Saturday, September 22, 2012

How I Use Helga's Tutorial in Excel

I was asked about this, so I thought I'd put in my next project.
But first a little bit about the reasons for doing my calculations in the first place. Most ladies garments have an armhole bodice drop of 20cm, this is from the beginning of the armhole shaping to the beginning of the shoulder shaping. My problem is - I'm 25cm. I am tall with a large frame. This tutorial has taken away all my best guess work, and I'm very happy with the last two armhole shaping and sleeve cap results.

Now, this is my swatch for my next project in 5ply Bendigo Classic on SK280, LC2, revamped card 12 from my fine gauge set. T8 = 26st /36rs = 10cm

Next thing is work out my cast on, waist shaping and width of my bodice (40cm). converting everything into stitches and rows.  All I need to know to calculate my armhole shaping. I need 90 rows (for my 25cm self - and might I add I LOVE not having my tops (sweaters) cutting under my arms all day) . But back on track... Ok, so one third of 90 is 30 rows, which I put into Helga's Chart, and calculate that I need to decrease 58 stitches BOTH SIDES, so I divide that by 2 giving me 29 sts. (with me so far?)

All I need to do is put a THIRD the rows of my rows in the three vertical blocks and HALF of stitches I don't need any more.
Armhole Shaping Graph
 Well that's all very good, but how do I put it into and excel spreadsheet?

First I put in the rows in this case in single row counts, then all the stitches, then markers to correspond to the grid, and as you can see I needed to fudge a little and I'm two rows past the exact point, but it will be fine as the rest of the decreases work out. If I was writing it for hand knitting I'd say:

Armhole Shaping, decrease 9 sts at the beginning of the next two rows, then 1 sts at each end, in the next and every row 9 times, then every second row 9 times (104 sts remain).
But if I'm writing for the Kindle next to the machine I'd write:
-9 x 2
-1 ea end ev row to RC 12
-1 ea end ev 2R to RC 30 (104sts)


Now I'm ready to do my calculations for my sleeve cap, there's a little more calculations but not that hard when I break it into chunks.
Let's get straight into it. My biggest guesswork was... How may rows do I make my sleeve cap, now I've increased my bodice height by 5cm. This has always been less than satisfactory. The total number of rows for my sleeve cap will be 4/5 of my bodice measurement. I know my bodice height is 90 rows, and I divide it by 5 and times it by 4 (or I need 4/5th or 80%) making my sleeve cap height to be 72 rows. These 72 get divided into 4 to fit in the vertical grid - 18 rows each square
 Next is my total number of stitches I have on my sleeve. And now another little fudge - my original count was 110, but 112 worked out so much better. I'm only working on half my sleeve number for this calculation which means my grid has 72 rows high and 56 stitches wide. The 56 is divided into 4 equal parts and I have 14 stitches in each of my horizontal grid boxes.
This is how I do my excel. I mark out my rows - in two row increments until the LAST QUARTER, where I find in single rows works best and as a visual aid, when I change to single rows, I coloured them in yellow. I put a marker in the quarter row point and the stitches I need to have left - as in my diagram above, 42, 28 then 14. This makes it easy for me to move the stitches to fill in the spaces evenly.

The first square - my initial decrease is half the total number in the first square - 7 stitches. then the next 7 have to be gone so now I have decreased my 14 sts by row 18.... only one 4 row section.

The next 36 rows ... I need to decrease 14 sts over the next 36 rows. I move the column of stitch numbers so that the 28 stitches I need to have left by row 54. I need to fill in the gap with every 4th row decreases, so 41 goes to row 22 and so on until all my stitches are evenly distributed

 Now I am onto the last quarter and I've changed from every second row to every row and coloured it yellow so I remember! I need to decrease 14 sts over the next 18 rows. I move the column of stitches to the last row, then move them up to have them every second row (to match the previous pattern - I've been doing every second row decreases, so it continues the same way until I can decrease every row.

And this is it for my kindle. All I want to know is when to do decreases.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sleeve Caps, Armhole and Neck Shaping Tutorial given by Helga Guyot

If you are anything like me, changing the sleeve cap and armhole shaping are so much trial and error that always ends in hit and miss. I was so pleased when Helga Guyot came to our local club and presented her tutorial on shaping our jumpers and cardigans (which in other parts of the world - "sweaters" combines into one the word- very frugal of them!)

I asked Helga if I could reproduce HER tutorial notes and diagrams to convert a drop shoulder pattern with no shaping into a set in sleeve. She said "Of course you can, I've been teaching this for more than 20 years" I offered to put it into a .pdf for her to offer for sale. She said she doesn't know how to turn a computer on, let alone "do all that" and it would be much easier for me to share it. However, I cannot take credit for her intellectual property, it belongs to her not me, so please respect that.

Here are Helga's notes in Arial, my explanations will be in this type.

Changing the pattern from a drop shoulder sleeve style to a fitted or semi-fitted sleeve style.
The drop sleeve is the easiest style to write and knit, as it does not provide for ARMHOLE SHAPING, and for this reason often used for tops in pattern books.

However it is also the most unflattering style. Having a Shoulder/armhole point makes the garment look more "dressey".

Diagram 1
- Start by establishing YOUR shoulder width which is the width between the ARMHOLES.
- Change YOUR measurements into stitches.(Number of stitches for 10cm x YOUR MEASUREMENT.)
- Subtract that number of stitches from the number of stitches used for the BUST width (not hip width), ending up with the number of stitches you will need to reduce which is the width of the garment at the armhole point.
- Establish the number of rows for YOUR armhole and divide 1/3 of that number of rows.

