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Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover Knit-Along: Gauge Swatch and Casting On!

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Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover Knit-Along: Gauge Swatch and Casting On!

Hello and welcome back to the Wisteria KAL! Hopefully you’ve had time to get your yarn and needles together because it’s time to dive into the the pattern with the all-important gauge swatch. Determining your gauge is crucial for getting on the road to a successful finished sweater. When you take to time to find the needle size that gives you the gauge of the pattern, you will be on your way to a sweater that actually turns out the size you want it to be!

The gauge of this pattern is 17 stitches over 4 inches (4.25 sts/in) and 24 rows over 4 inches (6 rows/in). To make a gauge swatch for this project, I recommend casting on at least 25 stitches and working for at least 30 rows so you have a nice large swatch to measure over. After I bind off my swatch, I measure both the stitch and row gauge by lining up a rule at the edge of one stitch and counting how many stitches fill 4 inches (see photos below). Make a note of these numbers, then wash and block your swatch. This is important as many yarns change slightly after washing, either shrinking slightly or very often “blooming” and getting a bit looser, so if you ever plan to get your finished sweater wet, wash your swatch! To do so, I soak my swatch in a sink of water for 10 minutes, gently squeeze out the excess water, then lay it out flat to dry. If you are using a cotton yarn for this pullover, you may want to spray block your swatch instead by laying it flat and wetting with a spray bottle. Once dry, re-measure your swatch as shown:
Stitch gaugeRow gauge
Before blocking, using a size 8 needle with Amazing (in Constellation) I had 18 stitches and 25 rows over 4″ x 4″, but after blocking I (magically!) had the exact pattern gauge of 17 stitches and 24 rows! It is not always possible to get both the stitch and row gauge on one needle size, so use the needle size that gives you the correct stitch gauge, but make sure to make a note of your row gauge with that needle size because that will become important when we get to the sleeves. If your first swatch does not result in the correct gauge, make another! If you have more than 17 stitches, your gauge is too tight so try a larger needle; if you have less than 17 stitches, your gauge is too loose so try a smaller needle. You can see more about gauge here.

Once you have determined the needle you need to use to get gauge, let’s talk about the pattern itself. Some of you have been posing questions about knitting in the round and the use of circular needles, so let’s start there. As far as choosing what type of needle to use, straight needles are perfectly fine for this project as all pieces are knit flat, but you also have the option of using a circular needle to better accommodate the number of stitches for each piece. Since I do a lot of my knitting on the subway in very cramped quarters, I tend to knit most things on circular needles to avoid jabbing the people next to me! My preference is for 29-32″ circulars, but for this pattern anywhere from 24″ and up will hold the number of stitches just fine. Just because you are using a circular needle does not mean you are knitting in the round. Instead, treat them just as you do your straight needles by turning your work at the end of each row and working back.

Some of you, however, have asked about converting this pattern to work it in the round, so let me talk about some pros and cons. I know many people dislike the seaming involved in making a sweater in pieces, and I understand the feeling. Often times, however, when a pattern is written in pieces instead of in the round there is a reason: seams provided structure to a sweater so it is less likely to stretch out of shape. This is great to keep in mind for any sweater but especially in this case where the pullover already has a relaxed fit. Although I love knitting in the round as well, I’ve learned from doing other sweaters that sewing seams isn’t that bad and can actually be a very rewarding finishing step. A later post will cover all of the different seaming techniques you’ll need to finish this garment beautifully.

Another important consideration if you still want to work this sweater in the round is to keep in mind what type of yarn you are using: self-striping or a solid color. When working a sweater in the round, you will eventually have to transition to working flat after dividing for the neckline and armholes. If using the recommended yarn, Amazing, the stripes will be much thinner when working the round and will then become much wider when you start working back and forth in rows, which may not be a look you want your sweater to have.

If you are using a solid yarn this is not a concern, so feel free to work as you wish keeping the stretch factor in mind. To convert to in-the-round, you generally want to take the cast on number for the back plus the cast on for the front, subtract 4 (2 stitches each side allowed for seaming) and cast on that many stitches. Adjust this number as needed to make it divisible by 4 so that the 2×2 ribbing still works out. Please keep in mind if you choose to work in the round that I will be working my sweater in pieces and the upcoming posts will focus on pieced construction.

As you start by casting on for the pullover, one final consideration to make is how long you want the body to be. As written, you work for 14 inches to the underarms, but this length is easily adjusted. The pattern does not have waist shaping, so you are free to make the body as long as you wish – this is why this is such a great unisex pattern! If you are following instructions for the similar Newcastle Pullover, the body for that version is already written as 17 inches to the armholes, 3 inches longer than the Wisteria. I suggest measuring a sweater you like the fit of, this time for length, to figure out how long you want to make the body of your sweater. Make a note of this length (I like writing all over my copy of patterns!) because if you make a change it will come into play when we work the front in a couple of weeks.

