Smoke Rings: Sizing for a Custom Fit

Smoke Ring with Lace Edging knitted by suehead on Ravelry

Measure head size to determine target circumference. Depending upon your personal preference, you might want to upsize or downsize a bit. For length, measure from your forehead to an inch or two below base of neck depending on your preferences.

If there is need to resize the circumference of a smoke ring pattern, it will usually not be major amounts such as might be needed for other parts of our bodies! One of these strategies will likely suffice —

1. If the pattern stitch multiple used in the pattern is a relatively small number of stitches (e.g. a multiple of the stitch pattern in the planned gauge is approximately equivalent to the measurement you need to adjust for), just add or subtract the corresponding number of stitches for that multiple.

2. If the pattern stitch is quite large, it might be adequate to adjust up or down by a needle size (or ½ needle size as available in some of the metric sizes). The drape of the fabric desired for a smoke ring is usually within some tolerance of a couple of needle sizes, and exact fit is not quite as important as if we were doing a sweater or socks.

Important! Remember that finished sizes for lace are taken after the lace is blocked. So be sure to take this into account in your project planning and sampling.

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8 Responses to Smoke Rings: Sizing for a Custom Fit

  1. Susan (sjanova) says:

    Oops. I’m thinking my lace edging might have gotten too long. I ended up stopped at the smaller size but when I pinned it out (no water, just laid out and pinned to show the lace), the strip is over 3 feet long. (Photos on Ravelry project page – sjanova.) Is the 22 inches or 24 inches the measurement around the edging or will it be getting tighter around when I add the next section above it and this will be fine to lie on the shoulders. Maybe it shouldn’t be stretched out that far and probably it won’t be once the next part is knit onto it? I haven’t yet grafted the two ends in case you recommend that I maybe go down a needle size or rip back several repeats or something else. Or if it’s ok as it is and I’ll feel better about it as we progress. (Yes, I realize you’re in transit this week and won’t be on line until probably next week.)

    • jackiees says:

      Susan, The finished circumference is measurement around the main knitted tube of the smoke ring. The instructions assume 5.5 stitches/in over stockinette, so the needle size you need to get that gauge is the needle size to use.

      The instructions do not call for blocking the edging beforehand because how much that is stretched out along the edge for pickup will be controlled by the main knitted tube after knitted. That’s ok that you blocked the edging already even though it does sound like you overstretched it – you can reblock after completing the knitting of the smoke ring and it should be fine.

      And yes, the lace edging will be somewhat longer on its own (about 50%) before proceeding with the pickup for the knitted tube so that there will be some ease in the edging to help it lie flat on the shoulders rather than cupping. The pickup rate is 1 stitch for every 2 rows of knitted edging (since there is a slipped stitch for every 2 rows of lace edging, picking up into each slipped stitch is an easy and neat way to draw in the lace edging a bit while automatically getting the right amount of ease).

      Does this help?

      • Susan (sjanova) says:

        Oh, I hadn’t checked in since I thought you were on the road, so I just now saw your comment. THANK YOU!! Yes, this is very very helpful and I’ll go ahead and graft the ends tomorrow after I’ve rested better. I didn’t wet block, just pinned it out to take a photo. Now that I’ve unpinned, it’s “jumped” back into the unstretched form. Maybe I’ll measure it just laid out flat without pinning except as needed to make it flat but not stretched. And then graft and after that go ahead and pick up in each slipped st and don’t stress about it. I hear that part. THANK YOU again. (Might not finish in October but I’ll try to do so anyhow.)

        • Susan (sjanova) says:

          P.S. I do like how the yarn is looking, by the way, and I think my niece will like it also. Thanks for encouraging me to use it.

  2. Pingback: What goes into the design of a smoke ring? | Knit HeartStrings Learn-and-Knit-Alongs

  3. Susan (sjanova) says:

    Just checking through the stash to see what I have that will work for the smoke ring. I came across some KnitPicks Shimmer, a laceweight (70% baby alpaca, 30% silk) in Galaxy, which is a somewhat variegated purples. I have plenty of this but one hank is 440 yards, so that should definitely cover the need for either size. My niece might love this for the purples and it would be lovely on her. She’s rather petite, so maybe the smaller size would work but if she doesn’t tie her hair into a little knot, she can sometimes have big hair, so maybe the larger size for pulling up over her head if she wants? Do you think the variegation would look ok or would it hide the lace too much? And what about sizing? If it’s the larger size, would it look too big if she just wears it around her neck and doesn’t want it over her head?

    • jackiees says:

      Susan, The Shimmer should work fine. At 440 yards, you will definitely have more than enough for either size.

      There’s quite a bit of solid area in the stitch pattern, so the color should hold up well even if it is slightly variegated. Why don’t you get started on the lace edging and use it as your “sample” to start seeing whether you like how the colors are showing up? (remember to stretch out as if in blocking to get the full effect)

      If you are uncertain about the sizing and how your niece usually wears her hair, then probably better to go with larger size?

      • Susan (sjanova) says:

        Thanks very much for your suggestion, Jackie. I’ve gotten started on the lace edging. Laceweight on US6 is challenging but I’m getting better at it now that I’ve knit about 7 repeats. I’m still finding it really hard to do that YO and then P2tog when the first of the two sts being worked also is a YO. So what I’ve done some of the time, if my needle tip just won’t go into that second st, is (with yarn in front since I’m purling) slip the YO from the prior row and purl the next st and then pass that slipped st (the YO) over. I think it looks right. Does this make sense? Yes, I try to do it as a P2tog first and resort to this when it doesn’t work. (I think some of the issue might be that it’s laceweight yarn. I’m not knitting tightly that I can see.)

What do you think?

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