Starting with the back of the cardigan, this post explains how to adjust the pattern for a different gauge.
To find out how I devised the yarn & hook combination for the desired fabric (DK yarn & 5 mm hook), please refer to my previous posts* about swatches.
ProblemThe gauge of my swatch did not match that of the pattern.
There were fewer stitches per cm/inch than the recommended pattern gauge.
That meant my row of 20 stitches would be much longer than Robyn Chachula's row of 20 stitches. My test swatches (right) illustrate the difference on a small scale.
If I followed Robyn Chachula's pattern precisely, without adjusting for a different gauge, I imagine that the left swatch could represent Robyn Chachula's pattern and the right swatch, my finished product.
If I crocheted the same number of stitches in each row as the pattern, my finished cardigan would be like the right hand swatch: much bigger than the intended size and it wouldn't fit at all!
- Study the pattern (construction/method)
- Determine the correct dimensions for my size
- Work out how many stitches and rows I need at my gauge to achieve the same dimensions.
1. Study the pattern
I am a visual learner and I love it when patterns have a diagram (also known as a schematic).
The schematic shows me the shape of the finished piece, how it's constructed and how large it needs to be.
This cardigan "is worked in one piece from back to front … beginning at lower back working up and over shoulders, ending at lower fronts. The collar, body and cuff ribbing are stitched directly onto body."
Firstly, make sure the pattern has a size that will fit. I am usually the smallest size or smaller (as in the case of the Petal Pullover).
The original pattern schematic has all of the dimensions for all sizes. The visual clutter of so many numbers can be confusing or tiring for me (having to sort through which is the right number every time I refer to the diagram) and increases the risk of reading the wrong information by mistake, especially with fatigue looking over my shoulder.
I like to photocopy or scan the schematic on its own and enlarge it separately so I can write my own notes all over it without making a mess on the original pattern printout. I will either edit the scanned picture to remove unnecessary numbers or use correction tape or white-out fluid on the printout to cover them.
2. Determine the correct dimensions
On the blank schematic, add the dimensions suggested by the original pattern for the chosen size. Again, red pen is useful because it correlates to the red circles around the size numbers on the pattern and won't get confused with my own notes which I make in pencil.
For fine tuning, grab a tape measure and compare the pattern's dimensions with one's own body measurements and against similar garments that already fit properly. If there is a difference, write the corrected or chosen measurements on the schematic.
I have chosen the smallest finished size where the garment circumference is 33 inches around the bust to fit the body measurement of 32 inches at the bust. For this size, the width of the back panel is listed as 43 centimetres (17 inches).
Green marker ring = right side
Purple marker ring = wrong side
I want my Belcarra cardigan to be a generous fit to wear over multiple layers.
I compared it with my denim jacket which is also worn as an outer layer. The back panel of my denim jacket measured 46 centimetres and is very comfortable so I adjusted the cardigan schematic to make the back width 46 centimetres (18 inches) also.
How long should the back panel be?
On the schematic the front panels and the back panels were the same length as each other.
Using the pattern information, the total length of the cardigan from the top of the shoulder to the bottom edge of the ribbing is:
half the rows of sleeve panel across shoulder + back length + bottom ribbing
(33 cm / 2 or 16.5 cm) + 37 cm + 8.6 cm = 62.1 cm (round off to 62 cm)
(13" / 2 or 6½") + 14.5" + 3.4" =24.4" (round off to 24.5")
Total length of cardigan in smallest pattern size = 62 cm / 24½ inches
I am short; no doubt about it. I also use a wheelchair regularly. A long jacket can be problematic either getting caught in moving parts or difficult to take off because I am sitting on it.
My ideal cardigan length is a compromise: long enough to keep me warm but not too long that it gets caught in my chair. I used the measurements of other clothes to decide upon 58.5 centimetres (23 inches) for the new length of my cardigan.
An understanding of the pattern design and garment construction can help you to choose where to make your modifications. I will adjust the length of the cardigan in the back and front panels. By keeping the ribbing and sleeve panel the same as the original pattern, I can work out the new back length like this:
New total length ˗ ribbing ˗ half sleeve panel rows = back panel length
58.5 cm ˗ 8.6 cm ˗ 16.5 cm = 33.4 cm (round off to 33-34 cm)
23" ˗ 3.4" ˗ 6½" = 13.1" (round off to 13")
New personalised back panel length = 34 cm / 13 inches
3. How many stitches and rows?
The answer lies in the gauge measurements which were tabled in the previous post "Tension Headaches". It is best to decide whether to work in centimetres or inches and stick with the same measuring system throughout a project. My examples have been calculated separately in metric and Imperial measurements respectively to give you examples of the maths.
Swatch E has a tension of 17 stitches across 10 centimetres (4 inches). From that information I can work out (A) the average size of each stitch and (B) how many stitches will fit into 1 centimetre (or inch).
