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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
WELCOME TO OUR WORKSHOP SECTION. Please be sure you check out all our open and closed workshops in the Workshop home section.

Just go to the top or bottom of this page (same line as the page numbers)and click the "Knitting and Crochet workshops with Designer1234" There you will find many workshops taught by our volunteer teachers, all members of KP -You are welcome to use all the information on this closed workshop and we hope it is helpful


HI EVERYONE!----------

I hope you enjoy this workshop. (for the Coat of many colours it is actually more of a class - where you will learn a new technique for designing your own sweater.

The top down will follow a pattern and you will design different elements for it to make it an original. Shirley Designer

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
----------------- INFORMATION

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The first one we will talk about will be my COAT OF MANY COLORS .

This sweater (A) is a drop sleeve cardigan with a plain colored yoke and a multi colored bottom section. The bottom section will be knitted vertically. It is knit from the bottom UP.

You will also need to have markers on hand -- scissors, blunt needle - and whatever other knitting supplies you use.

NOTE: please set up a NOTEBOOK
You will use a notebook to keep track of what you are doing - number of stitches, inches, all the things you do - you won't remember it for future use -
plans for your 'A" COAT OF MANY COLORS

You can decide whether you want to use
#1 different variegated yarns, for the bottom, plain colored
yoke and sleeves

#2 - different colored yarns from your stash ( that is what I used in the avatar.

My sweaters are all done with the variety of colors -but be prepared to spend some time weaving in your ends- ( I found it easier to do this as I went along
rather than wait until the sweater was finished.

3 = do your sweater in one color using different patterns.

#4 - or do your bottom in different width stripes or the same width stripes. remember when the bottom is finished the stripes will be vertical - not horizontal the way it is knitted.
You can do the bottom of the cardigan in one long piece ,knit sideways around the body - incorporating strips of color, intarsia colors (like my avatar), different colors and different stitches -- or one or two plain colors.
Once you follow the ideas here, you will knit the bottoms sideways in strips but turn them before you start the yoke so that the strips will then be vertical.

YOU will be the one who designs this sweater- I just help you figure out the method.

I have decided to do my sweater the way I always do -first the back and then two fronts separately - and I rather like doing it that way - especially if you want to take a tuck under the arm to help shape the sweater.

f you want to do it i IN ONE PIECE AROUND THE CIRCUMFERENCE you will have to divide it under the arms , holding both fronts on holders while you do the back -- etc. (we can decide that when you get your bottom finished.)

---------------I M P O R T A N T !!-------------------

You do NOT have to mark down all the following measurements to make these sweaters. HOwever, I strongly suggest that the more measurements of your body you can have together in your notebook -the easier it will be to do your own designing-

For the "Coat of many Colors sweater- you will need the measure #4 on the list- and also measure from your under arm to 2 or 3 inches above where you want the bottom of your sweater or coat.
For the TOP DOWN (B), you need to measure the circumference of your neck -- if you want a high neck, - you can then add inches if you want a wider neck line.

We will do the other measurements as we go along.
As you take your measurements please put them in your notebook for future use.

1: circumference of YOUR NECK - -
2-Around the bust --circumference
3: around the waist (circumference)
4: Around the widest point of your stomach or hips -- If you have a larger measure ment around the stomach then use this measurement - if it is the hips , use this measurement.
5: Length from the back of the neck where the neck band or collar will be to the waistline.
5A-from the neck to where you want the yoke to end (under the arm works best)
6: Length of the front of the neck where the collar or neck band will be to the waist line -- There should be at least 6" difference between 5 and 6 --
I usually do a straight back neck and have it fairly narrow and have the front neck dip lower - especially if I am doing a pullover - as it has to go over the head and I like the fit better than a wider neck--
7: width across of back neck - straight across from one side of the neck to the other. 7a- width of top of sleeve to the shoulder-
8: length of each front side of the cardigan- starting at the shoulder seam, and curving to to top of your cardigan -- YOu can vary this measurement with each sweater. You can also add a collar --this can be adjusted to the sweater you decide to make -- put this measurement in anyway so you will have it.
9 - You now will measure from the shoulder neck to the
bottom of the yoke. I always use at least 7" most of my cardigans are more than that. -- if you are busty -- you will measure to the neck and when the time comes to knit your sweater you will use larger needles for the front portion and also, if you are knowledgeable enough you can use short rows to increase the size for the bust --The yoke measurement should be from the shoulder to under the arm - where it will be attached to the bottom of the sweater.
10 - from the bottom of the yoke to 2"-3" above the length of your sweater-
11.You will also measure straight up from under the arm to the shoulder - this will be a DROP SLEEVE-CARDIGAN so you don't need to shape the shoulder. If you are an experience knitter you may decide to shape the arm holes but I recommend you knit along with us. All my original coats of many colors are drop sleeves.

