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Knitting a jumper - where do I start?

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2013, 12:12
by meerkatsmum
So I love to knit but so far I have made one pair of booties, bits of a baby cardigan and lots of half finished scarves. I want to make a jumper for Meerkat (probably in a size 3 but size 2 may do). But I have no idea where to start...

I bought a pattern book (it's small with only about 4 patterns) but it turns out that it's designed for a bamboo/cotton yarn and the whole point of me knitting her a jumper was that it would be wool. The pattern says the tension is 18 stitches x 36 rows to 10cm over garter stitch using 4.5mm needles. What does this mean exactly? Will this effect the type of wool I should buy?

Basically,
1) Should I forget about this pattern (it was cheap) and buy a new one that is designed to be knitted with wool?
2) Do I have to buy wool (yarn?) with the exact same tension as is specified on the pattern? So if I were to use this pattern, do I have to find wool that says the tension is 18stsx36 rows?
3) Is the tension always the same or does it depend on how tight you knit the stitches or something?

Sorry, I really have no idea what I'm doing but I really want to knit Meerkat a jumper. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Re: Knitting a jumper - where do I start?

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2013, 12:30
by blackberrycrimble
I'm sure a proper knitter will be along soon to explain properly, but tension is about how tightly you knit. The wool will tell you what size needles to use. Tension can affect the size of the item, so what they are saying is to knit 36 rows of 18 stitches to test your tension. If it measures the 10cm, then your tension is what is needed for the pattern to come out the right size.

What weight of yarn is the one recommended? You could subsitute for wool in the correct weight, I should think.

Re: Knitting a jumper - where do I start?

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2013, 12:43
by Jelly Belly
Exactly what BC said. The yarn used in the pattern is just the suggested yarn and you should be able to do a straight swap of 4ply/DK/aran cotton for 4ply/DK/aran wool. Changing fibre might affect the drape and, therefore, shape of the garment but I wouldn't see it being a problem in a child sized jumper.

And yes, tension is all about how you knit so do a square of your chosen yarn to check it measures the right amount and then get knitting. <at least that is what you are supposed to do but I have a habit of just going for it without the test square!>

One easy to miss thing is the yardage difference - you will probably require a different amount of yarn in wool compared to cotton/bamboo so buy according to yardage rather than the specified number of balls/weight.

Re: Knitting a jumper - where do I start?

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2013, 12:54
by meerkatsmum
Thanks BC.

This is the information of the bamboo/cotton yarn:
Bamboo & cotton blend yarn suitable for the warmer months. Avaliable in 8 colours. 50 gram ball. 70% Bamboo 30% Cotton. Meterage Approx 36m per ball. Needle Size: 4.5 5.5mm. Tension: 10cm x 10cm (19sts x 25rows)


The pattern says:
Tension: 18sts and 36 rows to 10cm over garter st, using 4.5mm needles.

The pattern then gives how many 50g balls of yarn you need for each size.

x-posted with JB
So if I do a test square and it's hugely different to what it is supposed to be, do I then have to try and knit more or less tightly? I'm not sure my skills extend that far!
Thanks for the tip about yardage! I assume you mean that if the bamboo blend is 50m a ball and the wool is 25m a ball, then I just need twice as many balls of wool as I did bamboo?

Thank you both!

Re: Knitting a jumper - where do I start?

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2013, 12:57
by BLTMama
Agree with all re: tension. If you're not particularly attached to the pattern you've chosen though, I might switch to one designed for wool or synthetic rather than cotton/bamboo. Cotton and bamboo have basically no stretch and wool has a lot, so a wool garment made with a pattern designed for cotton is going to come out smaller and stretchier, even if your tension swatch (is that what y'all Brits call it?) seems close to measurement. It will probably be fine and wearable, but it almost certainly won't look like the jumper "on the tin".

Ravelry has lots of lovely free childrens' jumper patterns designed for wool.

X-posted and edited to add: if your tension swatch is hugely different, I'd pick a different yarn or pattern. You *could* change needle sizes to get tension closer to the pattern, but generally you need yarn of similar "weight" (fiber term for relative thickness; cotton yarn will actually be a lot heavier than wool) for a pattern to work correctly.

Re: Knitting a jumper - where do I start?

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2013, 13:05
by Jelly Belly
meerkatsmum wrote:So if I do a test square and it's hugely different to what it is supposed to be, do I then have to try and knit more or less tightly? I'm not sure my skills extend that far!

You would go up or down a size in needles rather than try to change how you knit.

BadgersMommy wrote:Ravelry has lots of lovely free childrens' jumper patterns designed for wool.

Ravelry is awesome!

Re: Knitting a jumper - where do I start?

PostPosted: 07 Jun 2013, 13:28
by meerkatsmum
That makes more sense JB!

Thanks BM - You even put in all the search criteria for me! Thank you!

Wow people are so talented. Ravelry is amazing! Now just to find something that's relatively easy.