Sunday, June 28, 2009

It all adds up

I finished another 8 oz of the Wisconsin wool that I’ve been working on. That gives me 1.5 lbs spun so far and another pound to go. I'm having to rethink what I was going to do with it because, after having done the swatch, I realize that it's more chunky than I thought it was going to be. If I've figured my yardage right, I only have about 730 yards of 3-ply.

So I’ve now done a swatch to figure out how much yardage I’ll need for a sweater with this yarn and I’m going to have to spin a little more but not too much. Want to know how I figured it out? I learned this technique from Pat Maley at a cotton spinning workshop.

  1. I started a swatch that let me measure over 4 inches with a selvedge on each side.
  2. After I knitted about 1 inch, I knit 4 stitches into the swatch and tied a string tightly around the yarn immediately as it came off the right hand needle.
  3. I measured out exactly 1 yard of yarn and tied another string tightly around the 1 yard mark.
  4. Next I continued knitting my swatch as normal until I was able to measure the rows per inch over 4 inches.
  5. I counted the number of stitches knitted using the yard of yarn.
  6. Then I figured out the stitches per inch and rows per inch.
  7. Knowing the measurements I would need for the sweater, I figured out roughly the number of stitches that would be needed for the body of the sweater.
  8. Now I could divide that total number of stitches by the number of stitches knitted with my yard of yarn which gives me about how many yards I would need for the body. From that number, I guestimated how much I would need for the sleeves.

So, for instance, let’s say (for sake of easier maths) I have a swatch measuring 5 stitches to the inch and 7 rows to the inch. My sweater is going to be 40 inches around which means I will need to cast on 200 stitches. The body is going to be 18 inches from the cast on to the shoulder. 18 x 7 = 126 rows. 126 rows x 200 stitches = 25,200 stitches. Now, let’s say my yard of yarn allowed me to knit 45 stitches. 25,200 stitches divided by my 45 stitches tells me that I’ll need 560 yards for the body. I’ve guestimated that I’ll need another third of that for the sleeves. That’s about 187 yards + 560 yards = 747 yards for the garment. I don't know how close this will give me an idea of where I’m headed.

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