Posted by: Sylvia, aka Shucky | December 3, 2011

Help, Please: Adjusting A Knitting Pattern

Q. I am trying to make a sweater with a hood, but find that both the 5 mm  and 4 mm needles make the swatch too big.  I get the correct tension with size 3 mm needles, but the patch seems quite dense. Can you suggest how I should adjust the pattern?

I am not using the acrylic yarn in the pattern, but a 3-ply wool which must be a lot thicker.


A. Using 3mm needles for any 3-ply is going to make it very dense, but 4 – 5mm should be perfect. You are going to have to count the stitches in the measurement (inches?) and adjust your pattern. I would do this by photocopying your pattern, then on every row, mark the number of stitches in a blue or red pen.

So if the swatch is supposed to be 24 st. over 4” (or 6 st = 1”), but you have 20 st over 4”, you are looking at 5 st = 1”.

Thus if the pattern says 36 st. you only need 30 st…everything would be recalculated by 5 st. per inch.

If you go for a lighter wool and 3mm needles, you will have a lighter garment, which might be appropriate for a baby, but might be too light for a hoodie for a child or adult.



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