QUESTION OF THE MONTH
THE OLD SWITCHEROO
Q I’ve got a lovely pattern written for an aran-weight yarn, but I would like to knit it in DK. What size needles do I need to knit my DK with to make my garment the correct size?
Esther Chard, via Facebook
As a general rule, changing the weight of the yarn used isn’t worth the hassle – there are lots of gorgeous aran-weight yarns at all sorts of prices, so we recommend that you choose your favourite and use that. However, if you are determined to swap a DK yarn for an aran yarn there are several ways you can try, although none of them give you quite the same result as using an aran yarn. We strongly recommend testing your skills on a small project, such as a baby jumper, before launching into an adult one. 1 Use one strand of DK and increase your needle size until you find a pair which gives you the tension directed for the aran. This will produce a very loose, open fabric. 2 Try knitting with two strands of DK held together to see if the fabric produced is suitable and gives the tension required. It it’s too large, experiment with other combinations such as a strand of DK and a strand of 4ply together. 3 Knit a larger size. Calculate how big the piece you would like to knit should be in the aran-weight yarn (eg 100 sts at 4 sts per in = 25in) and how many stitches you would have to cast on using the DK to get the same width (eg 25in at 8sts per in = 200sts). Go back to the pattern and knit the size indicated. (These simplified numbers are for example only.) Of course, as the number of rows per inch will be smaller, any motifs will be shorter and you’ll have to adjust the length of the garment in every instance, as well as altering the armhole and neck shaping. If you don’t, you’ll wind up with a sweater that is too short, with sleeves you can’t get your arms into, so don’t attempt this method unless you’re confident you can make these adjustments.
Converting an aran pattern into a DK one (like this great one from Simply Knitting issue 139) can be done with some skill, though you might find it’s trickier than it’s worth