One of my current knitting projects is the Paton winter wrap (the one Eleanor spotted in Wollongong Spotlight in previous years. I now have it and happy to share). It uses a Paton yarn called Zhivargo, which I don’t really like, so I bought some Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran (colour: cornsilk) off eBay. It recommends a 6.0mm with the Zhivargo but after doing a tension square, I thought 6.5mm would be okay with the Silkroad Aran (I don’t know what I was thinking!) …
So after having progress quite a bit, I measured the width of the fabric and it was way too wide – it really could not be rescued. The only thing to do is to get involved in this tension square business. I then saw the error of my way. When bigger needles are used, 1 stitch can be over 0.5 mm in width. So, say, over 125 stitches, that would be mean a difference of over 6.5 cm!
Jo Sharp recommends doing a tension square of 40 stitches by about 40 rows. The knitted fabric should then be laid absolutely flat when stitches and rows are counted (using pins, she said). So aiming for a 15.5 st x 21 rows of stocking stitch over a 10 cm x 10 cm, here are my results:
6.0mm – 14 st x 20 rows
5.5mm – 14.5 st x 22 rows
5.0mm – 16 st x 22.5 rows
So what do I do? The least difference is the 5.0mm needles, which over 125 stitches (width of back) will give me a difference of 2 cm. The style of the garment is loose and I reckon it could probably tolerate that resize. But can anyone tell me how might I have gotten such a discrepencies on the row count?
Here’s what I learnt:
- do a big tension square (40 stitches by 40 rows, or thereabouts)
- look at what stich is specified for the tension square
- take the needle out and lie the fabric flat for counting
- convert the dimensions of the finished garment from stitches to cm if these are not given in the pattern for reference
Does anyone one have any tips?