Strategies for Upsizing

Here's another informational piece for people interested in knitting the Latvian Dreaming sweater.

After the cardigan modification, the most requested mod to this sweater is "how can I increase the stitch count," for people who want to knit the sweater at small gauges (8 stitches to the inch) but need larger sizes. Since I'm awkwardly small I made a point of knitting this at a particularly small gauge (9.5 stitches per inch) to help make the pattern more accessible for the more normally-sized.

But there's only so much that one can do with guage, particularly if you come into a project with a yarn picked out and a comfortable gauge established. This is further complicated by an important design principal that we are all wise to follow: keep the patterns centered. That is, make sure that the design is symmetrical on all sides. In practical terms this means that for every stitch you add or subtract to the chart, you have to add or subtract 4 to the total stitch count. As the repeats have 16 stitches, adding even half a repeat to the pattern means adding 32 stitches total.

Note: there's already one stitch in background color that is **not* included in the chart before stitch number 1 on both sides.*

But don't fear, armed with a clear notion of your gauge and your desired size, we can tweak the stitch count to something more useable. Here are a few of these strategies:

  • Put in stripes in the side panels. If you add stitches under either underarm you only need to add two stitches, and if you keep them in alternating colors the floats will be secured, and all will be well. You can add anywhere from 1 to 5 or 6 (2 to 10 or 12 total) stitches to the number of stitches. This option can be combined for fine tuning with any of the other options.
  • As a side stripe, add stitches 9 to 16 from the chart to the beginning of both sides. You can drop the uncharted background stitch or add a second stitch on the other side of the panel This will allow the first pattern to balance on the side more clearly. This will bring the total number of stitches to: 356 (if you add the second border stitch) or 352 (if you omit border stitches). If you take out border stitches there will be a jog at the beginning of the round.
  • Replace the uncharted side stitch with stitches 24 through 44. This brings the total number of stitches to 378.
  • If you need to size (either as part of fine tuning or as part of making it smaller) down stitch 24 and 44 on the chart can be dropped without much error, and (this brings the stitch count down to 336). If you're after 338 stitches, dropping stitch 44 on the chart shouldn't disrupt anything (actually, I sort of wish that I'd done this, because I think it would look better).
  • If you need to resize the pattern in a more massive way. then by all means add a repeat of stitches 45 through 60 on the chart before stitch 45, though this will bring the stitch count up to 404.
  • Similarly you could consider adding a repeat of stitches 57-60 from the chart before stitch 45. This would bring the stitch count to 356.
  • You may consider adding a half repeat of stitches 53 through 60 on the chart before stitch 45, though if you do this, I might recommend beginning the sweater/repeat on row 9, rather than row 1.
  • Consider adding stitches or even additional patterns between stitch 24 and 25 and/or stitch 43 and 44. Remember that each stitch you add at one of these points accounts for a change in 4 total stitches. Buy Joyce's Book for many great ideas for additional patterns.

My design intention with this is to have the main interlocking pattern of stitches 45-85 cover the majority of the center of the design. I've been hesitant to suggest major modifications to the first pattern repeat, though you may feel more than welcome to toy around in this space if you want to add repeats. I included the Microsoft Excel file that I used to mock up the charts with the project materials and I encourage you to experiment (and share) your modifications.

I hope this helps you reach a pattern that fits you better.

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