For now, figure out your gauge and then feel free to get going on the back of your sweater! It starts with three inches of a 2×2 rib (knit 2, purl 2) followed by your desired length to the armholes of stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl one row). Next week I’ll talk more about the back of your sweater and how to shape the armholes. Enjoy and see you next week!

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  • YaY! Excited over here in California!!

  • I cast on last night. Had to move down to size 7 needles. I’m using Amazing in Acadia. This is my first sweater and excited but just know I’ll fall behind. Looking forward to reading everyone’s posts.

    • The posts will always be here with everyone’s comments and suggestions, so no need to feel like you are behind. Just enjoy!

    • Good Luck! You can do it!!! 🙂

  • How’s everyone else doing with this. I’m well on my way. I like tunics so I’m going to make this extra long.

  • I’m ready to cast on!  I’m excited :O)

  • I cast on, too, but there were some significant concerns about this pattern in the comments section of the original pattern.  I hope we address those problems here before we get to those sections! 

    • Yep! No worries 🙂

  • Do you have any suggestions on how I can make my edges neat so my seams end up even and flat?

    • How do you mean? The seams are worked one stitch in from the edge, as I will go over in more detail in a future post in a few weeks, so having even end stitches isn’t crucial because that part will flip to the inside and be hidden. Does that make sense?

      • OK, thanks.  I was just a little worried about my loopy looking edges.

  • Hello Kendra…….

    My name is Paul, I am retired, and I have enjoyed following along with a few Knit-Alongs over the last year or so but have never actually undertaken the project along with you.  This time I decided to try it for myself.  I have spent a couple hours mentally trying parts and rewriting the pattern to work in simple bulky knitting machine terminology as I am not a hand knitter but have been making sweaters of all sizes and childrens clothing for many years on the three knitting machines that I currently own. 

    I started with the small size of this sweater and so far I have finished the back, front, and neck ribbing and assembled them.  I decided to go with 2 x 1 ribbing since I prefer the look of that ribbing over 2 x 2 ribbing.  I have finished one sleeve and will spend a few minutes this afternoon finishing the second sleeve. 

    I am using Forrest Green Heather Wool-Ease since I already had many ball of it waiting for an idea to hit me.  I will also be making a second sweater to perfect the machine pattern while I follow along with your Knit-Along project.  I try to finish as many seams as possible on the machine but I can see that I will have to revert to hand sewing to join the sleeve of this one with the sweater body.  I hope to finish a large and a childs size 24 by the time you are finished with the Knit-Along – wish me luck.  Lion Brand yarn has been a favorite of mine for a long time now and really enjoy having all those quality free patterns available on the net.  Well back to work…………….. Thank you ………. Paul

    • Hi, Paul,

      I’m going to do my ribbing and collar by hand and the rest by machine as I don’t have much time, being a commute to work kind of person.

      • How is it knitting on a machine? Is it hard to learn? I would like to try it.

        • Not, not hard to learn but the best way is to find a machine (the best machine is the one you own!), find a teacher who uses that machine and make up your mind that you are going to do exactly what the teacher says.  Once you have mastered or mistressed what the teacher can teach you, start breaking the rules and do your own thing.
          The greatest thing about the machine is that it teaches you patience!
          I’m a product knitter, that is, I like the design and working out process and then want it done now.  The actual knitting gets old very quickly so I like the machines.  Another point is that there are things that the machine does that would never be done by hand, and I try to hand knit things that can never be knit on the machine.  It is great to have both techniques in my armory. 
          However, there are people who could never be happy with a machine and I know machine knitters that have never knitted by hand.
          Look for one you can try out and see if it grabs you.  Be warned, it can be addictive!

    • Hi Paul: If you don’t mind sharing your pattern for the machine, I would like to try this on my Bond Classic. I can get the guage with a keyplate 3. I do both hand and machine knitting, and do the ribbing by hand since I don’t like the look of the latched-up ribbing ( I don’t own a ribber). I love patterns where the yarn does the talking and I don’t have to count bobbles or yarn-overs! Thanks.Fabritique

      • Hi Fabritique………..

