Aidez KAL: Adjusting Decreases for Raglan Armhole

Hi everyone, I’m Alison and I do a little bit of everything for the design team. I don’t normally write on the blog, but I wanted to share an easy equation that should help a lot of you participating in our Aidez KAL.

Sometimes when substituting yarns, you can achieve the stitch gauge, which is typically more important, but the row gauge remains elusive. This is generally fine for most things, but for a raglan such as Aidez, which I’m currently knitting for our KAL, the row gauge is actually pretty important to ensure that the armhole will fit correctly.

For my Aidez, I’m using Inca Tweed. While my stitch gauge is right on, my row gauge is 22 rows to 4″, instead of the 16 rows called for in the pattern. Therefore, I am going to need to adjust the number of rows in my raglan shaping in order for the armhole to be long enough. Here is how I will do that.

Because my stitch gauge is correct, I can use the same number of decreases as there are in the pattern. I’m making the size M, which has a total of 18 decrease rows.

Next, I will figure out how many rows my raglan should be. I want the raglan to be 9″ long as indicated on the schematic. At a gauge of 5.5 rows per inch, that works out to be 50 rows. (In fact, 49.5, but I’m rounding to a whole, even number.)

To figure out the rate of decrease, I would divide my 50 rows by 18 decreases. But of course, 50 doesn’t divide evenly by 18 – that would be too easy! So here is where things get a little bit interesting. If we divide 50 by 18 we get 2.77. So that tells us that some of the decreases will be worked every 2 rows, and some will be worked every 3 rows. (That would mean that some decreases will be worked on WS rows, but I’ll address that below.)

There is a wonderful formula for calculating these uneven divisions, which I first learned from Shirley Paden’s book, Knitwear Design Workshop.

To follow along, we should first review some vocabulary you probably learned as a kid in school:

  • The “dividend” is the number being divided.
  • The “divisor” is the number doing the dividing.
  • The “quotient” is the answer.
  • The “remainder” is the number left over if you don’t want any decimals/fractions. You find the remainder by multiplying the quotient by the divisor and subtracting the result from the dividend.

math1

Still with me? I hope no one is having horrible flashbacks to elementary school math classes. The next part is magical.

Now we’re going to figure out how many of our decrease rows will be worked at each interval. We know that some of them will be worked every 2 rows. We add 1 to the quotient (because we’re rounding up to the next whole number), and that will be the second interval – i.e. we will work some of the decreases every 3 rows.

  • Take the divisor and subtract the remainder – that is the number of decreases we will work every 2 rows.
  • The remainder is the number of decreases we will work every 3 rows.

math2

So, we will work 14 decreases every 3 rows, then 4 decreases every 2 rows.

Now, suppose I want to work the decreases only on right side rows? (Which, as it happens, I do.) For this calculation, instead of using 50 as the dividend, I’m going to count only the right side rows, so I’ll divide 50 by 2. There are 25 right side rows. Then I simply go through the same process, this time dividing 25 by 18.

math3

Remember, these are only counting right side rows, so we need to multiply the results by 2 to get the total number of rows for each interval.

Therefore, I will decrease every 4 rows 7 times (every 2 RS rows x 2 = 4 total rows in this interval), then every 2 rows 11 times (every 1 RS row x 2 = 2 total rows).

This may seem like a lot of work, but once you get used to the calculations involved it’s not so bad, and it’s totally worth it to have an armhole that fits well! Plus, there are tons of other ways to apply this formula in your knitting.

Can you think of any ways you might use it?

3 Comments

  1. I’m knitting Aidez with my handspun 24 row to 4″ .These calculations will come in handy when I’m at raglan decreases. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you very much. I just made a fitting arm hole by applying part of the formula..I must say I had almost given up when I came across your sum.

  3. Wow, never even thought about the armhole needing adjustment. Came here looking for help with front panel pattern because the seed section looks like the sleeve and not like what I see in the picture of the front. Also, I was hoping someone could point to someone who has already worked out the right hand side.

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