Knitting with a different gauge of yarn

I was looking to knit something light weight, cheerful and easy to pop on. I also wanted a garment with a colourful pattern. A fairisle patterned poncho seemed like the perfect garment.

I chose the Ninilchik Swoncho pattern which is knit in double knitting weight yarn. I wanted to knit it in fingering weight wool even though it meant I would be knitting in an entirely different weight of yarn than the pattern calls for.

80/20 Fingering wool by Shelridge Yarns

Have you worked a pattern with a different weight of yarn? Did it work? It’s a skill you need if you’re serious about stash busting.

So, here we go. This is one way to do this. Are you ready for some math?

First steps are to convert the Pattern Gauge and my New Yarn Gauge to the number of stitches in 1″/2.5cm.

  1. The pattern calls for double knitting weight yarn with a gauge of 20 sts = 4″/10cm. I’m going convert this to #sts = 1″/2.5cm and call this the Pattern Gauge. Pattern Gauge: 20 sts divided by 4 = 5 sts = 1″/2.5cm.
  2. My New Yarn Gauge for my fingering weight wool is 28 sts = 4″/10cm. New Yarn Gauge: 28 sts divided by 4 = 7 sts = 1″/2.5cm

Next up is to choose which size in the pattern will give you the Finished Size you want. You’re not working to the pattern’s gauge so you’re going to have to follow the stitch numbers for a different size to get the Finished size you want. I know, it seems weird.

Read through the pattern and find the number of stitches in the pattern for the Body. That’s the finished size that matters. Divide the Body number of stitches by the New Yarn Gauge. This will give you the finished size, in inches or cm, that knitting in your new yarn will give you. Do this for every pattern size.

3. This Swoncho pattern only has 2 Finished Body sizes: 69 (83)”/175 (211)cm. I want to make the small size but because I’m knitting with finer yarn I am going to have to follow the stitch numbers for the larger size. The larger size has 416 sts for the Body. So, 416 sts divided by New Yarn Gauge of 7 sts = 59″ . In my finer yarn the Body of the poncho is going to be 59″ around after dividing for the sleeves, even using the stitch numbers for the larger size. It’s a pretty big poncho so I’m fine with a slightly smaller version.

I worked the stitch numbers for the larger size with the finer yarn. It is a light, swishy poncho and plenty big enough for my daughter.

Now I have lots and lots of plain knitting but more on that next time.

Keep on, keeping on. Cheers, Deb

Gauge-Free and Any Gauge patterns by Deb

Deb on instagram

Author: debgemmellmods

I'm a Knitter. The capital K means every day, everywhere. I'm co-owner of Cabin Fever with my sister Lyn. We have published over 100 patterns and 11 books. I'm also working on a new set of patterns for Any Gauge knitting. Dive into your stash and cast on for a Top Down sweater that fits, or an accessory to use up those odd balls of yarn.

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