Monday, May 12, 2008

My First Sweater

So I've decided I will make the Extra Easy, Extra Fabulous Sweater from Lion Brand Yarn Free Pattern Database but as Lion Brand Wool is not available in New Zealand, I've had to be creative with yarn substitution.

The yarn the sweater is designed around is the
Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Oatmeal which has a gauge of 9 stitches for 12 rows to 4"/10cm on a ginormous 9mm needles. Here's a swatch of the colour:

Click to view detail of 640-123

I went to my local yarn store Knitting World and talked to the clerk about a substitution. There is not equivalent in thickness to the Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in New Zealand, so she suggested I could either use two strands of a thinner yarn on the 9mm needles or a yarn that is slightly thinner than the super thick Lion Brand and use the stitch count in the pattern for the larger size so it will end up being smaller by using a thinner yarn and needle. I thought using two strands of yarn would lead to disaster so I decided on this:

Patons Inca in Shade 7001 50g/58m using 7mm needles and a gauge of 13 stitches by 18 rows to 4"/10cm

I used this guide to substituting yarns to work out what to use instead of the
Lion Brand. I did two swatches of Patons Inca one using the gauge on the ball at 13 stitches by 18 rows which accurately came out at 10cm and another according to the pattern of 8 stitches by 12 rows which came out at 7cm. So taking my measurements I would be a Small if I knitted in Lion Brand so what I need to do was stitch in a bigger size which would give the equivalent of a 36" bust. I've cast on according to the 2X size with the Patons Inca which at a 52" bust x 0.7 = 36" bust, well hopefully. I've knitted my first ball which has got me from the eight rows of garter stitch and an inch and a half up the stockinette stitch which will form the lower back. Looking at my piece spread accross two needles it looks to be about 18" which is right on gauge, hurrah! I only bought one ball as the clerk suggested I knit up one ball and see if I liked it.

Now however I'm happy with the yarn and the gauge so I need some new balls. I used this guide to work out how many yarns I will need to buy. In the original project working in size 2X then 8 balls would be required with each
Lion Brand ball being 97m, so 776m in total. EAch Patons Inca ball is 58m as its 50% wool, 30% acrylic and 20% alpaca vs. the Lion Brand being 86% acrylic, 10% wool, 4% rayon so the Inca ball will be heaver per metre so is shorter for the 50g ball. So I need 776m of yarn using 58m balls, equalling a whopping 13.379 balls of yarn which will need to be rounded up as you can't purchase 0.379 balls. Yikes, even at the cheap NZ$6.50 a ball that is NZ$91 but I guess that is pretty similar to the cost of a new sweater if you bought it new. I'm not sure it will be the most attractive sweater but it will be warm, be able to be chucked over everything and with the rising cost of heating, wearing a thick jersey is a good idea. Also using thick yarn makes it easy to pick up mistakes and this is my first sweater so I'm sure I'll love it no matter what it ends up looking like. I'll take the bus down to the yarn shop at lunch time and will try to barter a discount due to the number of balls being purchased.

No comments: