The Design Process – Finished, no – more math, yes!

Posted on | March 30, 2007 | 2 Comments

Yay! The back is finished and I’m ready to move onto the front! If this was a pullover, I could just cast on the same amount of stitches and follow the back numbers until I got to the front neckline, but no such luck. I need to figure out how many stitches to cast on for each front taking into account the button placket.

I cast on a total of 95 sts for the back, so we’ll start by dividing that in half which gives me 47.5 stitches. Don’t like that, so I go down to 47. 47 doesn’t work with the 2×2 ribbing, so I go down one more to 46. But I also have to account for a button placket here, which will be 1.25″ wide which would take up about 6 stitches. The 6 stitches then are divided in half (the placket sits evenly over the center front) so we now have43 sts to work with. Again, this doesn’t work with the 2×2 rib, so let’s try 42. Now I need to check and see if the 42 stitches work with my lace pattern (42-4=38, 38/7=5.42……) nope. So I figure out that I either need 39 stitches or 46 stitches. I decide to go with 46, even though it’s 1/2 of my total back. It’s always better to go bigger with a button placket since they tend to pull.

So I cast on, work my rib and pattern til I have 15″ worked. It’s now time to figure out the neck decrease frequency.

On the half, I have 24 neck stitches to decrease and 14.5″ to work them, or 116 rows. If we divide 116 by 24 we get 4.8333333…. hmm, not so even. So what do I do? Well, we have a special formula for uneven, unruly numbers like this.

1. I take the 2 even numbers that are closest to the 4.8333 – which are 4 and 6 (these are your frequency numbers).
2. Next I multiply the total number of decreases by the first number which is 4 (24×4=96)
3. Now subtract 96 from the total number of rows (116-96=20)
4. Divide 20 by 2 (20/2=10)
5. Multiply second decrease number (6) by 10 (6×10=60 rows)
6. Subtract 60 from 116 (116-60=56 rows)
7. Divide 56 rows by 4 (56/4=14)
8. Divide 60 rows by 6 (60/6=10)

So after all that, I determined that my decrease frequency is every 4th row 14 times, then every 6th row 10 times. I’m sure this might not make much sense, but if you pick up Maggie Righetti’s book Sweater Design in Plain English, it will make MUCH more sense.

At the same time I’m doing all this neck decrease business, I’m also following all the underarm shaping and shoulder shaping as established on the back. And here’s what I end up with:

A left front! ok, there was supposed to be a picture here, but things have been a bit crazy around these parts lately! I don’t want to delay the post any longer, so please us your ultra creative mind to picture a left front :) (I actually wrote this on 3/15!)

This is it for the math for awhile – at least until I get to the button placket. The second front will be knit up exactly as the first. To make absolutely sure they actually do knit up the same, I keep a small 3×4 notebook handy to mark all of my decreases and rows. It’s especially important in this case since I am working in pattern and would like it to match up evenly at the side seams and across the front. The little book also helps when you put the project down for a day or week or year or two. It’s always easy to pick up where you left off.

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  • Kelly

    Ahh, my head hurts! I’m just glad you know what your doing. I’d rather just put my trust in you designers, I think:)

  • Connie

    Hi Melissa, it’s fun reading through your thought processes as the math gets figured out. Good to know that it’s always good to go a little bigger with the button placket rather than smaller. I think I made that decision recently too, but I hadn’t reasoned it out as well as you :)

    And I recognized Maggie Righetti’s formula! :) It is a great book – lots of examples.

    I can’t wait to see your finished product – both the yarn and idea are lovely.