Newbie sweater knitter with ? about gauge & intarsia

Hi, I’m new here, but have been reading and lurking for a bit. I’m a fairly new knitter who is attempting her first sweater. So far I have knit hats and scarves but I’m not one to shy away from a challenge. I am going to attempt the top-down raglan sweater from for my dd, who is seven. My kids have smallish heads so I think we’ll be okay with the head opening.

I am planning on making this sweater in Merino Style in Iris with an intarsia bunny or kitty in the center of the front (adapting the one from Stitch N Bitch that goes on the backpack).

My first confusion with the pattern generated at is that she just says to knit and gives sizes of knitting needles but not length of circular needles. What would I need? Can I knit a kids’ sleeve on a 17" circ or do I need DPN’s for the sleeves? I ordered some (can’t find dowels in the right sizes, sigh) but am wondering about it. Also wondering what size I would use for the body of the sweater - 24" chest circ so would 24" circ’s be right? I’m guessing so, but just want someone to say “yep, sounds good.” LOL. Just to hear kind of how switching the needles as you knit goes, would be good.

On top of that I want to do intarsia in the center, which I have never done before, with designing my own pattern. I want to adapt a pattern from SnB, the bunny that’s on the backpack. Minus the sarcastic eyebrow. If anyone has ideas on how I would transfer that, which is written for 4.5 st/in, to 5.5 st/in, I’m all ears.

Finally - speaking of gauge - how important is it that I achieve the 5.5 st/in for the Merino Style from Knitpicks? I’m using the pattern generator so I get to say what my gauge is in the pattern. Right now it is 4.5 st/in with size 5 needles. I am going down to size 4 but if I stayed at 4.5 st/in I could just knit the intarsia chart straight from the SnB book. That would be nice.

Um so I guess my thoughts from what I know are that yarn has an optimal gauge, and for the merino style that is 5.5 st/in, so the sweater might be kind of loosely knitted, more so than ideal? But the merino style doesn’t seem true DK weight but more like a light worsted, to my newbie hands. I have some WOTA that I ordered at the same time and it looks like almost the same weight!

Okay. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Oh! And a huge THANK YOU to this site. I learned how to knit here. I had Stitch N Bitch but found I wanted to knit Continental (did learn English too, from SnB) and the instructions in the book were difficult for me. I watched that Finnish video on purling Contintental style and suddenly it all clicked! I have a weird little throw I do when purling but hey, it works. :wink:

Lots to discuss here.

The main, main, main point is that you won’t be able to do the intarsia in the round unless the main color is carried in the pattern all the way across on each row. I don’t have a copy of S&B, but I doubt that an intarsia bunny has the mc yarn across.

As for circ size, you can only use needles that are smaller than the circumference of what you’re knitting, unless you use the two circ or magic loop method. So unless your sleeve circumference is 17 inches (buff girl you’ve got there) you can’t use them. I ususally go with two circs for sleeves.

This holds true with the circumference of the body. You might be able to get away with 24 inch needles for a 24 inch body, but it would be ridiculously difficult to keep sliding the stitches around. I’d go with smaller.

As for gauge, the gauge on the yarn is a general idea. The gauge you get with the yarn and needles you get is what’s important. If you like the fabric, go for it. I sincerely doubt that a one stitch per inch difference with merino style is going to make the fabric too loose.

When you change from one needle size to another, just start knitting with the new needle.

If you google ‘knitting graph paper’ there are several sites that will allow you to generate paper after you tell them you knit/row gauge so you can draw your pattern on that.

I think that covers it, but now you have to decide if you want to knit a sweater in the round without a motif on the front, or knit it flat so you can have the design. :thinking:

Oh, Ingrid, thank you. I know I had just a ton of questions and I’m probably overly ambitious but I can’t afford to buy little bits of yarn here and there to practice, I need functional warm clothes and NOW! LOL. It is 18 here today.

Oh dear. I guess I didn’t even realize that I couldn’t do intarsia like that, just in the center, in the round. Sigh. I’m so glad I posted.

I have The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns coming with my KnitPicks order. Personally? I really want to do the sweater in the round, it sounds nice to do it that way, and a friend on another board did it with a rolled neck and sleeves and hem and I had this vision of how cute it would look. But I think what I will do is find a seamed sweater in that book that will work.

I got the Iris and was going to make it in a solid color in the topdown but Katie really wants something to jazz it up and she loves that silly punk rock bunny on the backpack.

And thanks for the clarification on the needles. I thought that was the case. But darn, 16" seems too big for kid hats, kid sleeves, etc. I guess it’s DPNs for those things? I hate DPNs, have I mentioned that? The stitches keep falling off the ends.

I’m glad about the gauge. I am using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s idea of casting on 90 stitches and knitting a few inches and I was getting tired of that. I found out that I can knit a square swatch and simulate in the round knitting. But of course now I won’t be knitting in the round so I guess I’ll have to reswatch. :thinking:

Okay. This gets me started…thanks so much. I want to make that top-down raglan darnit! :slight_smile:

You can weave a picture on a sweater after it’s done if you don’t mind sewing. I, personally, am allergic to using a regular sewing needle–I break out is swear words–but you can duplicate stitch on knitting for a nice effect.

Or, what I’ve done is to knit what I can in the round and then work back and forth for the intarsia part. You’ll have a seam up the sides, but you might be able to at least knit in the round down to the armpits and then divide the front and back so you can do the intarsia.

when I use double pointed needles, I use point protectors on the “tail” ends so the stitches don’t fall off.