REMEMBER: WE do this sweater (A) by MEASUREMENTS - NOT BY PATTERN -- it is not difficult.- but it is a different way of doing things. You should not have to look at a pattern while you do this, unless it is at the neck and you know the number of stitches you like around your neck.
We will be using worsted weight yarn - or sport weight yarn -- if you do the bottom in worsted - you will do the sleeves and yoke in worsted, OR sport weight yarn works well for this sweater too - it will be lighter .(it will mean more knitting -- If you use worsted -size 5.5 needles
if you use sport - size 5 needles- (this is not written in stone) you can decide this for yourself as we will be doing a swatch to figure out the number of stitches per inch. Once you have done a swatch you won't change the needle size unless you want a larger yoke in the fronts of the sweater to meet a larger bust size. (I would do a swatch using both size needles in this case)

Make sure you make your swatch -- it should be at least 5 INCHES SQUARE. Look at the stitch thickness and decide if you want it looser or tighter. Once you decide on your needles, you will use them for the whole sweater (except as stated above and the cuff ribs, rib around the neck and down the front and the border at the bottom which will be added last - 2 - 2.5 inches.)

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Once you have your measurements we will do the swatch and figure out the number of stitches and how we do the bottom of the sweater.

Please have your Measurements , yarn and needles ready to start - .

The first section of the sweater will be the bottom of the sweater - from the bottom of the yoke to the bottom border. We will figure out how many stitches you will need and how long your back will be in the next lesson -- Just get all your supplies together and get your measurements. once we all have this done we can start our sweaters any time after that .


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Discussion Starter · #4 ·


The top down sweater DOES use a pattern and is not my own design.

Either use a free simple basic cardigan pattern or use the one below which is the pattern I used.

neck down jacket #201


I have knitted it to look like a bomber jacket with stripes and quite short- will decide for yourself how you want to make your cardigan. -

I would suggest you

use worsted weight yarn (whatever type you wish) and 5.5 mm (US 9) or sport weight yarn 5 mm (US 8).

- do a couple of swatches and decide who tight you want your knitting in your sweater. Take into account whether you are going to do different knitting stitches, or whether you will do a stocking stitch incorporating different colors like mine.

You will start at the NECK - and will put the bands and collar on after the sweater body if finished. If you wish you can put a pattern on the sleeves -- if you are golng to put a cable or cables any whereon this sweater you will have to add extra stitches. There is lots of information on the net as to how many stitches to add for different sized cables.

The only measurement you will need to start is your 'neck' circumference.

if you have a favorite cardigan and you like the size of the neck measure it and figure out the stitches needed. -
A collar will be added at the end if you decide you want one.
---- OUR PLAN-----

We want to adjust this pattern to fit our body and to use either color or different stitch patterns to make it an original.
The number of stitches for the neck will be decided once you have done a swatch and taken your measurements.

With this sweater - I would love to see you pick a nice ribbed or lace pattern for the bottom portion. I would recommend that you do the top as a yoke -- and when you take the live stitches for the sleeves - you start a pretty vertical pattern for the bottom section. So ladies -- start thinking about what you want to do with this sweater. The bomber jacket shown which is made from the basic pattern with colored stripes added and is knitted only waist length.

