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/4″, I should knit 155 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.


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

8 thoughts on “Aalto KAL: Part 2, Swatching (again) and Casting On

  1. I have never used a yarn like this and was anxious to get started. I love the yarn and working with it. Have only done the first 4 rows, so hope I can figure out how to do the rest! Not real sure about the abbreviations and what they mean and how to do the stitch, but will look them up on line and hopefully I can figure it out.


      1. I am a little confused about the abbreviation in the second set of instructions: on row two right side, purl 4 sts, sl1, I believe is slip one stitch, then it says pwise wyib. Could you tell me what this abbreviation stands for and how to do the stitch. Have never come across this before. Thank you for your help


  2. Alana – After you have purled your first four stitches, slip the next stitch as if you would be doing a purl stitch, but your yarn needs to stay behind your knitting (wyib means “with yarn in back”). Does that help? ~ Laura


    1. Yes thank you, I have not seen that abbreviation before, and looking on line wasn’t quite sure if that was right, thank you again


  3. Hi Laura- I’m a novice knitter… knitted a couple of pair of socks before this ‘big” project. I was wondering if you could tell me the best way to add a new skein of yarn to our projects. After Googling, I went with the knitting 3 stitches at the beginning of a row with both current & new skein. It looks fine, especially since it’s in the edge section, but I was wondering if you would recommend something different.


    1. Judy – Thank you for reminding me that I need to do the next blog post – about attaching the next skein/ball! I’ll do it right now. (Here’s a hint, though, you’re on the right path!)



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