Start Small and Gauge-Free

This Gauge-Free sweater business is a new and exciting idea for me. Being able to dive into my stash and not worry about matching a specific gauge is wonderfully freeing.

I am going to begin with something small. It’s always easier to figure things out on a little sweater, no large time or yarn investment. I’m way ahead of this blog with my knitting and it’s looking great.

I am knitting a baby-sized sweater for a 12 month old. I have worked my Triangle Beginning to establish the width at the Back of Neck. That’s where it all starts, at the top of the Back. That’s an important measurement as you know but instead of working with a certain gauge we are going to use a ruler. Yes, a ruler with inches or centimeters on it. How simple and familiar is that?!

Dive into your stash, find some yarn and a pair of needles and knit along if you like. It’s a mystery baby knit. (There will be a published pattern soon.) Oh yeah, did I mention NO GAUGE SWATCH IS NEEDED!!!!

This Triangle Beginning took no time at all and measures 4″/10cm across the top finished edge. Yay. Step one completed. That was really quick.

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Now to work a Back Panel. This piece of knitting is the anchor of the cardigan. It determines the total length of the garment.

Build a V back panel CHILD

We’ve established the Back of Neck measurement so now, keeping the stitch numbers the same and maintaining the V shaping that started with the triangle, knit a strip as follows:

Work a decrease at the beginning of the row, work the 2 increases at the centre marker as you did for the beginning triangle and then work a final decrease at the end of the row. Two decreases and two increases keeps the stitch count the same. Knit the wrong side row. Repeat the two rows. Work to the desired length for your cardigan. My 12 month size Back Panel measures 12″/30cm. It’s a l-o-n-g, narrow piece of knitting. Easy to knit once you get going.DSC_0105 (2) - Copy

Then, of course, since you know I get a trifle obsessed, I started 2 adult-sized sweaters because if it works for little people it could work for me too. The triangles are finished but there is more to come. I don’t want my sweaters to have a pointy Back Panel pointing towards my derriere, thank you very much. A change must be made to avoid that.

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I may regret trying to knit three sweaters at the same time but here goes nothing…

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns

Deb on instagram

Gauge-Free Build A ‘V’ Triangle Beginning

We’re not going to make a swatch, YAY. I’m all for that. This is freedom from the tyranny of getting gauge. We are going to be the boss of our knitting!

You can dive into your stash and pick any yarn you like. But … this does change where and how we begin since there are no specific number of stitches in an inch to guide us.

This cardigan is knit in blocks. The first block is a Back Panel the width of the Back of Neck. The Back of Neck is an important measurement in a sweater.

The Specific Gauge pattern Baby J begins in the same way, with the neckband.

baby-j-420-640x429-1

Baby J

That would be my preferred place to begin most of the time too. Because this pattern is worked for DK weight yarn there can be a specific number of stitches to cast on for each size.

neckband schematic

Then the Back of Neck number of stitches is determined.

Back of Neck on neckband

And a Back Panel is knit with that number of stitches.

Back panel on neckband

All that works a treat.

But when you want to knit it Gauge-Free there are no specific stitch counts. We can’t begin with the neckband because we don’t know how many stitches to cast on. We have to think of another way of determining the Back of Neck width.

We can begin with a triangle. It works just like a triangle shawl. Cast on a few stitches and work 4 increases by working one increase at the beginning of the row, one increase before and one after the centre marker and another increase at the end of the row, followed by a knit row. Work until the finished edge is the width you want for the Back of Neck.

back of neck triangle

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The marker is there to indicate the Right Side of my fabric. This is a 12 month size with a Back of Neck measurement of 4″/10cm.
That’s not hard, right? And so it begins.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever patterns

Deb on instagram

Where to begin Gauge-Free

Where do we need to start on our Gauge-Free Cardigan? We need to start with an idea.

Bernice Vollick and I worked on a series of patterns for Cabin Fever that are built block by block. I am taking the basic ideas we worked on in these patterns and developing them further. Bernice has since passed away but I think she would be happy to see these ideas progress.

If you want to follow along with these specific-gauge patterns we have already published (links in photos), as I natter on, that would be great. You’ll be able to see the changes we need to make to make them Gauge-Free.

Baby J
Junior J
J.J. Jacket

The major change I’m going to make is to make the Gauge-Free version a V-Neck for both the children and adult sizes. It ties in with how we need to get started. There are additional options for adults. One will be to make a standard fitting sweater or a boxy sweater. I’m going to be knitting both. You can knit along too.

The hardest part for me is not the knitting. That’s actually really easy. The hard part is writing the pattern so it’s easy to understand when I’m not there sitting beside you or standing at the front of the room leading a workshop.

I could use some help. If you’re interested in a mystery testknit, I need a couple of knitters (5 for child’s size and 5 for adult size) to critique my instructions as you knit along with me. I am going to work on a child’s version (up to 8 years old, maybe 10 years?); a straight Adult version (no body shaping) and an Adult version with A-line shaping. I’m asking anyone interested to let me know (debgemmellmods@gmail.com), specifying which version you want to knit. It’s a commitment to knit and offer feedback. Beware!! There will be ripping back. There will be corrections, changes and possibly, makeovers (that’s a nice word for “start over again”). This will not be a straight forward process.

I am knitting the first blocks now and will have the first part of the patterns up by next week. Fingers crossed.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever patterns on ravelry

Deb on instgram

A sweater Without Gauge?

Can we make a sweater with no reference to gauge? If we don’t know what the gauge is how can that work? Isn’t gauge the most important thing? Doesn’t it ensure I make the proper size? If I get the correct gauge with my yarn I will be successful, right?!! I will make the sweater as pictured and in the correct size.

Let’s be rash and throw all that gauge stuff out the window. No more swatches, YAY. I call this “knitting without a safety net”!

What if you could dive into your stash, choose some yarn and get started. Is it possible to build a sweater piece by piece, fitting it as you go?

That’s what I’m going to do. I’m practicing positive thinking! I am going to make a Gauge-Free Garter Stitch V-Neck Cardigan piece by piece with a plan, as opposed to a specific-gauge pattern, with no reference to the gauge EVER. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

I’ve already started on a 12 month size. New week, the adult size begins too. You can join me and knit along.

Block #1

How does that sound, interesting?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever patterns

Deb on instagram