Sunday, 20 March 2016

Playing with sizes

What a difference yarn thickness and needle size can make to knitting the same pattern.  Loving Hands members have access to a range of patterns devised for us by a well-loved member,  Mayflower (as she was known on our forum), who sadly died a couple of years ago.

I have made most of her patterns, and an old favourite is one of her premature baby cardigan designs.  The sleeves are knitted first, then you start knitting the whole cardigan from the bottom up, with the sleeves knitted in when you get to the yoke.  It is straightforward to follow, and has minimal sewing up to be done at the end - just the sleeve seams in fact.  It is the sort of cardigan that I loved to dress my own babies in - easy to get on and off, attractive and - well it looks like a baby cardigan should!

Last week I knitted it in white baby double knit on size 4.00 needles, with the usual reliable result:

With a 15 inch chest, it will fit a large preemie or a small newborn baby.  But the great thing about Mayflower's patterns is that most of them are designed to be knitted in any thickness of yarn, as long as you use appropriate sized needles.  She does this by telling you how many rows to knit, rather than by measuring the length of a garment.  So I set to with the pattern again, this time knitting with 4 ply yarn on size 3.25 needles.

What a contrast!  Here the two cardigans are, side by side:

I really was surprised at the huge difference in size.  The peach 4 ply one turned out with a 9 inch chest, suitable for a 2-3 lb size preemie baby.  This 4 ply yarn is a Brunswick baby yarn from the US, so perhaps it is slightly thinner than a UK 4 ply would be.  I now need to experiment with other 4 ply yarns in my stash to see if I can get in between these 2 sizes.

One of the many benefits of knitting for charities is that size isn't so important: somewhere out there, there will be a baby who will fit the particular size that you have made!

1 comment:

  1. I agree, that is a surprising difference. I love the peach colour.


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