first time. Your success on anything is, practice and patience. And also to have the courage to start over although you are done and you don't like it.

So let's rewind. Try with a bigger gauge and let me know.

Bye, bye.

Patience, persistence and love are the main ingredients for wonderful knittings.

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Zoe wrote
on Apr 15, 2011 12:49 PM

Merlich:
Try with a bigger gauge and let me know.

 

Hi Merlich,

I believe what you are trying to say is not a bigger gauge (gauge is the tension you end up with and needs to be the same as given for the 4 inch gauge swatch) but knit a larger swatch.

Since knitting4charlotte already would have her tensions down right, because she has been knitting for a while, and this is just a simple garter stitch pattern, a 4 inch swatch will be suffficient.  If however, she was doing a lace pattern stitch-work, then most knitters know that they knit a larger swatch in order to measure the stitches/rows required.

Happy knitting, Zoë Smile

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Posts 13
on Apr 15, 2011 12:56 PM

I feel silly now. It only mentioned to check the gauge with the 3.75mm needles, not the 3.25mm needles, so I should assume I only have to check the gauge once and with the larger needles. The smaller needles are to knit the neckband, button band and the button hole band. 

I got the pattern from a book "Debbie Bliss Easy Knits." 

And yes, my daughter's name is Charlotte. I'd given up on knitting years ago because I had really bad carpal tunnel. But ever since she was born the discomfort has been almost non-existent and I just don't want to pay the prices for the knitted stuff I see/want to buy her. I'm knitting for Charlotte. Stick out tongue

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Zoe wrote
on Apr 15, 2011 2:23 PM

knitting4charlotte:
I feel silly now.

 

Hi knitting4charlotte,

Chuckles and giggles here, no need to beat yourself up with a wet noodle!!  Like I said it is better to be absolutely sure of what the directions indicate than to go off and knit mistakes.  A lot of knitters need a second or third pair of eyes to see the instructions.  (My own downfall is reading the instructions in a hurry and then I miss important things). 

Regarding the smaller needles, they would definitely be used to knit the ribbing around the neck, button bands.  If you are doing the same type of ribbing at the cuffs, then you would likely switch to the smaller needles there too.

Debbie Bliss is an excellent pattern writter!  You cant go wrong following her patterns.  I have her book on knitting tips and hints.  Another mainstay in my knitting library.

Re:  your carpal tunnel syndrome, you can look into getting a stretchy wrist support from your local pharmacy, Walmart, or LYS.  They do help.  From time to time I need to use mine.  I also knit both continental (my favorite) and English methods, so I will switch hands if it is bothering me.  A gentle massage of the wrist and thumb also helps out.

Charlotte will love you no matter what you end up knitting her!!

Happy knitting, Zoë Smile

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Merlich wrote
on Apr 15, 2011 5:17 PM

Hi Zoe,

Exactly, swatch was the correct word.

Thank you.

Patience, persistence and love are the main ingredients for wonderful knittings.

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Zoe wrote
on Apr 15, 2011 6:59 PM

Merlich:

Exactly, swatch was the correct word.

Hi Merlich,

I knew you knew what you meant to say!!  chuckles, cause we all get our words mixed up once in a while!!

What are you knitting at the moment??  I know that there a lot of knitters who have more than one thing on the go at a time.  Then they can knit whatever they want when the knitting mood strikes them!

Have you ever looked at a Debbie Bliss book or patterns?  They do make an interesting read and I have no difficulty following her knitting.  Another one I really like is Ann Budd.  I never tire of reading her sock book even though I have been knitting the sock for the past years and years.  My first knitting project was a pair of socks on dpns, taught to me by my Mom.  When did you learn to knit?  I have been at this for a few years already and hopefully I will have many more years of doing this.

Knitting4charlotte, you should keep a little journal of this first sweater you are knitting for Charlotte.  When she outgrows the sweater, put it away with the little journal and a copy of the pattern.  One day you will teach her how to do this sweater for her own child.   I wish I had the pattern for my first pair of socks.  Of course since I was 10, I remember my own thoughts and feelings about the socks!

Happy knitting, Zoë Smile

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Merlich wrote
on Apr 16, 2011 7:23 PM

Hi Zoe,

Yes, I was trying to say swatch but as I was trying to write as fast as I could, I didn't notice my changing words.

I started crocheting when I was eight. We were to crochet a tablecloth for the Mother's Day at school. I tried to keep on developing my skills but at home nobody crocheted so I stopped. Then, when I was fifteen I was doing Christmas cleaning and I found a couple of straight needles. I took them to school and my friends taught me to knit. I remembered what I already knew about crochet and that's it. Since then, I haven't stopped.

