Laminaria decision point #1

I have completed 5 of 6 repeats in the first chart of the Laminaria and have stopped to place a lifeline. Now is also a good time to stop and consider sizing.

Laminaria is a modular shawl, easily extended – from the pattern notes:

“As long as you finish each chart on row 8, you can repeat the Star chart or the Blossom chart as many times as you like before moving on to the next chart.”

Soooo… do I wish to do more stars at this stage?

  1. I am knitting the full-size shawl, in Machair. Machair is a fine yarn, giving 1200 metres per 100g. I haven’t had the will sense yet to actually measure the WPI.
  2. The pattern sample shawl is knitted in a yarn that yields half the length of the Machair. i.e. somewhere around twice as thick
  3. The sample shawl took 1000 metres
  4. I am using 3.25 mm needles
  5. The sample shawl was on 3.75mm needles
  6. sallyjoy’s Laminaria took only 23 grams of yarn but she did the “shoulderette”[1] version, and used 3.5mm needles

With me so far? I wish I was!

There’s a caveat to bear in mind; again – fr0m the pattern notes:

Just be aware that the Edging section requires a surprising quantity of yarn. For the green shawl, the final 28 rows and bind-off required 32% of the yarn. For the smaller brown shoulderette, the edging required 44% of the yarn!

Where are we up to?

  1. I have +20% yarn length
  2. but using finer yarn and finer needles, will obviously use less yards for the pattern as writ
  3. and yield a smaller shawl
  4. but I can’t figure out how much less
  5. so I don’t know how much to compensate by
  6. I think I may have a handle on how to work out the overall effect of growth
  7. I think I know that I’d rather increase in this Stars section, rather than in the Blossom section as I believe the shawl would look better balanced that way

If I calculate the total number of rows in the shawl, I already know the max stitch count (629) – so I can calculate the total stitch “area” and work out how many 32 stitch/8 row blocks can be added so as not to exceed the 1200 metres, if only I could guesstimate the effect of the finer yarn and needles[2].

Any maths wizards out there?

I make one extra star chart equivalent to an overall 10%increase, and two charts comes to a whopping 33%

So, do I put my shawl on a string and wash and block it in order to determine gauge so that I can maximise the size of my shawl and my yarn usage? or do I whack in one extra repeat and wing it? or do I do something totally stupid and confidently add two repeats in the firm belief that tiny yarn makes tiny shawls?

[1] what a horrible made-up ugly word that is! Who on earth coined the term “shoulderette” ? Nobody on this side of the Atlantic, I’ll be bound.

[2] Yes, I should have swatched, shouldn’t I? If I knew how much smaller my swatch was, I’d know how much smaller the shawl would be. I just never considered it would be an issue – as in “it’s not the size that matters… it’s how you  use it.”

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One Comment

  1. March 13, 2009

    Where’s all the advice? I had to take a decision unsupported… and am adding one extra repeat of the star chart today… much as I am longing to get on to the next chart!

    Just don’t tell me that I was wrong, after the event 😉

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