First sweater ... huh?

Hi all,

So, when I was back in Seattle, I was talking to a very nice guy in a yarn shop about various things, and somewhere mentioned that I wanted to try my first sweater but was trying to get up my courage. He told me "if you've done socks, you already know most of the techniques."

Well maybe, but construction is full of surprises!

I'm working on Brownstone, by Jared Flood. ( Several folks seem to have done it as their first sweater and I like the look. Of the model too. ;)


Err...anyway, a couple of issues.

1: gauge. The gauge is 18 stitches/28 rows = 4 inches. It looked okay in the swatch but now, while my stitch count is right on the mark, I'm getting more like 26 rows to 4 inches. So by the time I finished my first sleeve and got to the right stitch count, the sleeve was about 2 inches longer than the length I was supposed to knit up to *after* achieving the stitch count. The good news is that it lines up perfectly with my underarm. So I'm not too worried yet as the body length is pretty much measure-as-you-go and not dependent on a particular number of stitches, but am I going to run into problems when I do the yoke? Or should I re-swatch on a smaller needle before starting the body?

I swatched on a circular (all right-side, carrying the working yarn over the back for each row) but the sleeves are done on dpns. It's confusin'.

2: What should be obvious to someone who's done this:
I've done the first sleeve, and all's well, but I'm a bit confused by the instructions:

Knit until 7 (8, 9, 9, 10) stitches remain in round. Break working-yarn leaving a 7" tail. With a tapestry needle, thread remaining 7 (8, 9, 9, 10) stitches of round onto waste yarn, remove marker when you encounter it, then continue to thread the next 7 (8, 9, 9, 10) stitches from L needle onto waste yarn. You will now have 14 (16, 18, 18, 20) stitches held on waste yarn that are centered directly over your sleeve “seam.”
Set sleeve aside and work 2nd sleeve by repeating the above instructions once more.

My question is, what about the other stitches? Do I thread them separately? Or do I leave them on the DPNs and go out and buy a second set to do the second sleeve? I suppose I could just stick them on a spare circular needle in the meantime? As long as I'm not supposed to be binding them off. ??

Thanks in advance for you help!



A spare circular will do nicely for those stitches, destined to be knit as part of the yoke. If you don't have one, you can do what I do, i.e. bind them off with waste contrasting color acrylic yarn of approximately the same weight.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

I'm not familiar with the Brownstone pattern. You could always put the rest of the stitches onto a separate yarn or extra circular until ready to start the yoke. After all, they won't be going anywhere. Lots of luck.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

TheKnittingMill's picture

bobinthebul's picture

Thanks for the answers!

What about the gauge? I figure if the sleeves end up being too long, that will become obvious when I'm ready to attach them and I can always rip back a bit (and fudge in an increase if I lose one in the ripping). The body is mostly measure-as-you-knit, but will the 26row:18 stitches instead of 28row:18 stitches ratio cause me problems on the yoke? Or should I just go down a needle size to make sure?

scottly's picture

I think I'll stick with socks.....even your questions confuse me.

twistknit's picture

I looked at the description on Brooklyn Tweed's website and you need needles that are one and then two sizes smaller than the Gauge needle. My question is: are you using the correct size needle at the appropiate part of the pattern? Maybe start the body of the sweater and see if your is where it should be. Some people knit different with double points and circs.
I would leave the Extra stitches on different circs or waste yarn that is a different color from the seam waste yarn.

bobinthebul's picture

Hi, thanks for the response. Yes, I started in one size smaller (4.5 mm) for the cuff and then went up to the suggested gauge needle (5 mm). I think it may be a combination of tighter knitting on DPNs and perhaps a the fact that 50% acrylic 50% wool yarn has a bit less spring in it. (Good 100% wool worsted is kind of thin on the ground here...plenty of sportsweight but for some reason not in worsted.)

I think I'll do the other sleeve the same way (if I have to rip back an inch in the end it won't hurt me) and then re-swatch for the body, perhaps with a bit larger swatch for accuracy. I don't want to do 2+ inches of ribbing and an inch of body on 176 stitches and find out that it's too long. :)

raydio's picture

I'm confused as to how you ended up with a sleeve too long, when your row gauge is smaller than the one called for.

If the pattern says to x number rows, you would end up with a shorter piece, not a longer piece.

The picture looks like there is a lot of ease at the underarm so when you have been testing the length by trying it on, you may have held it to high under the arm, where you might like it to be, but not as it will be in the finished garment, and therefore it might not really be too long.

A raglan armhole is quite different from one on a capped sleeve. If you look at the next to last pic, the place where the sleeve joins the body is quite a bit down from the actual underarm. Some of the ease is folded in under the model's arm in all the pix.


bobinthebul's picture

The number of stitches was right, but the row gauge was not; it was coming out 26-27 to 4 inches instead of 28. So 28 was giving me a swatch longer than 4 inches. It was strange that it was happening when the stitch number was right (18).

Anyway I'm going with it; I usually wear an extra-large but I saw a comment that a person my size (though with a few less kilos on him) made the large and it came out too big. I'm hoping it will all even out. since the length is more or less measure-as-you-knit, I'm mostlly not bound to any particular number of rows. and the width is fine. We'll see how it looks when I start on the body. (I already have actually, but am just getting to the end of the ribbing.)

And if it's too big, I can always wear it over something, or it will make a good Christmas gift for a very tall someone who happens to be my BF. :)) (The sweater curse is probably weaker if it's an unintentional gift, right? Especially if what he really wanted was socks?)

AKQGuy's picture

Lascivious dreams of socks null and void all bf sweater curses. At least thats what the cards tell me this morning.

bobinthebul's picture

Mmmm, I like your cards.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Me, too. And I think the fact that it's an unintentional gift just adds to the blocking of the curse.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

HuskerChub's picture

Row gauge is very difficult to get right and even more difficult to explain. It has to do as much with tension as needle size. Yes, tension also affects stitch size but in a different way. It's almost impossible for me to explain it and I don't know a sure fire fix, sorry.

It's easier to explain in machine knitting terms. There is a long yarn mast with a tension dial on it that the yarn passes through on its way to the knitting carriage where there is also a tension dial. The tension dial on the carriage affects the horizontal size of the sts (sts per inch) while the mast tension + weights affects the vertical size of the stitches (rows per inch). You can use less tension in the mast while keeping the carriage tension the same and get less rows per inch or increase the same tension to get more rows per inch. I know the physics of why it happens but I don't know a good fix for it....sorry. If you are only off a small amount, I believe you are on inch longer? Then you can probably block out the extra inch. As for the effect on the yoke I cannot say, your row gauge may well change between dpn's and circs.

raydio's picture

I see now that I mis-read your gauge. I had you getting more rows per inch than the pattern called for.

It's a nice cardi and I can wait to see it!