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 Designing an Aran sweater
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Ceil
Permanent Resident

USA
1802 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2011 :  5:21:53 PM  Show Profile  Visit Ceil's Homepage Send Ceil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, my young autoharp student is at it again for 4H, this time designing and knitting an Aran sweater.

Question: It seems like she has an awful lot of stitches on her needles (228 for a rather slender body). If she went to a larger needle size after the ribbing, do you suppose that the draw-in that comes from the texture patterns might make the sweater the right size for her? I know I'm not giving a lot of details here which might be crucial, but it's okay to dream big with answers!

Thanks,

Ceil
Time is never a factor when joy is involved.

arlinem
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
442 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2011 :  7:10:01 PM  Show Profile Send arlinem a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Obviously gauge is going to be the key to your question. Here's how I do things when I design an Aran sweater. I swatch in stockinette stitch. I use that gauge and that gauge only. For the specific cables I increase stitches where the pattern occurs. For example, if I am placing a 12-st cable, my original cast on stitches are only going to be 6 for that cable; the other 6 are going to be increased right after the ribbing and I would do that for each different cable - especially those that draw in a lot. I would also leave the sides in a ground pattern, reverse stockinette, seed, moss, etc. so in case my pattern has drawn in too much, you can always add the few sts you will need at the side seams as you progress up the body of the sweater.

A word of caution regarding Aran sweaters and I will say that I learned this the hard way. Don't make them overly complicated. Pick 2 maybe 3 cable patterns, for example, honeycomb in the center surrounded by a braid and a flat-ish pattern like tree of life or jacob's ladder - something that won't draw in too much and then the ground for the rest of the sweater. The reason for this is purely physics. Aran sweaters are designed to concentrate a lot of yarn/fiber in a small amount of space. The more yarn/fiber, the warmer. And the heavier the sweater. Especially if you aren't working with wool or if your gauge is on the small size which at 228 sts sounds like it might be. Now you've got a sweater that is simply heavy. Warm but heavy. Heavy sweaters pull simply from sitting on your shoulders and they "grow", arms, bodies. What once fell right at the hip line over time completely covers your caboose, and sleeves, well they get rolled up. And it's not from something the knitter has done particularly wrong, just that the design needs to be carefully considered. If you search the net for "aran sweater" images, you're going to find a lot of commercially done sweaters many made by hand and if you look at them carefully, you're going to start seeing that pattern that i just described.

Going up a size in your needle is going to cause you to use more yarn. Same problem as with small guage. It might be that the number of patterns causes her stitch count to be so high so I would suggest taking another look at things.
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arlinem
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
442 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2011 :  7:12:43 PM  Show Profile Send arlinem a Private Message  Reply with Quote
guage of 5 sts per inch will get you 45" even with 6" of ease added in that would be 39" body under that sweater. are we talking twiggy slender or marily monroe slender?
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Ceil
Permanent Resident

USA
1802 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2011 :  12:53:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit Ceil's Homepage Send Ceil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Closer to Twiggy, with a little more bust; she's 36" or even less (I can't remember!). I'm inclined to think she might have many more stitches cast on than she needs.

Ceil
(Ravelry: ceilr)
Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
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La galloise
Chatty Knitter

France
163 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2011 :  3:48:49 PM  Show Profile Send La galloise a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The updated Alice Starmore Aran knits book, gives detailed instructions on how to design and measure an Aran sweater
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KathyR
Permanent Resident

New Zealand
2969 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2011 :  3:56:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit KathyR's Homepage Send KathyR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have the book A Fine Fleece by Lisa Lloyd which contains a number of aran-type sweater patterns. On looking in there the pattern for the Town and Country sweater (all-over patterning), for example, which is knitted in Cascade 220 Wool (which I'm sure you will be familiar with) and has a gauge of 20 sts to 4" in moss stitch using US 7 (4.5mm) needles, cast on 124 sts for both the back and front (total of 248 sts) for a finished measurement of 38 1/2" chest.

I think there is plenty of ease in Lisa's patterns but maybe your student's sweater won't be too hugely big? Depending, of course, on the yarn and the amount of patterning etc.

KathyR

If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.
My Blog
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lella
Permanent Resident

9714 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2011 :  1:40:09 PM  Show Profile Send lella a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm knitting a Drops Aran sweater (#59-6) in woman's small-medium and started with 228 stitches. DH wanted his sweater closer to the body. The finished circumference around the chest is supposed to be 45 5/8 inches and so far it's right there. I am using a smaller needle to get the gauge of 22 stitches x 30 rows (in an all over pattern) = 30cmx3oxm. The pattern calls for size 4 needles but I'm using 3's. Hope this helps.

Lella
Zippiknits
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cdnashdvm
New Pal

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2012 :  8:14:11 PM  Show Profile Send cdnashdvm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My mother is asking for a clan O'Neil patterned Aran sweater in a crew-necked cardigan and it's way beyond my ken and capacity. If anyone cares to weigh in or would like to take on the project, please let me know.
Thanks,
David
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