Thursday, March 17, 2016

Recharting a Wider Sweater to Fit On a Knitting Machine

A few years ago someone on the Hobby Machine Group asked how she could knit a sweater she wanted to make when she needed a size 3X and only had 150 needles.    I went into Knitware’s Sweaters 2.5 software and I charted a sweater for a mid-gauge machine with 7 sts, 10 rows per inch. Then I figured out how to turn the whole thing sideways.

Here’s what I did: 
Directions tell us to cast on 206 sts for the front and back which is impossible on  150 or 200 needles.  The sleeve stitches increase from the bottom ribbing to 125 stitches so that’s do-able.  We’ll leave the sleeves as charted but we have to turn the front and back pieces sideways.  By knitting a sweater this way, with the sleeves left as they are, we eliminate the “dolman” look and we have a defined shoulder seam which is slimming.

I’m not going to write the whole pattern out but below the images will give you an idea how I would convert a Knitware (or any software) pattern to work on the mid gauge.  I looked at "Just My Size" catalog and got the measurements for the 3X size.

Using a paint program I’ve turned the above front and back pictures sideways. To help me visualize what I’m doing as I calculate the sts and rows I’ll need.   If you don’t have a paint program, just draw your shapes out on paper.   Remember, we have a gauge of 7 sts/10 rows per inch.

All we have to do is change the stitches to rows and the rows to stitches to refigure this pattern.

Knitware’s Back:  The directions for the original back tell us:
  1. Cast on 206 sts in WY using tension 7 and open end method.  Work 5 rows ending COR (carriage on right)
  2. RC00 Change to main yarn and stockinette stitch.  Work 174 rows.  COR
  3. Armhole shaping:  Cast off 11 sts at beginning of next 2 rows.  COR.  Dec 1 st at each end of every alternate row for 52 rows.  Total 228 rows with 132 sts remaining.  Continue until 270 rows total with 132 sts remaining.
  4. Shoulder shaping:  Cast off 9 sts at beginning of next 8 rows.  AT THE SAME TIME, at row 272 start neck shaping
  5. Shape neck COR.  Thread center 50 sts to WY.  Decrease 1 st at neck edges every rows 5 times.
If we look at the original schematic we see that we need 17.4” from the top of the ribbing to the underarm.  Since we are working with 7 sts per inch (SPI) instead of rows, we need to multiply 17.4 x 7 sts per inch.  That works out to 122 sts.  This should be a closed cast on but considering the fact that we are increasing some stitches for armhole we won’t center it on the bed in the beginning, it will be centered after the armhole stitches are added.  I don’t shortrow, I like increasing on the right with e-wrapping and decreasing by just putting 2 sts together.  All the seams are covered anyway so what difference does it make?

RC 00:  Starting with waste yarn, ravel cord, Ewrap cast your 122 sts on needles 97 to the left to 27 on the right.
Knit 15 rows.
RC 15:  Armhole shaping:
Increase 2 sts every other row 9 times, then 3 sts 6 times for a total of 36 sts ending with carriage on the right.  K 2 rows then ewrap cast on 33 sts to get us from the armhole to the shoulder.

I’m not going to tell you how to do the rest of this, I think you can get the idea from the schematic and directions above. 
Here’s the rest of the pattern if you want to try it:

     1-2 Follow steps 1 and 2 for back.  COR
      3.  Armhole:  Dec for armhole at both ends, as for back.  Continue until 236 rows total with 132 sts remaining
      4.  Shape neck.  COR. Thread center 30 sts to WY.  51 sts each side.
      5.  Right neck: LH needles in HP.  Dec 1 st at neck edge every row 15 times until 36 sts remain.  Then work 19 rows         even.  Total 270 rows.
Shoulder shaping:  cast off as for back
  1. Left neck: COL, work as for right neck, reversing shaping.
 The neckline is deeper so we need to get out the calculators once again but other than that, its fairly easy to convert.

Sleeves are knitted as written
  1. Cast on 70 sts in WY using tension 7 and open edge method.  Work 6 rows ending COR. 
  2. RC00 Change to main yarn and stockinette st.
  3. Inc 1 st at each end of every 5th row 25 times, then every 6th row 3 times to 126 sts (143 rows total).
  4. Work even to total 148 rows. COR
  5. Shape cap.  Cast off 11 sts at beg of next two rows (104 sts rem).  Work 70 rows, while dec 1 st at each end of every 2nd row.  Total 220 rows.  COR.  Cast off remaining 34 sts loosely.

Of course you’ll have to figure out some sort of hem or ribbing after you take the pieces off the machine.  .  Remember one thing, sideways knits tend to stretch vertically but there’s not much give horizontally so keep that in mind, you’ll need to add your ease horizontally.

Copyright 2006 by Rosalind Porter, Traverse City, MI

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