(A) divide the number of centimetres ( or inches) by number of stitches
10 cm / 17 sts = 0.588 cm (round off to 0.59 cm)
4 inches / 17 sts = 0.235" (round off to 0.24")
1 cm / 0.59 cm = 1.69 sts per cm
1 inch / 0.24 = 4.17 sts per inch
When gauge = 17 sts across 10 cm (4 inches):
(A) each stitch will measure 0.59 cm (0.24") across
(B) there will be 1.69 sts per cm (4.17 sts per inch)
Use the same basic formulae to work out (C) average height of each row and (D) how many rows it will take to measure 1 centimetre (or inch). Swatch E measured 11 rows over 10 centimetres.
(C) Divide the number of centimetres (or inches) by the number of rows
10 cm / 11 rows = 0.9090 cm (round off to 0.91 cm)
4" / 11 = 0.3636" (round off to 0.37")
I love the patterns created by dividing by 11. Can you see them? 11 is a fascinating number!
(D) Divide the number of centimetres (or inches) by the row height
1 cm / 0.91 cm = 1.098 cm (round off to 1.1 rows per cm)
1" / 0.37" = 2.703" (round off to 2.7 rows per inch)
When gauge = 11 rows over 10 cm (4 inches):
(C) each row is 0.91 cm (0.37") tall
(D) there will be 1.1 rows per cm (2.7 rows per inch)
With these vital figures, I can adjust the pattern to meet my personalised specifications as noted in Step 2.
|Recycling: large bread tags make cheap and convenient bobbins.|
4. Practical Answers
On my pattern notes, I will write down the gauge measurements that we just discovered above:
1 st = 0.59 cm (0.24")
1 row = 0.91 cm (0.37")
1 cm x 1 cm = 1.69 sts x 1.1 rows
1" x 1" = 4.17 sts x 2.7 rows
My cardigan's back panel needs to be 46 cm wide:
Foundation = 46 cm x 1.69 sts = 77.74 sts
(Foundation = 18" x 4.17 sts = 75.06 sts)
"But you can't crochet a fraction of a stitch!" Of course not! Round it off to either 77 or 78 stitches or the nearest whole number that satisfies the number of repeats or multiples in the stitch pattern.
In this case, the stitch pattern is based on multiples of 2 + 1 which will give an odd number.
Therefore, my foundation chain will be 77 stitches long. (75 sts would also work but I like to err on the bigger size in this instance.)
That's where I began and kept on crocheting without worrying about the rows until I had reached approximately a third of the way through to the desired length.
My back panel was pretty much a giant swatch of sorts. The bigger the swatch, the more accurate the gauge. I took time to double check my gauge from the test swatch (that I made weeks before) against the gauge on the actual garment (and I'm glad I did).
|Back panel (up to yellow ring marker) with the beginnings of the sleeve shaping.|
It's just like a giant swatch!
I could work out the corrected row tension based on the new information that 30 rows equals
25 cm. The previous measurements were abandoned and I wrote down the new reference in big dark letters:
|The back of my cardigan was 40 rows high.|
The row counter is connected to the garment with a stitch marker.
The counter doesn't fit on my hook and
would get in the way there anyway.
I have completed 42 rows and am ready to start Row 43 of work.
1 st = 0.59 cm (0.24")
1 row = 0.83 cm (0.33")
1 cm x 1 cm = 1.69 sts x 1.2 rows
(1" x 1" = 4.17 sts x 3 rows)
The cardigan back needs to be 34 cm (13 inches) long:
34cm x 1.2 rows = 40.8 rows
Depending on the row pattern, I could work 40 or 41 rows. Since the pattern is repeated every 2 rows, I chose to work an even number of rows.
I worked 40 rows and then checked the size against my body and my jacket before commencing the sleeves. Looking good.
Links & References
Belcarra Cardigan, designed by Robyn Chachula, Interweave Crochet, magazine, Winter 2010:
- Crochet Me web site, Interweave: http://www.crochetme.com/media/p/115970.aspx
- Interweave Store: http://www.interweavestore.com/belcarra-cardigan?utm_source=ls&utm_medium=affiliate&cid=05t1rdpCdm4&siteID=05t1rdpCdm4-D3I5nwqeVwa6n_w5wKwdvQ
- Ravelry project page: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/belcarra-cardigan
Chachula, Robyn, crochet designer
- Crochet by Faye, blog: http://www.crochetbyfaye.blogspot.com.au/
- Robyn Chachula, Ravelry Profile: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/robyn-chachula
Lupey Loops, "Cardigan Swatches", blog entry, 30 July 2014:
Lupey Loops, "Tension Headaches", blog entry, 7 August 2014: http://lupeyloops.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/tension-headaches.html