Firstly, I want to thank all of you for your encouragement and kind words after completely losing it yesterday. Having had a good night’s sleep the world is much rosier.
Ok, the real content I wish to share- A true story of Knitting Math.
Many of my wonderful readers have expressed wonder at my ability to alter and tweak patterns so easily and effectively. For all knitting math the watchword is proportion.
Proportions are one of the very few things I learned from an inept 8th grade algebra teacher, but they are (I believe) the most useful math skill anyone can possess. If you have never used proportions I’d like to introduce them to you now.
Knitter… this is Proportion. Proportion… this is Knitter.
“Nice to meet you Proportion, what are you and why the heck should I care?”
“Nice to meet you Knitter. I am a simple math operation by which you can find out any information you wish, as long as you know the original proportion. You are not limited to given pattern measurements once you understand me. Watch how useful I am…
“Knitter Peggy wishes to make a Fishtrap Sweater. The base size given is for a 40″ sweater, but she needs a 48” sweater. What should she do? Gauge up and pray? Add stitches and pray? NO! Knitting is math, and math is here to help the knitter!
“So, Knitter Peggy knows that a 40″ sweater knitted with a gauge of 5 spi in stockinette requires 224 sts, and she wants a 48” sweater… all she needs to do is set up her proportion. If 40 = 224 then 48 = ?
“The trick is to cross multiply and divide. So, (48 x 224) divided by 40 = 268.8
A 48″ sweater will require approximately 268 sts.
“Knitter Peggy started the first sleeve/swatch with her percentages derived from her proportions when she noticed the sleeve was looking a little…um…smaller than expected. Silly Knitter Peggy did her proportions correctly but failed to knit a stockinette gauge swatch. Silly Knitter Peggy imagined her stockinette gauge was 5 sts per inch, when it was really 5.5. Now her numbers/assumptions are all wrong!
Proportions to the rescue!!! If 5 spi = 268 then 5.5 spi = ???
cross multiply and divide (5.5 x 268) divided by 5 = 294.8
“Knitter Peggy rounded 294.8 up to 296 for pattern considerations and has been happily knitting away on Fishtrap ever since. The body of her sweater is 48″ around, the small-ish sleeve was salvaged by continuing the increases to the new percentages. Knitter Peggy tweaked both chest measurement and gauge without swatching the patterns or guessing- and with minimal frustration and frogging.”
Thank you Proportion.
I am not suggesting that a swatch is not a valuable tool. It is. A swatch is a great start. Say you knit a swatch and you love the needles, you love the yarn, you love the density of the fabric, but it’s Not the Gauge Listed In the Pattern. You don’t have to change your gauge to fit the pattern. Proportions. Proportions. Proportions. You can change the pattern to fit your gauge, your knitting style, your recipient’s style, and anything else under the sun.
Your knitting is yours. Own it.