Monday, February 16, 2009

Math Mania

Shalom, for me, was mostly about the math. With both the age-old knitting nemesis
(nemesises??) -size and gauge - to change, I had two math problems to solve.

Size was the easiest. The pattern was written for one size only. Would that have been MY size? No, but being a student of Elizabeth Zimmermann , it was not difficult to solve that problem. Gauge times desired circumference and 'Bob's your Uncle'. Done.

Never one to limit the number of challenges present in a project, I wanted to use a yarn that was a different gauge than the yarn called for in the pattern. The pattern called for yarn that would knit to 13 stitches over 4 inches. My yarn knit to 20 stitches. That's a big difference. So in addition to recalculating the size, I had to re-write the pattern for a different yarn gauge.

Fortunately, somewhere along the line in my knitting career, I learned a little formula to change pattern gauge. Where I first came across it, I do not remember. But the number of times I have used it over the years, - and always to great success - are countless. Today, I share it with you. And believe me when I say - " Knitters, get a pen and write this down."


M over P
(Translation - M divided by P)

M stands for MY, as in My Gauge. P stands for Pattern, as in Pattern Gauge.


Things always come easier for me if I use a grade 3 example. So, without meaning to insult the many, brilliantly-mathematical knitters, let me give an example.

Suppose you purchase a pattern that calls for yarn at 20 stitches over 4 inches. BUT, your yarn that you wish to use for your project knits to a gauge of 16 stitches over 4 inches.
Using the formula, divide 16 by 20. 16 divided by 20 = 'point 8' (.8).

Point 8 is your factor. Everywhere the pattern states to do something with a particular number of stitches, multiply that number by your factor.

For example, if the patterns states, 'Cast on 100 stitches'. Multiply 100 by the factor.
100 x .8 = 80. Eighty is the number of stitches to cast on with your yarn.
If the patterns tells you to decrease to 90 stitches, multiply 90 times the factor. 90 x .8 = 72 . Using your yarn decrease to 72 stitches. At times your multiplication will lead you to a fractional number. 'Knitters' intuition' will tell you whether to round up or down.

Of course, the same thing needs to be done with row gauge.

There you have it. Tickety boo. You have just re-written your pattern.

And how do I remember, in the heat of knitting-gauge angst, that the formula is m divided by p and not the other way around? I think of 'member of parliament' -as in 'your local MP'. Of course, that only works if you come from Canada.


Anonymous said...

I thank you for the great infomation. I've got an idea that could use this much simpler way of of figuring out gauge.

LaurieM said...

That is very clever! I've modified before but without the handy formula. This will make it easier, I'm sure.

Sel and Poivre said...

This is Knitting GOLD! I'm checking blogs on the fly - I have to come back later when I can focus and retain this!