My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


I’m Here to Confuse You

With regard to my blathering about aran gauge yesterday, celtic knitter commented:
Ok, but wait . . . I’m missing something. If the different types of stitch patterns all swatch differently, do you have to add or subtract stitches when you move to a new pattern. For example, if the trinity stitch is 5sts=4″ and the stockinette is 7sts=4″ . . . then do you have to add more stitches when you go to trinity stitch so that the pattern looks even?? Am I making sense?
I’m thinking about making one of these sweaters and I’ve been wondering about this.

Clearly I wasn’t very clear yesterday, was I? Sorry about that! It made perfect sense inside my head . . .

I knit a swatch of each of my different stitch patterns. For the big cable, I actually knitted a swatch with the smaller cables flanking it, and measured across that. Say that measures 6 inches across and say that it’s a total of 40 stitches.

I knit a swatch of Trinity Stitch, I get 16 stitches to 3 inches in Trinity Stitch.

I knit a swatch of Seed Stitch. I get 5 stitches/inch in Seed Stitch.

So. I want a center panel of 6 inches of Trinity Stitch, flanked by my big cable with accompanying side cables on either side. That’s a total of 18 inches across. Say I want a sweater that has a chest measurement of 40 inches. I want the front to be a tad more than 20 inches (allowing for seams), so I add 6 stitches worth of Seed Stitch on each side of the sweater — that’s a tad more than an inch on each side.

So my pattern goes:

A bit more than an inch of Seed Stitch (which is 6 stitches), 6 inches of cable extravaganza (which is 40 stitches), 6 inches of Trinity Stitch (which is 32 stitches), 6 inches of cable extravaganza (which is 40 stitches), and a bit more than an inch of Seed Stitch (which is 6 stitches).

(Don’t count on these numbers to be accurate for Dungarvan — I’m just making them up here for the purposes of illustration).

So if I can add properly, that’s a total of 124 stitches across the front of the sweater for the pattern stitches.

So. Anyhow. Here’s the left front:


Lucy Sez


Would you get that damned camera outta my face? Sheesh!


  1. Makes sense to me!

  2. I love seeing the daily Lucy Photo — please ask her if she’ll continue modeling for you.

  3. That makes lots of sense. One question though – what happens if the row gauge for the different stitches is different? It seems like that would be likely with all of the different cables and stitch patterns.

  4. God, Wendy, the front is gorgeous. Your cable work just blows me away. Thank you so much for explaining all that. I swear, I could not wrap my head around that one. Good question by Becky, too!

  5. Annie B says:

    Makes sense to me. I’m wondering if you “tweak” the transition from the bottom ribbing at all, or do you let it just adjust itself to the differences between the sections?

    Wonderful detail in the pictures – thanks for that!

    And Lucy is the best.

  6. Lucy does look ticked in that picture doesn’t she? hehe

    I think I need to work on my brown nosing ability. You have way more logic and design sense than me. I’m gonna have to play nice so I can pick your brain when I decide to make myself a sweater again. hehehehe j/k

    I can’t wait to see the finished sweater though.

  7. It’s amazing to me how you get pictures of Lucy. My two cats see the camera and either do something stupid (white and black cat Wink) or runs off as though I was aiming a blow torch at her (blue siamese Smeagle).
    I have a question.
    You’re a left handed knitter, correct? I knit left handed-meaning completely opposite of the way it’s ‘supposed’ to be done. I have little problem with it, except that now I want to do a design that has words, and I’m wondering if I should reverse the words so the thing isn’t backwards.
    I had this terrific idea (eye rolling involved here). My friend and I are HUGE Big Lebowski fans. I thought for her birthday I would make her a hat along the lines of those prayer gloves-that have the prayer as the fair isle design-with qoutes from Big Lebowski.
    So, I’ve got all my qoutes graphed out, brim of the hat done, ready to start start the wording, when it hits me.
    I don’t know which way these letters are going to turn out. Should I mirror the letters, or do the horrifying thing and swatch?
    Oh-my Bohus-I have one sleeve and the front left. It’s the first color project I’ve done aside from mittens. I thought I didn’t have enough patience for color work, but it turns out, I just needed something interesting enough, and now, I’ve ordered a Lillehammer kit.
    Because I love yours.

  8. Carolyn says:

    I love the pictures of Lucy almost as much as I love pictures of my baby cat…and he is very helpful with my knitting just like Lucy. She is so yummy and lovely….I’ve got to go annoy my cat now with love!

  9. That sweater front is amazing.

  10. you are incredibly clear……good communication…..I am doing Hebrides….and will attempt to do both sleeves at same time….if do not like, will abandon, but you inspire Risk, Fun, Independence…….and am drooling over Baby Norgi & Sirdahl is next …..after some swatching…..speaking of; am I nutty or what…..I am taking my wool (opposed to any acrylic) swatches & accumulating for an afghan…..a memory blankie as it were…….

  11. Makes perfect sense to me!
    Lucy, you have such lovely blue eyes!

  12. Alice in Richmond says:

    I think I would have to place my fingers in traction for a long time if I knit an aran this fast. Little baby pulleys and weights for my fingers…. Tim Burton could use that in his next movie maybe. Of course Johnny Depp would star in it. Nothing to do with your post really. But I do love the sweater.

  13. Is Dungravan going to be available for purchase sometime in the future? I adore the pattern and the yarn and am itching to make one like it. Jan in Edgewater, MD

  14. Ouch! All that calculating gives me a headache. That’s the reason I prefer to purchase patterns. Too much math has always been my enemy. But I have to hand it to you, Wendy, and others who figure out knitting specs for themselves. It seems like too much work for me, and if it’s too much work, then I’m not having any fun. And I want my knitting to be fun. I know that’s fun for you, but not for me.

  15. I must think in blather…..I knew what you meant already. It’s a good lesson for me, though – when I finally write my cabled sweater pattern I’ll need to include a similar explanation.

  16. Hi,
    I have a question regarding knitting-related injuries. You probably spend a lot of hours knitting; how do you prevent getting repetitive strain injuries? Is it a posture issue?


  17. Wendy, the aran is looking wonderful! What type of button band are you planning? What type of buttons? I was just at the Quilt and Fiber Festival in Hampton this weekend and saw some gorgeous buttons!! Talk about inspiration!

    Carol – Prince George, VA

  18. OK, I’m understading. I’m so bad at math and my head hurts from reading it but I understand what you are doing. Sorry for the confusion. It looks so awesome when you are done!
    Thanks for the link too! I was wondering why my numbers jumped and so I check the stats . . . they’re all from your site! Cool!