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Old 06-27-2012, 06:28 AM   #1
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Adjusting for tension in Aran pattern
Hi all,

I have a pattern for a man's Aran jumper, which I want to knit for my husband. However the pattern's tension recommendation is for stocking stitch, not for the Aran pattern. The tension should be 20sts to 4in (i.e. 5 sts per inch). My tension swatch in stocking stitch is 4.83sts per inch (14.5sts over 3in).

Now for a smaller garment I would consider this to be acceptably close, but on a man's jumper (that ends up approx. 49 inches in the finished chest measurement) this could result in an increase of nearly 2 inches if it was in stocking stitch - making it a size bigger than expected.

If this was a plain stocking stitch pattern I would adjust by knitting to the next size down, and ending up with the chest measurement I wanted. But I have no idea whether to just knit to the next size down for Aran patterns. Can anyone help?

For background, and don't feel you need to read this bit, I've knitted a lot of stocking stitch garments over the years, but always hated knitting even rib, let alone complicated Aran or lacy patterns. However I've just begun teching myself 'continental' style knitting (i.e. holding the yarn in the left hand). This method is so much faster than English-style knitting (for me at any rate), and now I'm enjoying knitting rib!

I started practising all the stitches I've avoided up until now, including some classic Aran stitches, and it's got me in the mood for knitting an Aran jumper. I found a nice Patons pattern, but bought 100% wool from New Lanark Mills rather than Patons, as they didn't have any colours my husband liked. I calculated the number of balls needed by yarn length, not weight, but I've become stuck by the fact that the tension swatch is in stocking stitch, not the Aran pattern. And being so unexperienced when it comes to textured patterns I find I'm stuck!

Thanks all for listening to my ramblings!
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Old 06-27-2012, 07:10 AM   #2
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Often with complicated stitch patterns, the gauge swatch will be measured over stockinette st, knowing that if you get the given gauge, you'll be fine over the pattern sts. Why not try using a size smaller needle to see if you can get to 5sts/inch in stockinette? I routinely drop down a needle size (or two) to get gauge.
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:51 AM   #3
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I agree. Since it's too hard to measure gauge in complicated stitches, stockinette is given as the gauge to match.

If you get that as close as you can, then blocking can take care of the rest.
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:52 AM   #4
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Sometimes when there's several stitch patterns, or in lace, the gauge is supposed to be in stockinette stitch. They figure if you match that, the other sts will be okay too. So you don't quite have 5 sts per inch, try a smaller needle, and make sure you CO about 24 sts to get an accurate measurement. The edge sts shouldn't be included because they curl under and will be a little different size than the other sts.
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:52 PM   #5
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I much prefer doing my gauge swatch over st st!

Your gauge (as is) is way too big. Don't be tempted to use that needle size. Over the course of the sweater, you'll end up with a sweater big enough for an elephant.
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