Use the same size needles as your pattern calls for -HOWEVER . If you want it lacier, or a tighter stitch or if you want to put in cables -- you can figure out the cast on numbers by doing swatches of the pattern so you know your stitches per inch and incorporating them into the sweater.-

You will need the measurement for your neck - if you have a favorite cardigan and you like the size of the neck - keep track of the pattern and you can measure it and we can incorporate it into the sweater. I always like to put a collar on my cardigans I do it after the sweater is put together .


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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
INFORMATION: how to make a good SWATCH ( this is very important - especially for the Coat of Many colors --or if you plan on changing the pattern on the top down sweater

you don't have to pay too much attention to the information on the yarn band as once you know your # of stitches per inch and your yarn - you can figure out your c/o yourself to fit your body.
You therefore can make your sweater loosely knit or tightly knit - depending on what you want to use it for. If you are in a warmer climate you might want a lighter weight cardigan - I would then recommend the sport weight yarn rather than the worsted. ( You can even use a finer yarn, but you will find that you don't want to do it TOO lacy for your first one.

--------------------S W A T C H ----- *IGNORE if you are experienced.

Cast on 20 stitches -- DON'T PULL IT TIGHT - you might want to use one size larger needles than the size you plan on using for two rows of the cast on edge. then go to the size needles you plan on using - suggestion - you might want to try 3 different swatches with 3 different size needles to see what appeals to you for your sweater.

knit a square in stocking stitch (if you plan on using a stocking stitch for the majority of your sweater- try to knit the same tension you always knit.

Cast off once you have a square - mark down in your notebook under 'swatch'
how many stitches you cast on - with what size needles and then what size needles you do the whole swatch with.

Once you have a square -- you will the carefully count the number of stitches over 4 inches -- ( I use a little tool for measuring my swatch - see attached. It is very handy - you lay the measuring tool on the knitted swatch IN THE CENTER OF THE SWATCH - NOT AT THE EDGE making sure that you have one side of the opening on the edge of a stitch - The opening is 2" long and 2" tall -- carefully count how many stitches there are in the two inch window horizontally - and mark it down in your notebook. cut that number in half and you will have the STITCHES PER INCH. The vertical opening is done the same way, only you will count the number of ROWS in the two inch vertical window -- and mark it down - then you will divide that number in half and you will write down the number of ROWS PER INCH- \

NOTE - it is best to get a counter like theone I have shown you - but you Can. if you are careful -using a flat ruler and measuring two inches in the 'center' of the swatch- and counting the number, figure out your stitches and rows per inch. I would suggest you try to find the counter as I use mine all the time.

NOW you have all the information needed for your sweater.

The one thing I can't give you is the yardage of your yarn or the number of grams -- as each of you are doing a different sweater. If you are doing my pattern (A) you are going to be using your stash so you don't need to have it. If you are doing (B) I would look at the amount mentioned on the pattern and if you think you are going to do cables or stitches that will take more yarn you might want to buy an extra ball.


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QUESTION.. is it true the top down raglans are easier to do than the bottom up with a set in sleeve? I Like the green one with the added length but am afraid I won't be able to do the sleeves? Which is an easier sleeve, since this is my first time doing a fitted pattern? Also, which is more flattering to a pear shape, wide hips and smaller shoulders? I'd make a perfect A if I were a letter. LOl

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Neither one is difficult-- if you want to make one like the Green one - it is not hard as it is not a fitted sleeve - it is a drop down sleeve- The body of the sweater is knitted straight up and the sleeves are picked up from the edge. We ill be making the body and I will help when we set up the sleeve. this is about the easiest pattern to use for a cardigan - don't worry!

SHAPE I am small at the top and large at the bottom -- this sweater works well as it has the drop down sleeves - I prefer this type of sweater for my shape.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

The "A "coat is a drop sleeve - which means it is not shaped and you don't have to 'fit' it This sweater is a fairly loose, not fitted design. I have done others with fitted sleeves but the idea of this get together is to learn how to figure out your size while you are knitting, and therefore how to calculate how many stitches you will need etc.

