Final blocked gauge for the US 2 is 22 st and 34R in 4” (just barely 22). Final blocked gauge for the US 1.5 is a firm 22 st and @37R in 4”. The fabric is firmer and has less drape. Neither of these needle sizes gets pattern gauge, even remotely, but the fabric made on the US 2 has more give. Use US 2.
Given my gauge discrepancy, I’m going to have to do some modifying of size used to get the right fit:
Make smallest size (34) in shoulders. Consider making second smallest size (36) for the rest of the sweater body. Remember, your gauge is going to give you @5 more inches of horizontal ease at the bust than the pattern calls for but the pattern does call for @3 inches of positive ease. (Assess whether you like this or whether you want to stick with the 34 all the way - to have a more fitted sweater. You could knit 36 at bust and then back to 34 at hip.)
Make smallest size in the arms.
For vertical measurements pay attention to where you’re at in terms of length and when there are increase rows make sure you account for the fact that you’ll have 8.5 rows per inch vs 8 rows per inch.
Unblocked Gauge on US4: 20 st and 29R in 4”
Unblocked Gauge on US 3: 21.5 st and 31R in 4”
Unblocked Gauge on US 2: 23 st and 32R in 4”
Unblocked Gauge on US 1.5 is 23 st and 35R in 4”
So, given how off my gauge was (even using a much smaller needle size US2), I couldn’t make the smallest size without it being too large in the body. I had to scale down to fewer stitches than the smallest size instructs (though my gauge still produces an end product that’s more aligned with the third size). What I didn’t account for was:
- I originally mistook the short row instructions and in the end this cost me hours. After the first 2 short rows, every subsequent row should be wrap, 2 stitches and new wrap. That means there are 2 stitches between each wrap or 3 stitches in the pattern overall. If you get this wrong, the short rows don’t conclude at the second marker (in my case the orange marker).
- You could do the short rows with any fully divisible number of stitches but you’ll get either a sharper or shallower point. I think the strength of this pattern is in the angle of that asymmetry. Since I’m short, I could find extra length required (even though my row gauge gives me a shorter end length than instructed) above the short row section. I also opted to make my ribbing 6 rows high before binding off. I find thin rib (as instructed) always seems to look mean. And often flips.
- You have to ensure that the number of stitches you have, at any given time, is divisble by 4 (for increase / decrease purposes and also divisble by 3 (for short row purposes). I cast on the smallest size so I had 212 stitches when I joined the front and back. But because my row gauge is also quite different from that the pattern posits, I had to delay my increases to every 20th row 3 times (vs every 10th row 10x). That means, at 14.5 inches I had 228 stitches (only increased 12 stitches instead of the 44 the pattern suggests for the smallest size). I also had to knit @10 - 15 extra rows to get to 14.25”. That kept things in check from both width and length perspectives.
- Were I to make this again, I’d do the same sizing as here (the KM altered S given gauge of 5.5 st and 8.5R in 1 inch in Chickadee robust sport-weight) but I’d use fingering weight yarn. That would give me a slightly firmer, less stretchy end product and a bit smaller too - without having to redo the math in yet another size.
- If you opt to make any alterations, the math takes a bit of thought because you have to change the dimensions both vertically and horizontally simultaneously. There’s quite a bit going on at the same time in the short-row section and, if your row and stitch gauge is really off - the first time you have to pay a lot of attention and make a lot of changes on the fly.
- Before you start the short rows, make sure you have the number recommended by the pattern or, in my size, for this version, 228 stitches.
- In my altered size, I determined I could work Short Rows 1 and 2 with the wrap on the 16 stitch (as instructed in the smallest size). Thereafter Row 3 was wrapping 2 stitches after the previous wrap (in a sequence of 4 stitches at the wrap point you would have wrapped stitch, 2 stitches and then another wrapped stitch - 3 stitches batches - 2 regular and one wrapped). Then short rows 3 and 4 are repeated (as a bundle) 32 more times (33 times in total - or 66 rows altogether)
- Pay attention to the stitch counts between short rows as you get to each outer side (going back towards the green stitch marker).
- Like I said, this - my first version - may be a bit loose in the end. I just hope it fits in the shoulders. Worst case, I might stick it in the dryer, post-blocking and once dry. Chickadee loves to shrink. I’ll just need to be careful about it.
I don’t know if this is going to block great and be a total hit or if it’s going to be yet another sweater I won’t wear because the tensile properties of the fabric one can handknit are simply unappealing when it comes to hand made sweaters as far as I’m concerned. Stay tuned.
Body took 239g of yarn (including neck ribbing).
Cast on the smallest size for the sleeves. I’ll consider starting the decreases immediately after completing the short rows if I feel that the smallest sleeve (at my gauge) isn’t small enough…
Though I went totally mathy and off road (with final results being almost what the smallest size instructed), in the final analysis, it would have been easiest for me to just follow the smallest size sleeves. I did decrease once, immediately after completing the short rows, I should have waited till the 2” mark.
In the end this took 331 g of yarn - @90 grams were sleeves. I did end up lengthening the bottom by another 5 rows of rib (@12 in total) because I felt it needed more length on the short side).
I pin blocked to these dimensions (which the yarn seems flexible towards):
- Sleeves: 6” (for 12” total circumference) (this is the area I’ve blocked most aggressively - my gauge got me to 11” pre-blocking) Note: in the end it only blocked to 11”
- Length short side: 16.5” Final: 16” or less long
- Length long side: 23.5” Final: 23” or less long
- Hip: 19” (for 38” total circumference)Final 18.5”
- Shoulders: 12.75” from tip to tip - this I had to block a bit smaller than knit… Final 13.75”
- There’s no waist shaping so the bust circumference is, like the hip circumference, 38”
For future reference - Chickadee retains vertical blocking dimensions slightly better than it does the horizontal ones. It is more prone to shrink horizontally (mainly in the arms and hips). It didn’t shrink overly much but it also didn’t block to my proposed dimensions as perfectly as I would have hoped.
So it’s got to happen. I need to rip back to just before the under arm and redo the sweater with the dimensions I used for version 2 (the fitted version). It will be so wearable then as the colour and yarn are great.
Ripped back to 2 inches below underarm (to one row before I made the first increases). Was at 212 stitches at this point. Knit 6.5 inches straight and then continued with the instructions for the second, fitted version of this (see Projects page).
The weirdest thing is that, even though I removed width from this in the bust and waist, by making it a bit longer, I used the exact same amount of yarn. (Also, I did add a couple of rows of ribbing to the neckline as I felt the original dimensions were a bit too wide. Seems to have fixed the issue without adding too much height at the decollete. It’s blocking to preferred dimensions now. Will upload new photo and provide more deets then.
I blocked the sweater for a long time to allow the kinkiness of the unwound yarn to settle. (Note: one skein of the unwound yarn was re-hanked and washed so it didn’t really need a lot of time to block. But I wanted to give the curly yarn a chance to relax.