        I agree with the latched-up ribbing plus it is too much work.  I don’t have the pattern typed up yet but will make it available in a day or two.   I will try attaching it as a JPEG file. You could do the ribbing by hand and then put it on the machine and then finish each part on the machine.  I have a Bond Ultimate Sweater Machine but have not used it since getting a Brother Bulky machine with ribber……………..I think they are the best……………Paul

        • Thanks in advance Paul for volunteering to post a machine knitting pattern. I own several machines that knit different gauges of yarn, so can’t wait.

  • I cast on and started ribbing.  I don’t think I’ll have problems until I get to the collar.  HOpe it’s not too hard.  Good luck to all.

  • Ah! I feel behind already! Too many WIPS!!! I know I can get gauge on size 8s with Amazing, so I am tempted to just dive it. I know better though. I need to swatch.

    • Update: I finished some WIPS so I swatched this weekend. (Amazing yarn) I got 10 sts in 2 inches on size 8, washed and blocked. Then I knit my second swatch on size 7 and pre-wash my gauge was 10sts in 2 inches, so I bet once it’s dry it’ll be even more sts per inch. I now reallize that I should have gone UP a needle size, not down. So I guess I’ll be swatching on size 9 tonight. 

      I’m going to go for the size large, but if my gauge is any tighter than called for I will run the risk of having a fitted sweater and I want my sweater to have possitive ease to look like the pictures.

  •  My “Amazing” yarn ~ in the colorway ‘Constellation’ arrived today!  I’ll do my gauge swatch tonight and block it so that I can get started tomorrow!  Thanks for all the detailed information.  Maybe I WILL try doing the sweater in pieces…   😉

  • uh oh I am still waiting for my yarn I mail ordered

  • Still waiting for my yarn! Can’t wait until it arrives!

    • You are not alone.  Hoping my yarn will be here soon. As it turns out I have an appointment tomorrow in the city (2hrs away) and could have gone to the my yarn store. Instead, I patiently wait for Fed Ex. Then on to gauge, cast on and the back.  I am already behind!

  • Hello there! I never thought about washing my swatch. What a great idea. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Washing did make a difference in my swatch using the Amazing yarn.  Before washing, I measured and thought I’d use a size 9 needle.  After washing,  I measured again and my gauge then indicated a size 7.  In my case, it made a big difference.  I will always wash first from now on.

  • Just read my Lion Brand email and this caught my eye. Love the amazing yarn.  I have never done a knit along or a sweater and I am very tempted to try this one.  As some are still waiting for their yarn-I just might try this one. First step a swatch….. that’ll be a first also.   🙂

    • I am in the same boat! I have wanted to do a knit-a-long for a few months now, but haven’t found the right project, then I saw this sweater in my email and just LOVED IT! I have never done a sweater before either, so I am excited about both!

  • I started my ribbing, and it’s my first sweater to make.  Kinda of nervous about putting the work into something I may not be able to wear.  Ha!  I guess I need to make the swatch, I’m sure it will be worth the time.  Looking forward to working together with everyone.

  • I am using Wool-Ease.  I never thought of making the swatch bigger or washing it.  i will try that, as i have made two swatches already and my knitting is still too loose.  I I go down on needle size, does that affect the needle size used for the ribbing?

    • it can because the ribbing stretches.  I learned that from the last KAL

    • Yep, use a needle a couple sizes smaller than you need for the body to knit the ribbing.

  • I just cast on and I found the most yummy solid Teal in Vanna’s Choice.  This is my second KAL, I am just finishing up on the Saturday Morning Hoodie from last season.  I hope to be more in line with everyone else with this one.  I have MS and R-Arthritis and it is getting colder.  So wish me luck and good luck to everyone!

    • GOOD LUCK!!

    • I have arthritis in my hands too, and I like having some sort of follow-along like this, so I can keep myself motivated. I made the Saturday Morning Hoodie, and it was really neat to watch it coming together. I loved the tips offered on the blog-format, and it helped me hugely to get it done. It turned out too big (of course) but that’s okay, because I really like a big sweater anyway, and it looks better in a hoodie cardigan than it would in another cardigan (in my opinion).

    • I am also using Vanna’s choice in dusty Blue. It knits beautifully and feels great.

  • I want to knit along and am excited I found this blog.  How do I get the pattern and material list?  I’m unable to locate it.

  • I’m a late starter, too, but I’m definitely going to give this one a try.  I’m a fairly experienced knitter, but I know that I would be delayed if I have to place an order for yarn, then wait.  I live in Canada.  So I will do the gauge test with a substitute yarn.  This is so exciting!

    • This doesn’t seem “late” to start it. I haven’t even gathered up the yarn skeins yet. LOL. I may have to wait to start this, and come back and look at the blog entries from the beginning in a couple weeks. I did not “keep up” well on the last KAL, but I ended up still finishing it at about the same time most others appeared to. Some weeks I have a lot of time, some weeks I have NO time.