I had never followed a pattern as my friends taught me that was not good because they never fit you. I learnt to design my own patterns and later when I found garments I wanted to copy, I learnt how to do the math to fit my gauge and have a happy ending. Of course, without letting my pals to know.

Then, I got hooked on baby sweaters for almost twenty years. When my children stopped wearing my knittings I turned, again, to knit for me and my dogs, then for my husband, later for my mother, for my pals, baby showers and this is it. I crochet totes, afgans, purses, hearts; tunisian crochet hats, totes; knit hats, sweaters, scarfs, shrugs, tops, almost afgans (just one). I bought a book to learn how to knit socks (Knitting the perfect pair by Dorothy Ratigan) but I always skip it. One day.

I love to knit. I don't care what it is, lace, stripes, fair isle, argyle, aran, cables, whatever I knit. I knit in the continental style.

I started to knit an afgan (in many different blues, Satin by Bernat) a year ago but I don't feel like knitting it. It was ment to be a relaxation item but it hasn't. I don't know if it is since I wasn't the one who chose the pattern. I am also crocheting a small afgan for my youngest son. In my needdles I have: an Adrienne Vittadini's top "Allegra Twist Front Top" in cotton with acrylic and metal, color lime and blue sky with silver  (Giamaica by Lane Mondial, Italy); the "Elegant Chunky Weight Cardigan" by Needful Yarns in merino wool, acrylic and metal, color mauve with silver (Trend Collection Linie 246 by Online, Germany) and a sweater No.9246 by Sirdar in a baby merino wool, color red (Paton's) this is a recycled yarn.

I have many books. I love them all. I have no choises on any of them in particular because I have learnt something with each one. Most of them are from British Knitters, one from Japan and the rest from the U.S.A.: Verena Knitting, Vogue Knitting, Designer Knitting Magazine.

I've been knitting and crocheting for about 27 years.

O.K., Zoe. I hope we can become friends, continue learning all we already don't know and, try to help anybody who needs help.

Bye, bye.

M

Patience, persistence and love are the main ingredients for wonderful knittings.

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Zoe wrote
on Apr 16, 2011 8:21 PM

Merlich:

O.K., Zoe. I hope we can become friends, continue learning all we already don't know and, try to help anybody who needs help.

 

Hi Merlich,

Of course we can be friends.  When you have to alter the written pattern directions to fit you, this is called "tweeking" the pattern.  Most patterns are tweeked by the knitter.  There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to knitting. 

In order to know how to knit up the garment/item you need to know the pattern and how the pattern directions construct the garment/item.  Most knitters who have questions about the knitting of things, have difficulty with this part of the pattern directions.  That is why when I need to know more about what the knitter is trying to get answers to, I also need to see what the pattern directions say.  Then other knitters would also get clarification for a problem as well.  Sometimes there are several knitters who are trying to solve the problem.  We all draw upon our experiences and offer our advise/solutions based on them. 

Usually when a knitter is new to knitting, it is the pattern stitch directions that they are having difficulties with understanding.  Often they have read over the directions in a hurry and have missed something.  Or they are so new to the type of pattern, that stuff is overwhelming.  In these cases we do have to know what the directions say in order to help them out. 

Sometimes the knitter just needs to have a little confidence instilled in them, and then they get an aha moment when they suddenly understand what is required to complete the pattern. 

There are less than one persent of the knitters who can look at a picture of a knitted item, and then figure out everything based on seeing the picture.  The person giving assistance needs to know what the knitter has already done about getting the pattern started -- gauge swatches, yarn weight, yarn composition, needle sizes, etc.  Once this is all known then, the knitter can begin to be helped.  Sometimes there is an mistake done in one of these basics of the pattern.

Sometimes there is a mistake in the pattern directions themselves and a more experienced knitter would spot this or a knitter who has also done this pattern and has corrected this for themselves.

I am very happy for you for your knitting excursions!  and crochet too!  I do both too.  I also sew, embroider, and cross stitch.  It is nice to be able to do so many hobbies because then you are never bored and without something to do!

I love to knit my socks!  I absolutely love Ann Budd and her sock book instructions.  I am able to clearly understand what Debbie Bliss says.  There are so many more knitting authors.

For my yarn composition, I prefer synthetic yarns.  I am allergic to wool (even the hypoallergenic ones) and most of the other ones like linen, bamboo,etc.  I can knit with cotton yarns.  I enjoy the Bernat acrylic yarns.  I find the Red Heart yarn can be very stiff and scratchy.

I knit continental but do know how to knit the English way too.  I like using both ways when I knit fair isle or stranded knitting.

Where do you live?  I live in Northwestern Ontario, Canada.  Chuckles, we got a foot of snow since last evening and it is still snowing!!  I have to make sure that the little birds have enough seeds to eat and that the seeds dont get buried under the snow!!

