Learning to knit to a specific size(4 Posts)
I'm a fairly new knitter but seem to be good enough at it. I've now done things on circulars, dpn's, Kitchener bind off, a few cables etc. Now my husband has asked me to knit him a Christmas jumper . I'll get going on trying out fair isle on a hat or something but how do I learn to knit-to-fit. If I knit a test swatch, what size are they normally? Do I knit x number of stitches and rows (based on the yarn wrap) then measure it, or do I knit say 5" square then count stitches? If my swatch is bigger or smaller than suggested, do I change needle size ( and if so, bigger or smaller? How does it work?). It do I add stitches to the pattern?
Any good recommendations for things to knit that will allow me to practice knitting to a size? Also are certain yarns or fibres better in terms or forgiveness?
I will start with something for me I think but would be good to know if there are certain styles or patterns that work better than others. For instance does some ribbing allow more room for error?
Sorry for all the questions! I am newly obsessed
Most people do get more or less the right tension with the needles and yarn recommended in the pattern. Normally I knit a test swatch about 5 sts more than the stitches per 10cm. The knit till it's a bit longer than 10cm. Press it carefully then put in pins 10cm apart and count stitches/rows. It's more important to get the stitches count right than the rows, most patterns have somewhere where a few extra rows can be added.
If you have too few stitches for 10cm (you knit loose) go to a size smaller needle, if you have too many (you knit tight) go up a size. Within half a stitch, don't worry . Best not to add stitches to a pattern.
In terms of yarns cotton and some other "summer" yarns aren't very stretchy so can make some people knit them loose, or very textured/fancy yarns can be hard to handle, but ordinary wool or acrylic type yarn tends to knit up fine.
Have you any DC or kids of friends you could try a mini-jumper to test your technique? Or something like a tank top would be quick to make.
A hint for fair isle - very easy to go too tight. When I knit with 2 colours in the row, I try to make the strands very loose and give it a little stretch every so often to keep it even.
Also for bloke jumpers- measure a jumper he already has that fits him well and knit the size that matches it nearest!
I should have said, if you need to change needle size knit another test swatch so you know it's worked!
Thank you fossil that is very useful. Earlier I tried to knit a swatch using the number of stitches per the wrap; but as you may be hinting at, the curling of the stocking stitch is making it very hard to tell if I knitted the right tension. I will try again using your way, which makes more sense. I think I was about there but not sure if I was stretching the swatch as I unrolled the edges.
Very good tip about measuring an existing jumper too. No DCs, but do have nephews and nieces I could try something for.
Great tip on the fairlisle too, I haven't started my hat yet but about to get going and will soon be
tearing my hair out an expert I'm sure
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