  • I’m still waiting for my yarn, but I’m excited to get started, this is my first sweater and first swatch. I think the swatch has me more afraid!

  • I am hoping my yarn comes tomorrow. Also hoping there will be a way to see everyone’s color and yarn choices made up. It was hard to choose from several tempting Amazing colorways.

  • I got started late on last year’s hoodie. I am ahead of the game this time. I just bound off my back. Tomorrow I will cast on for the front. I am a little worried about the size. I didnt wash my swatch. It turned out large so I reduce my needle sizes. The back finished measures perfectly. I dont mind if it stretches out a little but will be unhappy if it tightens up upon washing. Sigh! it may end up a Christmas gift. I used Vanna’s choice. Can anyone tell me how it reacts to washing?

    • In my experience, Vanna’s Choice doesn’t change in the washing.  I put it in the handwash cycle of my front loader and then in the dryer on a synthetic setting.  All comes out beautiful.

      • Glad to hear about Vanna’s choice yarn.  Here where I live Michael’s only had Vana’s choice the other yarns they did not carry and I have never used Vanna’s choice.  I have cast on my  stitches  and knit 1 row. 

      • Thanks for your response Bonniecand. I am relieved. I hope to finish the ribbing on the front tonight.

  • Is that Amazing yarn that’s pictured in your swatch, Kendra? If so, what colorway?

    • Yes it is, in Constellation. 🙂

      • Thought it might be Constellation or Glacier Bay.  I was trying to decide between the two and wound up choosing Glacier Bay.  Will be good to see the road not taken 🙂

  • Will die lot matter in the Amazing color scheme? Also, what type of cast-on method do you recommend for the ribbing? I usually do a knit on cast on. Would this work? I’ve learned some others, and can brush up on one, if there is one you would recommend.

    • While it’s always a good idea to use the same dye lot when possible, mis-matched dye lots will matter less in Amazing than with a solid yarn. As far as a cast on, I tend towards the long-tail cast on and I find it works well for ribbing. You can view a video here, just click on the video “Long Tail Cast On”:

  • Although the patterns look exactly the same, the Lodge Pullover looks much shorter than the Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover, why is this?

    • Must just be the difference in models because they are worked to the same measurements.

  • I had enough yarn in my stash to get started right away last Thursday. Swatch came out perfect so I cast on for the back. The yarn I choose is an alpaca blend and with the 3″ of ribbing done it is wonderful. I plan on making the longer version. I’m excited to be knitting along with all of you. Have fun 🙂

  • to get a really neat edge that is easy to seam, always slip the first stitch as if to knit, and purl the last stitch.  the edge will look like a chain stitch (except for the bumps where you forget–at least i always have a few) and it is so much easier to keep the rows even as you sew it up.

  • What cast-on method do you recommend?  Tubular?

    • I did long-tail.  It gives you a nice stretchy bottom for the ribbing.

  • I want to do this one!  What yarns, other than Amazing are people using?  Getting ready to swatch

    • Wool-Ease in natural heather.  I love the mix of wool and acrylic.  It has a wonderful feel and satisfying to knit with.  Oooo and washable!

    • I’m using Vanna’s Choice in grey marble, acrylic/rayon blend. I couldn’t purchase enough of the Amazing where I live so opted for this and the price was right. I did alter the needle size down because the yarn is chunkier than the Amazing even though they’re both a 4.

    • Vanna’s choice in Purple Print.

  • I’m not new to knitting but feel I know just enough to be dangerous! I started the sweater last weekend, I’ve finished the armhole shaping. I really wish I’d waited because I had no idea about doing the gauge as above. I’ve always knit the number of stitches, rows and measured. I did do a gauge, I had to reduce the size of my needles. Hopefully not doing the gauge as above won’t become a problem later.

    • I also used Vanna’s choice. . . Barley. And had to go down  in needle size.  I am a little scared bc i normally have done sweaters with a bulkier yarn and size 9 or 10 needles.  The thought of working with a 6 needle seems like this sweater will take forever 🙂

      • Remember to change you needles for the larger ones when you are done with the ribbing.

      • I almost always need to go down 2 sizes in needles – I guess I knit rather loose.  BUT I tried a partial swatch at size 7, and ended up with a full swatch at gauge at size 8, with washing even! My first time washing a swatch.  With baby booties and scarves, it didn’t seem critical.  What a surprise for me! The first time EVER I knit the recommended needle at the right guage!
        I have noticed that switching yarn brands can effect the guage and needle size quite a bit.  Certain Worsted weight (and other weights that are supposed to be technically the same weight)  yarns seem and knit up much thinner or thicker than what the yarn in the pattern did.
        ps: after buying all the wildflowers in town, decided to go back to Glacier Bay, and now have to hunt down 5 more! Sheesh!