It is a very comfortable coat or sweater and I wear my green one all the time in the spring and fall - I would not worry about the sleeves -- we will start by knitting the bottom and as mentioned above we only need two measurements -- around the widest portion of the bottom portion of your stomach or hips (whichever is the widest). we will do each section as we finish the first, so please don't worry abut the yoke or sleeves now -- lets get the basic bottom of the sweater done.

The sweater B is from a pattern and is mainly to help people who have never tried a top down project before, and as it is a topdown the sleeves look like a dolman sleeve and if you check the pictures you will see that they radiate from the neck. This is not a difficult sweater to make. I am hoping we can discuss different ways to add to the basic pattern as far as different stitches on the collar and down the front, or stripes as in the bomber jacket shown. I have shown my 'bomber' style sweaters, made from this pattern but you can also make longer, straighter jackets, and you can put tucks in yours if you are like me and not one size - but two.

I have discussed different sweater types near the end of this forum so it is worth it to read it

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
STARTING SWEATER (B) top down cardigan. the first thing you have to do is figure out how many inches you need for the neck of your sweater.

your pattern will give you the number of cast on stitches- I find that with ALL patterns, the neck is much too large for me. I am one whole size smaller on top than on the bottom and my neck is narrower than that .

I would recommend that you do a swatch using the number of stitches the pattern calls for and figure out whether the neck is right for you. Remember, when patterns are made they are for AVERAGE SIZES - and don't take into consideration the varying shapes we all have. do your swatch - measure your stitches per inch - multiply by your neck circumference and add an inch at least -check out the pattern cast on number - if it is the same great - if it is too many (as in my case ) go down a size, or use smaller needles for the neck -- (I do this with all my sweaters)
Once you have done this - follow your pattern .
for your information - I don't put in a zipper - I changed the pattern and will either knit or crochet a band down the front of both sides. I also add a fancy collar too. The collar and bands will be included after the sweater body and sleeves are finished.

This is where you will decide the future of your whole sweater. you don't want the neck too tight but you don't want it huge either. you will note that the neck stitches are divided up so that there are stitches for the front, stitches for the shoulders(which will end up in sleeve stitches, stitches for the back - and the same on the other side - (sleeves and front) you have to divide your sleeve stitches -- check out your pattern and see how they are divided. This is very important.

My pattern calls for a total of 50 stitches for a medium sweater - as my neck is very small I also reduced my needles one size.

If you want a fitted neck -- you can measure your neck in inches -- and ad one inch at least -- if you want a fairly open neck (larger circumference) you cast on more stitches. One thing that you can remember . You can, if your neck is a bit too large, reduce the size when you put on the band - however you don't want to have to reduce the knitted size too much.

On my pattern I adjust to do 2 different sizes - I can do this one of two ways. I can reduce the size of my knitting needles for the top and increase the size for the bottom of the top down sweater (this works quite well (I can also add a couple more stitches under the arm when I am starting the bottom. Remember, you will also be adding a band in the front of the cardigan -

I need a large size sweater but that makes it much too large for my top - so I use a size smaller needle (at least) and also, even with the smaller size needle I might need to reduce the neck numbers to fit a smaller size which on my pattern would be a medium.

MARKERS ARE ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL FOR A TOP DOWN SWEATER in my opinion. I buy a pkgs of the little plastic circles which fit around the needles. Have lots on hand as they have a habit of disappearing into space. If your pattern is confusing -please post here and I will try to help you figure it out.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
(B) -

once you are doing the portion under the arms you might want to put in a nice group of nice vertical pattern of lace stitches etc.

Here is a site with lots of wonderful knitting stitches

possibly incorporate them in the bottom of your sweater. - plain yoke and lacy ribbed bottom -- and a pattern around the bottom of the sleeves. Might even have a wider sleeve bottom.

the possibilities are endless.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

#2-- "A" COAT OF MANY COLORS[/b ] -away we go

Now you can start knitting - changing your colors if you wish,doing stripes if you wish - or changing patterns if you wish)

If you are going to do your bottom in intarsia rather than strip-es (changing colors
using your stash)- google Intarsia knitting for instructions as to how to join your colors. If you are having problems with this once you have checked it out on the internet don't hesitate to ask once you get started.