NOW shape your Armhole Curve:
Draw a graph of 3 squares wide and 3 squares high.

The number of stitches to be used for the cube in my example is 17sts for each armhole.
Diving that number into 3 lots ends up with 6 sts for each of the first 2 squares and 5 stitches for 1 square, which are marked on the horizontal line of the graph (See diag 2)
Diagram 2

1/3 of the total armhole height in rows in my examplein Diag 2 is 36 rows. This number is divided into 3 lots and marked on the vertical line of the graph (see diag 2)

Now: Row counter on 000.
- Cast off the first 5 stitches of the next two rows
- Decrease 6 sts in 12 rows (1 x 2 x 6)
- Decrease 6 sts in 24 rows (1 x 4 x 6)
- Knit straight to the shoulder point.

This method of curving your armhole can be used for the FITTED AND SEMI-FITTED SLEEVE.

 I work this out on an excel spreadsheet, I put the stitch and row counts in and work out the decreases. Helga said you start with every second row and-
- if you have too many, you start with every row, changing to every second row so you hit the correct stitch and row count as per the grid.
- if you have too few, you start with every second row, change to every three or four rows so you hit the correct stitch and row count in your grid.

Shoulder shaping
Most shoulder shaping is over 2.5cm. eg, approx 8-12 rows. Convert your shoulder measurement into stitches, and divide by rows, say 32 stitches per shoulder in 8 rows (totalling 64), divided by 8 is decrease 8sts each side every row, using short rows, then one final row over all stitches to seal them.

Either do a 3 needle bind off or cast off shoulders and sew together. neck stitches can be left on waste/deckers or fine circular, ready for neck ribbing/finishing.

Next, onto the sleeves:

Diagram 3
Example of Alterations required to change from Drop shoulder style:

To Semi Fitted Sleeve Style:

Knit the sleeve in the same way as the Drop Shoulder style to under the arm point.

From this point
Decrease in exactly the same way as worked on the bodice.

Start PK: On an adult sleeve, PK is worked over 16 rows, pushing 4 needles to hold (and wrapping) each time.

Knit 1 row over all needles before taking off with waste yarn.

The advantage of this sleeve style is that the stitches, taken off with waste yarn, can easily be joined to the armhole edge using the knitting machine or linker.

This design sleeve cap can also be knitted from the top down, picking up the stitches, knitting the short rows and matching your armhole shaping.

Diagram 4

Draw up a graph of 4 x 4 squares. 
Divide the number of stitches for half of the sleeve into the sections:
The number of rows for the graph is 4/5th of the bodice armhole shaping, (before starting the shoulder shaping).
Helga's example in diagram 4:
Cast off 7 stitches,
Decrease 1 x 2 x 8 (= 1st each end, every 2nd row 8 times.)
Decrease 1 x 4 x 4, then 1 x 2 x 12
Decrease 1 x 2 x 4, then 1 x 1 x 12
Cast off remaining stitches (not on WY).
Sleeve top needs to be sewn into the armhole by hand.

As with the previous armhole shaping, I use excel spreadsheet to count out the rows then mark out the quarter row marks to ensure I have the correct number of stitches at each point and the final sts count to cast off. If using the example in diagram 4, I'd have 15sts x 2 = 30 stitches remaining to cast off. However when I'm at the machine I don't want to bother with anything but what row count to decrease, and I've found this format works very well for me. Here is the sleeve cap for my ZZZora for instance:

My row chart I use at the machine- all I want to know is what row I have to do my decreases.

Now we move onto the neck calculations:

Changing from a V to crew neck - or as I like to think - how to make a crew neck from nothing

Diagram 5

You may have a favourite pattern that you want to use again, but create a different neck design or you want to make the neckline lower or wider.

You will need to work from a measurement
The standard neck WIDTH for a Lady's garment size 10 to 14 is 18cm; sizes 16-22 is 20-22cm.
The standard DEPTH of a cre neck for all Lady's sizes is 7.5cm.
The depth of a V-neck is entirely the choice of the designer

To get away from the standard, you will need to establish the new measurement and change that into stitches and rows for which your use the Base numbers (st/rs = 10cm)
The back shaping is straight unless the front and back are scooped design.

To change the pattern from a Crew Neck to a V-neck, find the number of stitches you need to decrease one each side of the V-neck = NEW V-NECK WIDTH IN STITCHES DIVIDED BY 2.
For the NEW DEPTH, find the measurement you want to use and change that into rows.

NOW DIVIDE THE ROWS BY THE NUMBER OF STITCHES YOU NEED TO DECREASE, which gives you the number of rows you will need to knit between each decrease. (If the numbers do not divide equally, knit the "left over" at the shoulder straight without shaping - in fact having this last part of the neck shaping straight is preferable.)

To change the pattern from a V-neck to a Crew neck, find the number of stitches you need to decrease on HALF of the NEW NECK WIDTH.
Find the number of rows for the NEW neck depth.
Diagram 6

Work the curve in the same way as the Armhole curve

Cast off the centre stitches (2 x 8 sts)

Decrease 8 sts in the next 16 rows (1 x 2 x 8)

Decrease 8 sts in the next 32 rows (1 x 4 x 8)

That's it everyone, Helga (Guyot) would be thrilled if you used her instructions to make a better fit, however, please respect her intellectual property and acknowledge it.

Also please let me know if I need to expand any of the information. It is a lot of info to take in at once, but we had a lovely couple of hours, coffee and we could ask questions as we went.
And here is my sleeve cap and armhole shaping on my ZZZora: