Matching (drastically) different row gauges

Maybe my Google-Fu is just off today due to sleep deprivation, but I couldn’t find any tips on how to do this. I did find this quote in Simona Merchant-Dest and Faina Goberstein’s The Art of Seamless Knitting: 

When combining stitch patterns vertically, the row gauge must be the same for all of stitch patterns used—otherwise, there will be stretching and puckering along the boundaries between different patterns.

OK, so just don’t do it. But what if I want to anyway?

A little background. Tommy is about to outgrow his Pukohukohu Jacket. This is fine, because it means I get to knit him a new jacket. I have a picture in my mind of a hooded jacket with brioche stitch on the back, arms, and bottom of the front, with a diagonal transition to stocking stitch on the chest. It’s not as complicated as it sounds… Or maybe it is. Anyway, it involves pairing stocking stitch with brioche vertically. Which is a problem, as it turns out.

I don’t think much about row gauge. I measure it when I’m designing sweaters, and I plug it into the calculations for, say, fitted shoulders. But it’s always pretty standard and so I don’t think about it any more than that.

I measured the row gauge for swatches of stocking and brioche stitches (knitted with different needles that give similar stitch gauges): 29 and 53 rows per 10 cm, respectively. Yikes. If I try to pair these vertically without doing anything special, it just won’t work. So do I abandon my idea, or try something experimental?

Obviously I’m going to experiment. I’ve knitted up a swatch where I use short rows to knit twice as many rows of brioche as stocking stitch, and it seems to work. I’ve used an odd number of stitches in the brioche section, and when I turn the short rows I just slip the first stitch. I’m using Japanese short rows, because I love them.


Stocking and brioche stitches, with short rows

I’m not knitting this jacket in pink, I just knit the swatch with the same yarn (Vintage Purls Max) in a different colour. This is probably Against the Rules (what if the dye somehow affects the gauge?!?) but I’ll take my chances.

I’ll have to post an update on whether this actually works, and I might have to adapt things a little (like skip a short row every once in awhile to exactly match the different row gauges), but I think this is going to work out.


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