There is something about January that makes me want to launch myself at or into something new. I had been looking through Rowan Magazine 52 and admiring Marie Wallin’s design called Orkney but eeuuuch, all that Fair Isle! Don’t get me wrong, I love Fair Isle with a passion but if I knit it backwards and forwards, it does take me a while. On the other hand, knitting it in the round I am pretty quick because I can do it two-handed. I’m not just showing off (well, OK, just a bit) but cracking the ol’ two-handed Fair Isle speeds up the knitting no end. Goaded by friends on Twitter, and finding that I actually had quite a lot of the Felted Tweed needed in my stash I thought I would challenge myself to knit this pattern but only if I could knit it in the round, steeking the front of the cardigan and the sleeves. Huuuge gulp from me!
On the face of it what you do is just add all the stitches together – oh would it were that simple. You really need to take the time to look at the number of stitches and how that impacts on things like the rib, button holes and each part of the pattern.
The first thing is that each side seam is made up of 2 extra stitches, 4 in total. I figured in the scale of things 4 stitches wasn’t such a big deal but, when you come to work out the pattern repeats later, it might make a difference to your size.
How many stitches?
I am knitting in size Large so
71st left front + 138st back + 71st right front + 5 st for the steek = 285 st (280 pattern st)
I wanted to have my two fronts, when begin with knit stitches on the rib but, being a 2×2 rib (4st) it divides exactly into 280. Then I remembered the side seams, so I reduced my stitch count by 2 to take this into account and hey presto I have 278 st which works ( K2, P2 x 69 + K2).
When I looked at how the buttonholes I realised that they were marked up after knitting the fronts separately. Well, this isn’t going to be possible for us so I counted the number of button holes and divided it into the number of rows I thought I would roughly knit to the neck. I guestimated a bit here as follows:
From the first buttonhole at row 5
15 rows rib + around 100 rows of the front / 7 buttonholes = approx 16 rows
I have a memory like a sieve so I took a highlighter to the chart in the Rowan Magazine to remind me where to place them.
Looking closely at all the patterns you can see that they repeat over 2, 4, 6 or 16 stitches. If you have a cardigan where the patterns butt up to each other at the front, you can take a central back stitch and then work your patterns round from there so they are all balanced. This isn’t possible in this case because 7 stitches from the front form the cardigan overlap. It is important to check that you are going to get the effect you want before you start.
so 278st – 7 overlapping st = 271st
271 / 4 = 67 remainder 3
271 / 6 = 45 remainder 1
271 / 16 = 16 remainder 15
Because of the way a cardigan sits, I figure one stitch over or under a complete repeat won’t spoil the effect. The one thing I did do, sorry Marie, was move the stars over a bit so they were more centered on the front.
It may seem like a lot of preparation but it was really worth it and I am happily knitting away. As I continue with Orkney I will let you know of any other tips to help you successfully transpose a pattern.
If you want me to explain any of this in more detail please let me know