Aran question

Hello. I purchased yarn from Aran Sweater Market. I am using an Aran Pattern that I found on Ravelry by Janet Szabo. It does not specify a specific yarn, but suggests US size 9 to achieve a gauge of 18 stitches to 4 inches with any Aran yarn. I had to resort to a US size 4 to get there. I usually have to go down one or two sizes to achieve the correct gauge, but this seems too much. I have knitted a sample of the pattern and it seems awfully tight and hard but the yarn (which came from Ireland) is coarse and rough. I have not made this type of sweater before.

Are there any Aran knitters who have experience with this? I am thinking that this is a complete mismatch of pattern and yarn. I like the pattern because it is knitted in the round with drop shoulder sleeves that are picked up and knitted as a traditional seamless Guernsey. I hate any kind of seaming. I understand that Alice Starmore is the authority on this. But if anybody has the book, I would really appreciate it if you could tell me if she has patterns for Arans constructed in this manner before I invest in it.

Many thanks!

Which pattern is it? Janet Szabo has a bunch. Looks like they’re all paid but maybe the picture would help.

I find looser is better with cables. It does sound like that gauge is out of reach of that yarn.

I haven’t done a fisherman’s yet. I also hate seams and want one top down, round, raglan. I haven’t got up the nerve to plot out my own with multiple cable patterns so have just done a couple with the same cable over the whole sweater.

I love knitting Aran sweaters but the Alice Starmore patterns I used have been bottom-up and seamed. A quick scan of her patterns on Ravelry shows the same thing. It’s of course possible to convert seamed sweaters to in-the-round but from the bottop-up…
Check your public library for her books. That’ll give you a preview before you buy your own (well worth it).

Thanks to both of you! I considered finding a seamed pattern and converting it, and the suggestion to visit the library is a great one. I really like this sweater, however, and wish I could get it to work out.

It never occurred to me that I could contact Janet Sazbo directly, but found the site Big Sky Knitting designs.

There is a voice in me, however, that tells me I might just be panicking, never having made a sweater like this before. The texture seemed ok over the moss stitch that was suggested for knitting the swatch. I am just wondering if perhaps it’s the cabling that is bunching it up and making it tight, that could perhaps resolve on blocking, with a little something in the water to soften the hard wool. If I hold it up to the light, the knitting doesn’t seem to be impenetrable. I wouldn’t worry so much if it hadn’t concerned a drop of five needle sizes.

I am going to get to the library today! And I will let you know what Janet tells me, if she responds. Might be helpful for everyone.

I am Mike (Michael) by the way as well!


You can click on 'yarn ideas" tab at the top of the Rav page to see what yarns others have used. It doesn’t look like anyone has worked with an Aran Sweater Market yarn but it must be lovely yarn. Worth the effort you’re making.

If you still have your swatch, you could wash and block it to see what the knit fabric is like.

BTW way, it is the Staghorn Pullover from Twists and Turns, Vol 2, Issue 3. Fall 2002.

Many thanks for all of your help. I e-mailed Janet Szabo and she responded immediately! I will pass along what she told me in case it might be useful if you are planning a project like this and have never done it before. The test swatch, knitted in moss stitch, which I washed and blocked was fine. It was beefy, but not overly so. She said that I should not be too concerned about the needle size as long as I was attaining gauge was satisfied with the texture of the swatch, similar to your advice, salmonmac. The cables, she said, would indeed relax. So I will forge ahead.

Impressed and grateful that you all took the time to respond. Hope I can help one day. Most of my sweaters have been Elizabeth Zimmerman percentage sweaters which present a few challenges.


Terrific! Always good to learn of a responsive designer, too. Enjoy knitting the sweater and post a photo if you’d like. We love to see finished projects.