Getting Started: Do the Math

Alright, so now that you have gathered together everything that you need, let’s get to designing! I will be using pencil and paper for this design, so if you are using digital means, please bear with the language and know that it doesn’t matter WHAT exactly you are using.

The very first thing that we will need to do before we even pick up pen and pencil is to figure out what it is we want to make. I will be walking you through a couple different ways to design on this blog, but for every one of them will require that you know what you’re making. So, take some time and figure out what it is you want to make. Already got it? Awesome!

I will be making the design for the dishcloth that I’m teaching in Crochet 101 and Knitting 101. One of the wonderful things about the kind of design I will be showing you is that you don’t need to know which method you want to use before you design it. Sometimes you’ll KNOW you want to crochet, and sometimes you won’t. And then there’s that odd time when you start off KNOWING you want to knit a design and your friend will take you to an embroidery or weaving class and now you’ve got a whole new world opened up to you.

To begin my design, I am going to write down the gauge for the project in the corner of my paper. I know that I want to work with the gauge recommended on the yarn label for this guageone. Because I know I am working with a cotton yarn, I can either read the recommended gauge on the skein I have picked out, or look over a few different skeins to find a gauge that is common or that I can work with. Reading off the label will also tell you what hook or needle size you will need for your project. If you want to be a little more free form about the whole thing, do up a gauge swatch to figure out what your gauge will be. The brilliant bit about THIS gauge swatch is you don’t have to do it over to match anything. Just take what you have, stitch comfortably and write down the measurements.

Now that we have the gauge figured out, we know how many stitches we need to make the calculatorsize item we’re creating. The standard dishcloth runs anywhere between 11 and 13 inches square, I’m gong to aim for smack dab in the middle at 12 inches square. Reading the label tells me that 18 stitches x 24 rows will make 4 inches of knitting and 13 single crochet x 14 rows will make 4 inches of crochet. Knowing that lets me pull out my handy, dandy calculator (or just my math brain for you math whizzes) and find that I will need to have a piece of work that is  54 stitches by 72 rows for knitting OR 39 single crochet by 42 rows for crochet. For those of you who are winging it, your gauge swatch should be 4 inches by 4 inches and as tempting as it is, please do NOT say “4 and a half stitches is about 4 inches” It will save you much pain if you use WHOLE numbers for your gauge.

Alright, now that the math is done, let’s move on to The Fun Part

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