A few simple changes, such as change of gauge, change of yarn or change of length over all, can give a new modern feel to old knitting patterns. If you are like me, I have lots of old sweater, hat, glove, sock, etc., patterns on my computer. These are patterns that I have made over the years and know what changes to make to have the fit and size I need. While I love my old aran style sweaters, the look of new designer sweaters are different. Modern sweater styles tend to be a more open knit, with a drapey relaxed style. Older sweater patterns were more about the warmth they provided and as such were knit in a much tighter stitch. One way to achieve this modern look is, by changing the gauge. Without changing from the recommended yarn, change the size of the needle to a larger size and you will have a looser stitch and more drape.
When you start a new knitting project, the designer will recommend a gauge for the completed garment. This is extremely important when knitting a garment that needs to fit- arms the right length or torso length. But, it’s also fun to be a bit of designer yourself and slightly change the gauge through the use of different needles.
Need Yard For Your Project?
Start by knitting the original swatch in the recommended gauge. On DK weight yarn, the typical needle size is a 6. Next , create a new swatch (yes, swatching is important!) up one needle size say from an 6 to a 7. Keep going up either a full needle size from a 7 to an 8 or even just a half size from a 7 to a 7.5, until you like the drape and the texture of the knit.
Now, you will need to convert from the written gauge in the pattern to the new gauge from your desired swatch. You can either do this with a pen and paper by dividing the new number by the old number, and that gives you the conversion number. Be sure to remember to do both the stitches and rows. Then multiply the original stitches and rows by this conversion number. Or, there are several free conversion calculators found by searching online. The one I like to use is: https://brendaabell.com/knittingtools/calculator/. Poke around and find one that you understand and are comfortable with.
Another option is to use the originally recommended yarn, but double it. Here again, be sure to make swatches to reach the look and drape that you are looking for. Another popular look in designer knitwear this year is the patchwork look.
These sweaters are fun as they can be done with those smaller leftover dabs of yarn in your stash, gauge can be completely different and even the surface textures can be different. Gather up your old swatches and create a new masterpiece!