Today I balled up the first skein (aka Skein DovieJay). I figured it would be a very good idea if I knit a swatch to make sure I can get something like gauge, in a fabric I don't hate.
So I hauled out my ball winder, because you can't knit from a skein (believe me, I've tried!).
Swatching, swatching, swatching...
Okay, I'm going to say it: swatches lie. We all know it, we knitters. But many of us do it without regret. Finding out what the fabric will feel like, what needles to use, etc., is not a waste of time, even if sometimes it feels like a waste of yarn. I've learned a lot swatching in the past. I've learned whole stitch patterns--the swatch for Catkin had its own chart, for pete's sake.
And the NEWT does not require a swatch. But. I am not going to spin 1500 yards of 2-ply yarn only to find out it's not going to work at all for the sweater. So. I swatched.
The pattern calls for size 4 needles, so I got those. I cast on 28 stitches (the pattern says gauge=26 sts=4 inches in stockinette, and I don't exactly ignore the rows but I don't worry too much about them either, and I've never had this backfire. I'm probably just stupid, or lucky, or both, but after 4 years of intense knitting I'm not going to change something that's working).
The size 4 needles gave me a loose knit, soft and smooshy. And 26 sts=5 inches. Okay, way too loose. So I went and got some size 3 needles, which I had decided would be as low as I'd go.
Oooh, much better. (In the picture you see #4 needles on the bottom and #3 on the top. Neat and clean and still supple enough to be happy.
But now 4 inches = 24 stitches, not 26. Dang. Okay, so it's time to do the Mathings, precious!
The sweater size I was planning on is the 44.5" sweater. The next size down is the 41" sweater. The mathings I did were this:
Wow, those numbers are awesome. Or at least, they're really close to *the same number.* Which is a really good thing, because I *think* (and I am not really particularly good at math) that this means that if I do the 41-inch sweater with a 6 sts/inch gauge I should get a 44.5" sweater.
Somebody check that for me, please. Math scares me.