      • Allison, I’m using the size 6 needle also, works up pretty fast. I’m beyond the arm shaping but stopped after reading the blog. I got a little nervous when I saw how they did the gauge so figure I’ll stick to the program instead of moving ahead. Only thing I did notice, I’m doing the medium that states a 42 chest, seems like it will be snug. I could be wrong, we’ll see. Will make a lovely gift if it doesn’t fit me.

  • Bought yarn and i will be going to a conference for a week, so this will give me something to do. Can’t Wait to get started this weekend before i hit the road.
    Happy Knitting Everyone!

  • Speaking of gauge…
    I’ve done two swatches.  My need sizers are packed away (my house is for sale) so I’m guessing on needle sizes.  My first swatch (before washing ~ they’re soaking in hot water right now) is 18(w) X 17(h) and the second one (which looks much smaller than the first) measures 17 x 16.  I appear to be close on stitch gauge but WAY off on row gauge.  Do I do anything to try to correct this?  When I ‘block’ the swatches, do I pin them out, slightly stretched as when blocking lace or just let them dry flat?

    How embarrassing to be this confused when I haven’t even cast on yet!  😉

    • Hi there. When blocking my swatches I just lay them out on a small towel, smoothing it flat but not excessively stretching and no pins – I just want to know what the yarn is going to do naturally. As far as your gauge, I’m not sure why your row gauge is so short but how you knit is how you knit. Your row gauge won’t matter until we get to the sleeve cap because everything else in the pattern is worked to a certain number of inches, regardless of how many rows it takes to get there. As I mentioned in the post above, just be sure you know your row gauge and we’ll discuss it when it comes time for the sleeves.

  • How snug is the ribbing at bottom of sweater?  Could it be knitted with the larger needles or would that make it too loose?  Is there any looser-type stitch that would work well around the bottom?

    • Take a look at the version here, which shows the sweater flat to give you an idea of how snug the ribbing it compared to the body.

      As far as alternatives, you could try either larger needles for the ribbing or reverse stockinette for an inch or so (purl on the right side, knit on the wrong side), then switch to regular stockinette (knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side) to continue the body. This way the curl will roll to the inside and stop, instead of rolling up continuously. 

  • I think I found the pattern’s first mistake. It says for K2 P2 rib – Knit the knit stitches and purl the purls. Really?  That’s what I did and I’m getting some funky double seed stitch.  Knitpicks says purl the knit stitches and knit the purls.

    • Hi there. When the pattern says to “knit the knits and purl the purls”, it doesn’t refer to how you made the stitch originally, it refers to how they look on your left hand needle as you are about to knit them. So *technically* you knit a stitch on one side and then purl it on the other to create stockinette or ribbing, but we refer to a stitch by how it looks before you work it from your left hand needle so you make it match. If you see a V, you need to knit that stitch whereas if you see a bump, you need to purl the stitch.

      See an illustration of what I mean here:

      That kind of explanation, “knit the knits, etc,” is very common to see in a pattern. The idea is that you shouldn’t have to remember what you did on the previous row because you can read your knitting to figure out what kind of stitch to work next. Hope this helps!

      • *Chuckle* I guess it’s just a matter of different brains processing the same info in different ways.  I find it *Much* easier to remember the previous row than to read the knitting, esp. with a fuzzy yarn.

        • nobodyssister, I read the pattern the same way, then I got a book out on edgings and thought about changing it, but ended up just doing the reg 2x rib.

  • Did my swatches last night, and cast on today. I’m about an inch into the ribbing and I’m loving the Amazing Arcadia!

    • I’m using Arcadia too. I’m still in the ribbing also and wondering how this will look when starting another skein. I’m especially concerned about the colors since I have to use two dye lots. I think I’ll just let it flow from one to the other and hope for the best. I love this colorway and I’m sure I’ll be using this yarn again. Looking forward to seeing everyone’s posted photos of their work.

      • A tip for multiple dye lots:  lay out a length of yarn of each skein until you are able to see the repeat.  It can be anywhere from 12 to 36 inches. Lay the lengths next to one another and and observe how the colors change in each length.  Does anything glaring jump out to you?  The more similar the colors flow the less noticeable the skein change will be in the sweater.  If something galring DOES jump out, like a large patch of lime or ornge or something odd, it’s best to ALTERNATE the skeins to avoid pooling of a color not common to both skeins, or just different between the two dye lots. Hope this helps!

