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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Help! I'm starting my 2nd sweater and have found that I need a larger needle to get the stitch gauge right. The pattern calls for 2 sizes of needles, 5 and 9 (32" circular). If I used a 7 for the border part of the sweater, which size needle do I go to for the rest of the sweater. Size 11 is so big the stitches won't even fit on the needle. Do I really need to do another gauge swatch?
 

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If you want to save yourself a lot ripping out later then yes, you should do another gauge swatch. (Sorry... I hate them, too. I always feel like I'm wasting time, even though I know that I'm not.)

I'm a little confused by your problem of the stitches not fitting on the larger needle. Are you trying to slip the stitches from the smaller circular needle to the larger one in order to start knitting with the larger needle? If so, then you are embarking on an impossible journey. Turn back now! :) As you have already discovered, the stitches won't fit. When the pattern calls for you to switch to a different size needle you simply leave the stitches on the smaller needle and start the next row or round of your pattern with the larger needle. You will work one row or round with two differet sized needles, knitting the stitches off of the smaller needle and onto the larger needle. When you finish the row all the stitches will be on the larger needle and you can put the smaller needle aside.

I hope that answers your question. Good luck and happy knitting! :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Tammy. I just realized that the gauge in the pattern is for St st which is the larger part of the sweater. The border is a K1, P1. I used the smaller needle to get my gauge. Let me explain this way:

Pattern - St st Gauge 21 sts My swatches:

US 5 = 26 sts = 1"
US 5/32 circular needles US 7 = 22 sts = 1" (for border)
US 9/32 circular needles US X = ???

So my question now is what needle do I use for the border, if I use the 7 for the main body? The pattern is PIPER in Vanessa free from Universal yarn. Math has never been my forte :).
 

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Well, I was a math major in college and trust me, with knitting it still sometimes doesn't help. :) You could try to calculate what the gauge should be for the ribbing by comparing the difference in gauges between the 9 and the 7 as a percentage and then applying the same percentage of difference to the gauge that you get when you knit a stockinette swatch on a 5. This would determine what the gauge should be, and then you could knit swatches with several smaller needles to see which one comes the closest. You would need a gauge swatch done on the size 9 in order to make the comparison.

If you have gone down 2 needle sizes from 9 to 7 for the body, you can probably do the same for the smaller needle and go down to a 3, but you will want to check to make sure that the resulting border, whether it be the bottom hem or the neckline, is not too small before you put too much work into the body. (You might need to work a few inches of the body before you can really check this so that the ribbing stitches are not being stretched out by the circular needle.) If the pattern doesn't give you a gauge for the smaller needle (and they usually don't - they just give the gauge for the main body of the project) then sometimes you just have try a few things and decide for yourself what works best. You may find that you prefer the sizing that you get with a 4 or a 5. I know that's not an easy answer, but if the pattern doesn't specify the gauge for the ribbing sometimes you just have to wing it.

If you want help calculating using percentages then just knit up some swatches and send me the numbers and I will crunch them for you. Just be sure to compare apples to apples - the number of stitches in (at least) 4" of stockinette for each size needle (9, 7 and 5).
 

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Simply put...you don't have to but, it would be behoove you to do it. Saves lots & lots of frustration & sometimes tears! So my answer is a resounding YES.
 

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You might need to go one size larger for the cable length to get all the stitches on the needle. Using a longer cable isn't really a big deal, even if it is too long for your work, as long as you aren't knitting 'in-the-round.' I sometimes use a cable considerably larger than neede when doing flat work, just so I don't have have to purchase one more cable needle, thus saving several dollars just for that one project.
 
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