I'm sort of tricking you by saying this is part one. It's more a pre-KAL post but nevertheless it is still a very important part of the KAL. It contains all the super dooper important information you need to know before you start knitting. It also contains some information about what you need to do before you start knitting the cardigan.
These details are one of the most important parts of a pattern, you should never skip them. Never. Ever. I'm going to explain a little bit about why that is as we look at each part.
In this case, I'm going to tell you it would be really really lovely to work with the suggested yarns. Ethically, you will be supporting small businesses as well as a product that has been produced with the highest regard for the sweet wee sheep and the environment. As you knit you can think about those little sheep frolicking around the paddock with their families AND their tails. You can think about how happy these sheep must be. If that doesn't enhance your feeling of zen-ness when knitting, then nothing will.
However, I do understand that using the suggested yarn is not always possible. Looking at the suggested yarn will tell you a couple of things if you are planning to substitute. It will tell you the weight of the yarn. In this case, it's a 8ply or dk weight.
It will also tell you the composition. Here, it's 100% ethical superfine merino. It's handy to have a basic understanding of different yarns and the way they work when considering a substitute yarn, as not all are equal. Not all can be substituted for each other. When substituting it's a good idea to look for a yarn with similar characteristics. Here the characteristic that you'll be looking for is merino or wool. Using a similar type of yarn will give you as close as possible a result to the original in the pattern. Cotton would work ok. Bamboo by itself will grow, which for a garment as small as this would not be too big a problem but for an adult or even a child's garment, it would be quite problematic.
Be aware that this is what I call a true wool yarn. By that I mean it is not a superwash or machine washable yarn. Superwash or machine washable yarns have been soaked in an acid bath to remove the scales from the yarn or covered with a polymer coating. Those superwash yarns that feel quite slick to knit with are the ones with the polymer coating. This prevents the yarn from felting, which makes it machine washable. Obviously, there are some obvious benefits to a machine washable yarn. The downside is that the lack of scales on superwash yarns mean they are more prone to stretching. I've found I need to treat them far more gently when blocking to prevent this.
Clara Parkes Book of Yarn is a great resource for those knitters wanting to learn more about different yarns and how they work. Or more importantly for the knitter, sometimes don't work!
15(newborn) -16(3mth): 220/205 (250/230) yards/metres approximately.
(1 ball White Gum Wool 8ply or 1 skein Augustbird White Gum Wool 8ply)
15(newborn)-16(3mth): 50/45 (50/45) yards/metres approximately.
If you're not familiar with the term yardage, it tells you how much yarn you will need. Most patterns will refer to the yardage in terms of both yards and metres. A good pattern will always provide the measurements for both imperial and metric. Why? Half the world thinks in metric and the other half imperial and it's not nice to alienate those that think differently, is it. Despite the fact that I live in a metric country and was born a long time after the decimal system was introduced here, when it comes to sizing measurements I always think in imperial. I can tell you the head and chest measurements of all my family members in inches, but ask me for them in cms and I'm going to need to convert.
Anyway, I digress. The yardage will tell you how much you need for each size. For the 15"(newborn) you will need 220 yards and the 16", 250 yards of the Main Colour. So basically you will need almost the full ball. If you're knitting two, you may get enough yarn for your Contrast Colour out of leftovers from the other cardie, if that makes sense, but be frugal with your ends. I think you would definitely for the newborn but it really depends on your personal knitting style for the 3 month size as to how much exact yardage you will use. I do tend to be generous with my yardage estimates, no one likes running out. But even if you're using the same yarn as I do; your own personal knitting style, the way you wrap the yarn, how tight you tension it, and a whole other gamut of things can make the yardage you use different from mine.
22 stitches and 30 rows/rounds = 4” in stocking stitch on 4mm/US#6 needles.
It is advisable to swatch both flat and in the round and adjust your needles accordingly to ensure you maintain a consistent tension throughout this project.
Your tension should be measured over 4" or 10cm, nothing less. I use inches to measure my tension so it will be a more accurate measurement for you too. Why? 4" actually equals 10.25 cm, not 10cm. So if you're measuring your tension over 10cm that could be half a stitch different. Not a big deal on a small garment like this but on a bigger one that may throw your sizing out. Hence, I specify that I measure my tension in inches rather than both. Most tension measurement rulers provide both measurements so in the pursuit of the best fit I don't think it's a small thing to ask. If you don't have one of those, they are a very handy accessory. My favourite one is a Knit Picks one which has a clear window for measuring tension as well as a needle sizer along one side.
So how do you measure tension? And why do I mention swatching both flat and in the round?
Many moons ago on my old blog I wrote a detailed post about why. Along with actually knitting your swatches (yes, that is plural) it would be a good idea to read it.
The link to that post is here: SWATCHING
Beyond that, I'm going to say make sure you swatch with the exact needles you plan to knit with. That means brand, needle tip composition, everything. Different brand needles and different needle tip composition, ie. wood, nickel or carbon) may affect your tension. Wooden and bamboo needles tend to be grabbier (so good for slicker yarns like bamboo and cotton) while metal needles tend to be slicker. Which type of needle you use really comes down to personal preference. Some beginner knitters might find the grabbiness of the wood quite comforting when they-re worrying about the stitches slipping off the needles. My kids are currently knitting on Lantern Moon needles. yep.
Needles and Notions:
This list is basically all the stuff you're going to need to knit the cardigan beyond your yarn. I've listed the needles that are most commonly used to get tension but if you needed to change your needle size to achieve tension, you will need to adjust the needle sizes you need here. If you are a beginner knitter, you may be quite tight. That's pretty normal. You will find with experience and the development of speed your knitting will loosen up.
Small circumference knitting? What does that mean?
Typically, where possible I knit anything that is circular, like a sleeve, in the round. The sleeves for this cardigan are knit in the round. For a sleeve this size, it's a very small circular needle. A 20cm circular. If you wander into any yarn shop, some yarn shop owners are going to tell you there is no such thing. But there is, they just live in the Dark Ages of Knitting. They probably don't have a Ravelry account either. They possibly may not have even heard of it. The Dark Ages of Knitting can be a very helpful place, but at other times it can be a little scary.
Anyway, a 20cm circular is quite tiny and it's not everyone's thing. I love them but I have small hands and they suit my knitting style. (I knit English style in case you're wondering). But they don't suit everyone. For that reason, when we get to that section we'll look at three other options for small circumference knitting. We'll also look at how you can adapt the pattern to knit the sleeve flat and seam it up. It's ok to seam. It's really not all that sinful. I'll show you how to seam beautifully so that you too won't hate it.
If you do want to try a 20cm circular both Addi and Hiya Hiya make them. I have some of both brands and would recommend either equally.
So that's all the important information in a much lengthened format than you will normally find in a pattern.
I've included all this information as it appears in the pattern in the file link below. It also includes the abbreviations list and the schematic. We shall chat about any of these if needed or perhaps even next week.
My aim is to post the first part of the pattern next Monday or Tuesday, all going well. It is school holidays here and I'm sure I don't need to explain what that means!!
P.S. I've added a Pattern Page to Ravelry. You can find it here and start your project off.
Non-Mystery KAL: Gidday
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Textile artist, knitwear designer and teacher.
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