      • The color shifts in Amazing tend to be such that different dye lots shouldn’t be a problem because there are so many colors! If you alternate skeins every 2 rows (as is often suggested for different dye lots in more solid colored yarns) you will lose some of the affect of the slow striping, but it’s up to you.

  • I am starting my decreases for the arm holes now.  I also never thought to wash the swatch after knitting  OOOOps I sure hope all this work is not for nothing!  I am making it for my daughter who never got back to me about size before I started so she better stick to her diet.

  • Purchased yarn today.  Decided on something different.  Bought Berroco Vintage.  The color is sort of hard to describe.  Think 3 strands of midnight blue twisted with 1 strand of deep red.  Really pretty.  Any suggestions for alternative beginnings?  I do not have the figure to be accentuated by snug ribbing.  This is my first sweater.  Should I just use the larger needles create loose hanging ribbing or should I try a different type of stitch? 

    • Great choice for a fall project!  I bought the yarn and did my swatch today.  Looking forward to knitting this sweater.

    • Hi!  You could eliminate the ribbing alltogether and just begin with the stockinette.  It would give the a straight, more square look that doesn’t snug in at the hips like the ribbing will.

      • However keep in mind if you just use stockinette at the bottom it will roll up. Another alternative is to use reverse stockinette for an inch or so, ie purl on the right side, knit on the wrong side, then switch to stockinette (knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side) so that the curl will roll to the inside and stop, instead of rolling up continuously. You could also keep the ribbing but work it on the same needle size as the body to make it looser. Enjoy!

  • I think I will knit blanks to solve the ‘stripes getting wider’ issue when I start decreasing for the armholes.  I will mark the stitches I have to decrease with a short piece of a different yarn and then do a zigzag stitch on the sewing machine before cutting out the armholes and neck opening.  I know this is way out for this KAL, but I don’t like the changes when the width gets narrower.

  • Since I´m knitting for my BJD, I had to recalculate the sts needed (58 sts). On the front, you bind of the center 18 sts. Should that nr be the same considering I´m doing it 3 sizes smaller? It seams a little big…

    • That’s up to you, just keep in mind you will have to re-work how wide to make the collar to fit if you make the bind-off smaller. While it does look like a large opening, this sweater does have a nice generous shawl collar so keep that in mind. Enjoy!

  • I am so glad you talked about knitting in the round because I was going to do this.  I want to try to make this by continental knitting method, but I think I will save that for an afgan for something that isn’t fitted.  I am nervous about the guage and if I get tired and switch back to the English method, it could create changes in the gauge.  I think I am going to use the round needles though as it gets so heavy on the straight needles and I feel more comfortable when I stop knitting pushing both sides between the needles and not losing stitches. 

    Finally, thank you for further educating me on gauge swatching.  I didn’t know about washing first then remeasuring.  That is going to be very helpful.  I hope I can get this going by next week, so I am not behind. 

    • My concern is matching the stripes from front to back.  Can anyone enlighten me on what you are doing?  I hate pulling out half the yarn to get to the same starting point.  I don’t want my stripes to be different.  Maybe I am getting ahead of the game since we are only swatching now….

      • Given the nature of Amazing as a subtle color changing yarn, it’s more of an all-over color effect than something that will be easily matched stripe to stripe. I know it’s nice to have the stripes match up, but for this sweater I think it’ll look great even without perfect matching because of all the great colors in each ball of Amazing.

  • With the random color changes of the ‘Amazing’ yarn, I can’t imagine that there is ANY way to match the striping of the front and back…

    • BCshepherdess,

      I agree with you and I was wondering how that is going to work.  I come from matching the strips and let me tell you, my 4-H leader when I was a kid, killed me with the matching stripes.  I have never forgot it and am worried about how the sweater will look if the stripes do not match at least somewhat.

    • Given the characteristics of the subtle striping of Amazing, matching stripes is going to be tricky. I’d say the way the stripes are all over and not uniform in size makes it ok that they don’t line up. When you are striping the yarn yourself it more imperative that the stripes match up, but I think of Amazing as more of an all-over color yarn so I’d worry less about matching. Enjoy!

      • I’m at the end of my first skein of yarn, I’m not concerned about matching the stripes front to back, but I am a bit concerned about changing skeins.  Should I try to find the repeat in the yarn when changing skeins?  I do notice the difference in other works I’ve knitted with self striping yarn. I’m also concerned that the repeat may be hard to discern. Are you just adding on however, or trying to stay in stripe?


