I recently started a swatch for a sweater and I thought it would be interesting to document the process.
I have chosen to adapt this Alice Starmore sweater for my project:
From Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore published 1997
I am using the charts from the pattern.
This is what the swatch looks like:
The original plan was to make a hat, working in the round, to get the gauge. I am using Classic Elite Yarn, classic 150 - 100% merino.
I stopped the swatch, in which I used the pattern stitch, when I got to two inches, and checked the gauge.
The original pattern calls for a gauge of 21 stitches and 27 rows for a four inch by four inch square, but my gauge is 25 stitches and 31 rows for a four inch by four inch square using size 6 needles. I am going to work further on the swatch with U.S. size 7 needles to see if I can get the gauge from the pattern. I will continue changing needle sizes until I get the gauge called for in the pattern.
In addition the original sweater is an unshaped tunic. I am modifying the sweater to match the shaping of a sweater I own and wear all the time. This sweater comes to the top of the hip with some waist shaping, and has a v-neck. I am also planning to make the sleeves closer fitting and bracelet length (or just to the top of my wrist bone). So, I am actually only using the charts from the sweater.
The first step is to make sure I have enough yarn to make the sweater. Second, I am using a sweater pattern generator I found online at Knitting Fool to calculate the total amount of yarn I will need to make the sweater. The skeins needed are approximately 9, which I increased by 30% since I am doing an all-over cable pattern and will need more yarn. Therefore I will need approximately 12 skeins of yarn to make this sweater. One important thing to note about calculating the yardage needed when using this source, it is an estimate, which is why I am adding a few more skeins to make sure I have enough.
Knitting is a process, and sometimes it is best to be a little cautious. Since I am making so many changes to this sweater the yards used in the pattern are not useful to me so I am using a best guess and hoping I have enough. Is this the best way to go about it, I'm not sure, but I have checked other like sweaters, and other sweater yardage calculators and for a woman's sweater in medium, 1100 yards to 1500 yards, depending on the fit, pattern, and length seems to be the norm.
I have 12 skeins of yarn with 150 yards in each and feel as comfortable as I can that I will have enough.
I will definitely keep you posted on the progress in the forum.