I am assuming a lot here. Have you knitted your swatch in your stitch pattern? Have you measured your swatch? Did you record your stitches and rows per inch or 10 cm? I knew you did. You’re the best students ever!
What in the world is the conversion factor? It is a simple mathematical calculation which will give you all the freedom in the world. Once you master this you can adapt your own yarn choice to your patterns. First you must choose an appropriate yarn substitution, or you will risk ending up with a 5-pound sweater with no drape that grows longer forever until you finally put it in the back of the closet because you spent a lot of money on the yarn. Sounds familiar?
As I mentioned in a previous post, this technique works for hand knitting, too. Our primary focus will be machine knitting. Brand and gauge of machine does not matter, as you will soon see. Exciting, right!?!
Pick a pattern you want to knit. I will be walking you through a basic pull-over/jumper but feel free to choose your own. Every pattern will have a suggested yarn. Often the yarn label will tell you the best needle size for that yarn. This will give you an idea of which knitting machine will be most appropriate. Decide your tension and make your swatch.
Measure your swatch and record your stitches and rows per inch. (See post Reading the Swatch for details)
Take your recorded stitches/inch (A) and divide it by the pattern’s stitches/inch (B). This equals your conversion factor (C).
Formula: A ÷ B = C (Conversion Factor)
Example: Your gauge is 5.5 stitches/inch, the given gauge is 5 stitches/inch, therefore the conversion factor is 1.1. (5.5 ÷ 5 = 1.1)
How to Use It
You will multiply every stitch number in the pattern by the conversion factor.
Example: Pattern states CO 100 stitches. Conversion factor is 1.1 so you should CO 110 for your substituted yarn. (100 × 1.1 = 110)
Convert decreases, increases and all stitch related numbers with your conversion factor. Write it on your pattern before beginning to knit as a reminder.
Now do this for the rows.
It is just that simple. You are now free to choose whatever yarn you want to use with whatever pattern you want. Empowering, huh?
We will next discuss all the buttons, levers, dials and switches.
Paulina LaShawn combines photographic images and traditional textile techniques to create one of a kind works. Toia incorporates her study of indigenous textiles and her photography to produce art, born of photography and emerging woven cloth. Whether she uses Chinese silk and hair embroidery or a combination of weaving techniques, she can weave your story and fine art image into a beautiful tapestry.