I always look forwards to getting to meet other knitters because I know that I will end up learning knitting techniques from them too!

Happy knitting, Zoë Smile

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Merlich wrote
on Apr 16, 2011 9:44 PM

Hi Zoe,

Thank you for your advice on assistance to knitters. I am learning that issue too.

Last February that we went to the yarn store I had in my hands one Debbi Bliss' books. I just could glance at it quickly. I do not remember which one was. There were more than two. I can't remember. But I do remember the garments were gorgeous.

I love alpaca, wool, cotton (Rowan). I bought an italian one Grignasco (cotton). It is shine and soft but it needs too much care as it tends to loosen. It drove me crazy because I had to undo many times the same work due to that problem.  Madame Tricote has good cotton yarns. I like Country style, Snuggly, Balmoral and Bonus DK by Sirdar. Satin by Bernat is not one of my favourites because it doesn't run with my bamboo needdles nor the plastic ones. It works perfectly with aluminium. I didn't like that I had to undo my work and when I knitted it over it didn't look good. I have to be careful with it. I like Pingouin Yarns, Paton's wool, Anny Blatt, Bergére de France and, Nashua Yarns. Katia has nice mohair yarns. Well, those are the ones I have fresh in my memory. Every time I try to buy Red Heart's there is missing one color, that's why I haven't bought. They look the way you say.

I don't like hand sewing. I bought a Brother sewing machine (XL-3750). I can't have control over it. You can imagine the results. I have to practice more than a lot. As I don't like hand sewing I don't like cross stitch either, although I've done good things when I've needed to.

Yes, I always have something to do. My husbund doesn't agree with my multiple knitting works at the same time but he has to deal with it. I can't avoid to do that. Every time he pushes me to finish all of tthem and just work with a single one, I don't know what I do but I always get more and more.

Well, Zoe. Let's be in touch.

Bye, bye.

 

 

Patience, persistence and love are the main ingredients for wonderful knittings.

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Posts 13
on Apr 17, 2011 12:22 PM

Hi Zoe, 

Thanks for the tip about keeping a journal of the sweater. What sort of things do I take note on? I love the idea that maybe one day she will knit this as the first sweater for her own child! 

By the way, I finished my second swatch with 3.75mm needles and I got five and a quarter stitches per inch! I went back and looked at my first swatch and I see I must have counted wrong somehow, there they were - five and a half stitches per inch! All that work on the second swatch for nothing! Well, actually not for nothing. I learned what to do if this happens in the future. 

So, I don't have stitch markers and I'm so broke these days I can't afford to spend money on them when that money could pay for gas, so any suggestions on something I could use at home? 

Thanks for your help!

Suzy

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Zoe wrote
on Apr 17, 2011 4:03 PM

knitting4charlotte:
I don't have stitch markers and I'm so broke these days I can't afford to spend money on them when that money could pay for gas, so any suggestions on something I could use at home? 

 

Hi Suzy,

Most knitters are in your "short on $$$ situation".  We knitters have a lot of things on hand to use for our knitting projects.  To make you own stitch markers, take 2" of  contrasting color yarn and make a knotted loop with it.  Voila!!!! there you have a stitch marker.  I actually prefer these self made markers because the store bought ones tend to want to be too stiff to transfer between needles.  You can make as many as you like.  You can even use some string if you want.  Then I just save them all in a baggie and they are ready to be reused for the next project!

Chuckles about the hard lesson learned in your swatching!!  But it is one you wont forget and you did learn needles and gauges!

knitting4charlotte:

Thanks for the tip about keeping a journal of the sweater. What sort of things do I take note on? I love the idea that maybe one day she will knit this as the first sweater for her own child! 

  I would first start out with why you wanted to make this particular sweater?  Why did you pick the colors for it that you chose?  How did you get your yarn and what did you like about the yarn?? What yarn did you pick?  (Let Charlotte feel the swatch and rub it over her tummy!  Bet she giggles!) 

  The little lesson learned about the gauge.  (Bet you had a bit of a panic when you miscounted the first time!  I could sense that in your first post!  now go ahead and giggle about it.  Verbally share this with lil Charlotte too as she loves anything you tell her at this time in her life!!)

Write down just exactly what you would like to share with her.  And dont forget to include the yarn label with the journal.  If you can include the little swatch you made. (Of course you must use the yarn from the swatch if you happen to run short.)

Trust me when I say that as you go along, you will know what to write in the little journal.  Include approximately how many hours and the time it took you to work on this sweater.  I did go and find it and it really is a cute little sweater.  Perhaps you will make more of them for her, and perhaps in solid colors and in variegated colors!

Finally, dont forget to take a picture of you and Charlotte together while you knit on the sweater!!  Stash that with the journal too!

Happy knitting, Zoë Smile

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