Don’t be a blind follower

I’m knitting a sweater that has a pouch pocket in the front. The instructions for the body of the sweater have me mark the row where I’ll pick up stitches to start the pouch a few rows above the bottom ribbing. Then I’m to knit another 7 inches of the body of the sweater before making the pouch.

The pouch stitches are picked up from the body and knit up. I’m to decrease on each side of the pouch every other row 19 times (until I get to the specified number of stitches for my size.) Then I’ll go back to the body and when I get to the point where the body stitches and the pouch stitches line up, I’ll knit them together to join the pouch top to the body of the sweater.

I’ve knit about 5 inches above the pouch marker. I’m knitting in the round on size 5 needles and I have 206 stitches on the needle. It occurs to me that this would be a good time to be a “thinking knitter”. If I knit too far past the pouch join I’m going to have to rip out row(s) of 206 stitches and lose time in the process. [It’s really nice yarn to work with, but let’s be practical here.]

So I did the calculations for the number of rows in the pouch. The pattern doesn’t give a row gauge so that doesn’t help me figure out whether the row gauge I’m getting is going to put me in the ballpark for the join row. Next I count the rows I’ve knit so far on the sweater body from the marked row.

Comparing the two numbers I see that if I’d knit the full 7 inches for the body that I’d be almost an inch above the join row. At 7 rows per inch that’s a painful amount of knitting to undo.

For this pattern I did sleeve length calculations to make sure the decreases specified fit into the length I needed. The other calculation facing me is for the raglan sleeve decreases. I’ll need to make sure the decrease rate is correct for the row gauge I’m getting so I don’t end up with a yoke that is too short or too long.

The math stuff isn’t hard. What’s hard is remembering to do it!

And a quick note to any of you who are near Sunapee, NH.  The 82nd annual League of NH Craftsmen’s Fair is August 1-9 at the Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, NH. I’m going to get my dose of artisan inspiration and visit my friend Carrie Cahill Mulligan and see the fabulous felt hats she’s created. I have one that keeps my head toasty all winter and I can’t wait to see the new ones.

My hat!
My hat!
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Author: Jennifer Kortfelt

Owner, Heron Pond Designs, a fiber and textile exploration.

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