Unless you are an experienced knitter and don't mind weaving in ends throughout the sweater -you might want to do narrow and wide strips each length this will give you vertical strips when you attach the yokes as the bottom is knit sideways..

I always change the colors about 4 stitches from the end the previous row in order to avoid a thick edge, which in the case of this sweater is important, as we will be picking up stitches along both long edges (yoke and border)- If you want to check out a couple of joining methods - go to the INFORMATION FILE which is another section of this new forum) there are three good yarn joins there

Quite a few of the girls from the last KAL did stripes - some narrow, some wide - one girl did even strips about 2 inches wide.
Knit until you have the measurement #4 --and add a bit of slack depending on how loose you want your sweater to be. My measurement is 47 inches and I will do it 48" at least.


I started my A sweater and figured out my stitches per in.

I am doing my bottom portion (under the arm to the bottom of sweater l9 Inches long and as I am leaving 2" for the bottom border I will therefore make my back l7"long - then add the border when I am finishing my sweater.

I have 3.5 stitches to the inch I multiplied l7 x3.5 to get my c/o stitches (59.5)I rounded it out to 60 stitches and started knitting --
How long do I knit each of my 3 pieces?(back and two fronts)

I will knit it 48" divided by 2 (24"for the Back and l2"each for each front-) as I am doing it in three pieces ---and then check and make sure that it is the right size at that time.

I will therefore cast on 60- stitches which is the HEIGHT (vertical) of the bottom, not the width. This is the confusing part. remember - the 60 stitches is the number needed from the yoke to the bottom so you will cast on 60 stitches for the back and the same number for each of the fronts. You will then knit the lengths you need to go AROUND YOUR BODY. This will be the length you calculate to fit your measurements.

I will knit 24 inches for the back - then cast on 60 stitches and knit two panels of 12" for the two fronts. Once these are done I will pick up stitches along the row edge and start my yoke --

by the way- I have always done my "A" sweaters in 3 pieces so I have decided to do the same this time as I like the fit. If you wish to make them in one piece, remember you will have to figure out how to divide for the two front yokes and the back.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
====Where can I get the bomber jacket pattern on line? ========


If you check the first page - under top down sweater -- you will see where I have given this information -the name of the pattern -I use.- I don't use a 'bomber jacket' pattern - it is just a basic top down cardigan pattern - and I have named my sweaters bomber jackets as I have made the pattern waist length with a stripe. As mentioned there - you can use a free basic cardigan sweater pattern instead -- Please read the 'top down sweater (B) instructions and the information is there. Thanks, and good luck. Shirley (designer)

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
We will start with just the the first measurements required. for the (B) Top down you will need to measure your neck -- and make a swatch.

for "A" my design you will need #4 in your measurements as well as the length from underarm to the bottom of your cardigan (not including a fairly wide border- I use at least a two inch bottom border)

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
--------Y O K E I N S T R U C T I O N S ("A" sweater)-----------

First of all, make sure the bottom portion of your sweater gives you enough slack and fit around the hips. I have basted the three pieces together to make sure they are comfortable and not too tight.

Now make sure you have carefully worked in the yarn ends at both the top and the bottom of your back and fronts or front (in the future, if you want to knit a pullover)

You are now ready to start the yoke.



Working on the right side – cast on (* 3 stitches miss 1* -across the back–)as there are more rows than stitches – so you won’t require as many stitches * k 3 skip 1* works well for me , but make sure you end up with a nice flat back - you will do the same on the fronts when you get there.
Now to decide how deep you want your yoke. This is the most difficult part of the sweater to calculate and how you make your yoke depends on whether you are ‘busty’ or not. I am definitely not so I have been thinking about this since we started doing this workshop. See bottom of this post for some thoughts on how to achieve a bustier yoke. You will have to make your yoke a bit longer if you are bustier than if you are small breasted --


Do 2 or 4 rows reverse stocking stitch starting with the picked up stitches. ( This gives you a nice base for your yoke and hides any problems with your pick up stitches. ) Now you are ready to knit your yoke. Check out the
picture of my green cardigan -- you can see how the reverse SS gives a nice looking join for attaching the yoke.

