Aalto KAL: Part 2, Swatching (again) and Casting On

After completing my 2nd swatch, blocking and hanging it for a while as suggested in the first blog post about our Aalto KAL, my gauge was still off by one stitch per inch – I have 21 sts and 27 rows per 4″ instead of the required 22 sts and 28 rows. So, am I going to make a new swatch on a smaller needle to try to squeeze in that additional st and row? No.

Now, before you jump all over me for not getting gauge since that’s what we preach here all the time, I have my reasons. First, this is not a garment that needs to fit accurately (like a sweater or hat does). I did the calculations and realized that the difference in size is not going to make a big difference for me personally. I’m making the largest size, so I will be casting on 209 stitches.

209 sts divided by¬†5.25 sts/” = 39.8″ (vs the 38″ shown on the schematic)

Almost 2″ difference. But, I’m tall and can handle that extra 2″ without any issue. I took a tape measure and held the end at the center back of my neck, down over the curve of my shoulder and along my arm. 20″ (half of the approx 40″ width of the front or back) hit me just above the elbow. I think that’s o.k.

Now about that pesky row gauge. What to do about that? If I was making a sweater with a set in sleeve, I would have to either get the row gauge or make some adjustments to make the sleeve work. But… Aalto is unfitted so adjustments aren’t as necessary or difficult. Again, I am tall (5’8″), so I don’t want to the garment to be short on me. Luckily, 26.25″ is pretty good for me. So, I just need to make sure that I get to the required length (23″) before I start the shoulder shaping. (I highly recommend checking the length by holding a tape measure to your body – if you are short, you may need to decrease the length.)

While I could simply measure each piece and hope for the best, the better way to make sure my front and back match in length is to count my rows. For 23″ at a gauge of 27 rows/inch, I should knit 621 rows (wow, that’s a lot of knitting!) before I start the shoulder shaping.

What’s the best way to count my rows? I could use the old-fashioned method of hash-marks on a piece of paper. Or I could use the CountMeme App that I have on my phone.

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But, I’m worried that I will forget to “hash” or to press the button on CountMeme, so instead I am going to using locking stitch markers to mark off every 10 rows.

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For me, this will work the best. What technique will you use?

Finally, casting on…

209 stitches to cast on is daunting – especially thinking that I would have to count those stitches multiple times in order to convince myself that I cast on the right amount. To make it more palatable, I put a st marker on my needle after every 10 stitches – as I was casting on.

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For 209 sts, I used 20 markers. I could have used regular stitch markers, but I used locking ones because they were handy. After I knit my first row, I will remove all except those marking the 50th, 100th, 150th, and 200th stitches. I’m leaving those in to help with counting later on.

People always ask how to know how long of a tail to leave for long-tail cast ons such as the German Twisted Cast On called for in the Aalto pattern. There are many ways to accomplish this. Check out this Google search for some ideas.

That’s it for now! Who’s started their project?

~ Laura