Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bias Striped V-Neck Shell: Did the Math

Bias V wide swatch On Sunday evening I sat down and crunched the numbers for the top I plan to make from the scraps left from Hubby's Striped Turtleneck.

This activity didn't take as long as planning the Schleppy Sweater did (ahem, all day!) but it did take a couple hours. Although to be fair I kept wandering away for various, unremembered reasons.

My plan had been to use the Schleppy numbers as a base and jump straight to the armhole and neck shaping.

It was not meant to be.

A Little Thing Called Gauge
Unlike the Schleppy Sweater, which was knit in the round, this one will be knit flat because of the stripes.

If I tried to knit it in the round the yarn would be in the wrong place on the second row.

As you may be aware, a knitter's gauge with the same yarn on the same needles tends to be different between in-the-round and flat knitting because of the purl stitch. Many people work the purl stitch at a slightly different tension than the knit stitch. Usually it levels out in the end.

Indeed, I got 5 stitches per inch on the Schleppy, but 5.5 on the V-neck swatch. It's a good thing I stopped to check.

Again with the Ease Issues
Fortunately I was able to use the same garment measurement numbers, even though my stitch count was going to change, because I want a similar fit. I'm keeping it "body skimming" because I want to conserve yarn.

This worked fine for the bottom of the sweater, but not so much for the shoulder area.

I didn't have to figure a cross-back measurement for the Schleppy since it was a Raglan. When I went to work the numbers this time I forgot to add 2 inches of ease and was going off my actual body measurements.

Sheesh. At least I realized what I'd done before I got too far. I think the large number of stitches I had to decrease tipped me off.

I Don't Trust the V-Neck Numbers
I feel fairly confident about the armhole shaping. Although it was a little trickier to figure out the decrease interval than I expected, but I probably unknowingly complicated it somehow.

I even decided to do some shoulder shaping, decreasing in steps, rather than just working them straight across.

No, what I'll be angst ridden about this time is the V-Neck. I'm sure it will come out all wrong.

The way I interpreted both Righetti's "Sweater Design in Plain English" and Paden's "Knitwear Design Workshop" what you have to do is figure out how wide you want the opening, then subtract an inch to account for the ribbing.

That is, if you just figure out the neck line, then add ribbing on top, you'll wind up with a much narrower opening than you expected.

I was down with that part.

Figuring out the V-decrease intervals is what almost killed me. I did a lot of flipping around in both books looking at the formulas they offer to address the situation.

Paden's is a little more straight forward as she has you divide, subtract, randomly add 1, draw a couple arrows and ta-da! there is your variable decrease rate.

I think Righetti's formula boils down to that as well, but the presentation in the book is different, which might be more a matter of the progression in layout capabilities in the publishing industry over the years.

Of course, both formulas work much better when you are using the correct numbers. (Don't ask. Oh, all right. I forgot to divide my available number of rows in half to account for not working decreases on the wrong side rows. Happy now?)

Anyway. I struggled with the formulas for a bit (with correct and incorrect numbers) and then realized they weren't working because I want to decrease 19 stitches in 38 rows, which is basically one-for-one. Every other row shaping, here I come.

See, I told you I make this math business more difficult than it needs to be.

Does Shoulder Shaping Counts in Armhole Length?
By then it was time for bed.

But something was bothering me about the top of the sweater so I took a hard look before I started typing them up.

I want the armholes to be 8 inches long. I have 2 inches of shoulder shaping.

I figured I had to work the armholes even after all the shaping decreases for 21 rows before starting the V-neck.

Both books said to work at least half an inch even at the top of the V-neck shaping for it to lay nicely, which is like 4 rows for me. (I don't have the pattern with me.)

Two of those rows will also be shoulder shaping rows.

And that's when I realized my armholes would be 10 inches long.


I had figured the various elements affecting the armholes (shaping decreases, shoulder shaping, and relation to the V-neck) independently of each other.

It should be an easy fix. I just have to figure out how many rows all that shaping with consume and then adjust the work even rows in between accordingly.

Piece of cake.

At least I realized before I started knitting.

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