Decide how deep you want your yoke.. This will depend on your size.

I find that a 8 or 9” wide yoke gives me LOTS of room for a cardigan. For my pullover I used a 7” yoke .

If you are bustier on top you might want to do a l0” yoke as you have to balance with the front

I have also used the following stitch- on the yoke - see picture of green coat.

Right side – knit
WS – purl
RS -*K2 together – knit one* across piece
WS- K1 Knit in hole bar, across the yoke. (this gives a nice row,)

Repeat these four rows. Then revert back to stocking stitch (see my sweaters)

You can make a slanted shoulder or a straight shoulder- whichever you wish. I find the straight across shoulder for the back works for me. If you have sloping shoulders you might want to slant them a couple of rows. (This is where individual sweaters for individual people vary).

Make sure you mark down in your notebook what you do – at the end you can also note whether you might want to do it differently – or if you are happy with the shape.

Once you reach the neck - you have to decide how many stitches you need for your neck.

I have a handy book which started me designing –

All Sweaters in every gauge - Barbara Goldstein which was published in 1986
I am taking the neck stitches from her book as I want to have a starting point for you. This is the hardest number of stitches for me- I always seem to plan too many stitches, but I have learned that I can knit 2 together every so often around the neck for 2 or 3 rows until I get it the right size- It seems to be my achilles heel on these sweaters but I usually end up with it right.
If you have made a cardigan or a pullover with the same stitch count that you are using and you like the neck – you can use it as an example. Make sure to mark your stitches down in your notebook.

****I make the PULLOVER (for future information with a deeper neck (in other words I start decreasing for the neck edge sooner than if I was making a cardigan – this helps keep the neck fairly narrow as it is deeper and therefore will fit over my head. see my wine pullover picture****

I have used this number on each of my sweaters regardless of my gauge . I don’t worry if each of my sweaters has a slightly different sized neck. I have a small neck so I usually use the small size for my neck even though my sweater will be large.

+++++Back neck stitches (place on stitch holder)++++++++
these will give you at least a guideline.

Small – p/u 24 stitches p/u ( pick up)
Medium – p/u 27 stitches “
Large -p/u 30
Bindoff balance of shoulder stitches on each side of your neck remember you will have a drop shoulder-so they will go over the shoulders - (they will be straight up with no shaping for the sleeves .

method - count your number of stitches across the back of your sweater - – subtract the desired number of neck stitches see above chart–then divide the remaining stitches in half to obtain your shoulder stitches..

Knit this number – then pick up the neck stitches on a holder, then knit the same number of shoulder stitches on the other shoulder -cast off - -– knit the other shoulder stitches cast off.
You are now ready to start the front yokes.

There are two or three ways you can increase the bust line – either add rows to the edge, or – use a larger needle and make your front yoke deeper than the back – - You can also cast on 4 stitches miss one – which will give you more slack.– with the reverse stocking stitch I think it will work–
note the rev. ss where I picked up the yoke and note the fancy strips -

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

------------- Diagram of sweater A

Here are 3 diagrams of the parts of Sweater "A" =

It will help you see what you are doing and what each of the parts of the sweater look like. If you have any questions - let me know.


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I am placing my order for yarn, but I do not know how much to order. I am a size 3X. I want to do the coat of many colors and will be using both a solid color for the sleeves and yoke and a varigated for the stripes. Can you give me an estimate of how many yards or oz. it will take of a DK. yarn. I would surely appreciate it.

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I am sorry - I would not know how much yarn you would need. why don't you check on u tube or google

I am sure there is a way to figure out -- even go to a yarn store and they might be able to help you. You could also look up a pattern using the yarn size you want -- and check the pattern in your size - at least that would give you some idea.

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