    • I had the same concern when working on last year’s KAL. I finally stopped worrying about it because the blocks of color eventually balanced out and I really love the way it turned out. This year the yarn I am using is more of a varigated yarn and really doesn’t form the stripes. I am much more comfortable with this.

  • ok, almost done with the ribbing and just measured it, it came out at 20 in slightly stretched (for a large- which should be at 23in), if streched more it does reach the 23 but looks stretched. . . .should i be worried or wait till i get up into the body more and then measure. fyi, after doing my gauge i realized that i needed to knit with size 6 which means size 4 for ribbing. . . should i do ribbing in a larger # and rip out what is done or just relax and let it be 🙂 (i am knitting in Vanna’s choice)

    • Allison,

      I am confused, where are you seeing the 23 inch width?

      • I got this number from the ‘picture’ or graph chart next to the directions where the measurements are given and the ‘look’ of each item. Did i read this wrong?

    • Hi! The point of ribbing it to provide a sturdy edge that gives the sweater some shape and does not roll as a stockinette edging would. You can see from the photo of the similar pattern in the Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend how tight the ribbing is compared to the body of the sweater. Also keep in mind that the ribbing will relax some once blocked. You are more than welcome to try the ribbing again in a size 5 if you want it to be even more relaxed. Hope this helps!

  • Hi, I’m Amy, this is the first sweater I’m knitting…I’ve tried knitting gauge swatches before but never thought to wash them.  Luckily, it came out about 4 inches for 24 rows.  But I noticed as I’m knitting the body of the sweater my gauge is off.  It’s a couple rows longer than 24 rows for 4″…is this okay?  Will it shrink like the gauge swatch did, after soaking in water?  I’m not sure how to measure to the armholes…well, it’s only a sweater.  I think it’ll be okay.  I’m just continuing to knit now like there are 6 rows to the inch instead of 4 or 5 rows to the inch.

    Thank you for your help:-)

    • Hi there – just keep an eye on it. In general I don’t find that row gauge shrinks because once the full sweater is together it has quite a bit of weight that tends to stretch row gauge if anything. However until the sleeve this is worked to a certain number of inches, so just measure your pieces for length regardless of rows, and once you start the sleeves make a note of the actual row gauge you have been getting for the body of the sweater. Enjoy!

  • So I’ve cast on. Since I had to go down to sz 7 needles, I am knitting the ribbing with sz 5. But my width is only 15 inches , not 19 inches. Will it get to 19 when I start the stockinette stitch?

    • Hi! The point of ribbing it to provide a sturdy edge that gives the sweater some shape and does not roll as a stockinette edging would. You can see from the photo of the similar pattern in the Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend how tight the ribbing is compared to the body of the sweater. Hope this helps!

  • I did my test swatch and I’m good to go on #8 and I’m happily started on the back. Starting is always difficult, I think I ripped it out 3x’s before getting it right. My teenage daughter share my needles with me, so I’m down to 2 different #6’s (she doesn’t know where the matches have gotten to!). So barring that challenge- long and short, wood and metal, I’ve finally got a few good rows behind me!

  • Pattern says to finish on WS on ribbing but both sides look the same to me. Does this matter or can I just go to stockinette after ribbing is 3 inches?

    • Hi there – although subtle, there is a slight difference: from one view the it starts and ends with 2 knits (the right side) and on the other it starts and ends with 2 purls (the wrong side). Hope this helps!

      • Thanks sure does

  • I’m afraid to even ask this but here goes…
    I’m up to the armhole opening on the back of my sweater and it’s apparent that it’s going to be too small for me ~ based on the measurements.  It measures 19 inches across and is 15 inches long before starting the arm opening.  I want it a little longer than the photo so am deliberately doing that.  My (stupid) question is:  since I am on track to knitting the pattern in small (which is what I chose based on the measurements given and the fact that everyone said it runs large) but I actually want it in a medium or large!  Since there are only 4 inches different in the width of a small and a large, would it be possible for me to just make the front piece four inches wider?   I’m thinking this would move the side seams back 2 inches on each side but would that necessarily be too terrible?  I figure the back is flat anyway so it shouldn’t matter if it stretches a bit but I want the front to fit right. 

    Am I totally off my rocker?  Should I just rip out the whole thing and start over?

    It’s SO pretty!!!

    • For the love of your yarn and the respect of the beautiful sweater you are trying to create, RIP IT BACK!!  Consider this exercise part of the learning experience and start fresh.  Knitted pieces are an investment of both time and love and I want to feel proud of the finished piece and the time I devoted.  I wouldn’t want to shake my head everytime I looked at it knowing I could have fixed it.  You’ve written “It’s so pretty”.  Imagine how ‘Amazing’ it would be when done correctly!

      • You are right KnitterMom.  That’s why I ripped out all 15 inches ( X 82 stitches) tonight!  The good news is that the yarn held together in all the places that I attached a new color. I’ve now got about 2 inches of the ribbing done.  I went with a large.  Now I hope it doesn’t end up too BIG!


    • Hi there – I know you already ripped back (which I would suggest as well) but as an aside although it sounds like it would give you the right size around to make the front wider, it would throw off all of the seaming – the shoulders wouldn’t line up and the sleeves wouldn’t be positioned correctly. Essentially you would give yourself the extra inches only in the front and would not change the sizing of the back piece at all.

      Just as aside, some sizing changes can be made when blocking, so for future reference you may be able to block a piece to the size you want without ripping and re-knitting.

  • This is the cutest ever!  I knit too slow….I have been scouring the internet looking for a similar pattern in crochet with no luck at all!

    • Hi Kim, I just spotted a great unisex shawl collar pullover in crochet in our friend, the Crochet Dude, Drew Emborsky’s book “The Crochet Dude’s Designs for Guys” called “Saugatuck Winter” that seems to fit the bill. The book’s available on

  • I didn’t see an answer to my question so I’ll ask again.  Why in the medium at the top of the back do you end up with 70 stitches, 16, 38, 16 but a the top of front instead of the 16 you have 18 stitches?  I put the 38 onto a stitch holder to save having to pick them up when I start the collar is that a good or bad idea?

    • Hi Ann,
      I don’t know about the number of stitches but I like your idea of using a stitch holder.  I hate picking up stitches!  I’ll be anxious to see what others have to say about it…

      Good luck!

    • I recommend working as the pattern indicates by binding off the stitches and picking them up later because just as working in pieces and seaming provides greater stability, so does binding off and picking up stitches.

  • […] Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover Knit-Along: Gauge Swatch and Casting On […]

  • You will find that not casting off and picking up stitches won’t give the back of the neck enough stability and it will streeeetch out of shape.  Experienced that myself.


    Thanks for sharing.


  • Help!!!I am trying to find where the pattern/garment sizes, stitch numbers and quantity required are and cannot find it. I am new to the site and am using that as an excuse although I have looked. Being in Australia,our wool is normally graded by ‘ply’ but going from what I have read from other blogs, this pattern requires size 8 needles. Is that 8us thus 4mm? could you bet back to me asap so I can get started. Thanks, Sandra

    • Bingo! Have just found it and have enough of a purple tweedy like wool that is about the right ply so now all I have to do is pull it out, check I have enough and get knitting to catch up. See all fellow knitters down the track.

    • The full pattern is available for download here:

      You will need to create a free account and be logged in to access it, but it’s a quick process! It is recommended on US 8 needles, which are 5mm, but your gauge may vary. Hope this helps!

      • Yes it did and yes, I was logged on and have now got the pattern thank yoi

  • Hi, my name is laurie and I’ve knit and crocheted for many years, just little things, a sweater I began and am about 3/4’s of the way through.  I’m hoping with this KAL, maybe afterward, I’ll gain the confidence to finish it.
    Usually, I’m right on with swatch work, but this time I’m on my fourth swatch, I’m up to size 10 and my gauge is at
    18 stitches and 26 rows.
    Surprisingly, over 7,8 and 9 (size) there is only one or two stitch and row differences.  Any thoughts?
    I would appreciate any insight.
    Thank you.  I love this idea of knitting along!

    • Hi there. It sounds like on the size 10s your gauge is too loose, so maybe use the 9s? You have a little room to play when blocking if it is a little tight, but if it’s too loose it may stretch out more than you want. Hope this helps!

  • Ok, so I’ve tried a gauge swatch twice on size 8 needles….and I’m getting about 19 stitches per inch. I live very rurally and can’t run out to buy larger needles. I’ve only got size 6 and 8 needed for the pattern. I’ve done the math to figure out that at my current gauge, a Medium will come out to a Small chest measurement. Since we’re doing all of the length measurements in inches, and not in rows, can I cheat and just size up my pattern? I’d really like to get started and it will be days before I can go to town for new needles!

  • […] Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover: Gauge Swatch and Casting On […]

  • […] a bit tricky, but we’ll make it through with the help of our row gauge. Remember back in the post about gauge when I told you to go with the needle size that gives you stitch gauge but to know what your row […]

  • […] Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover: Gauge Swatch and Casting On […]

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