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I have one question that you might think about as you design this. I usually knit in the round because I hate seaming (and purling but, as you said, purling is a given in an Aran) but, my gauge changes when I go from in the round to back-and-forth and usually have to drop down a needle size. Sometimes, if the pattern is such that the number of purls and number of knits are about the same I'm ok (my purling is larger). So, as we go through this, if we need to change from one to another, would I have to reswatch the whole thing?
Mary brings up a good point. A lot of us do have different gauges when knitting flat and knitting round. I'm going to have you work a flat gauge swatch because the top part of the sweater is worked flat (unless you're steeking it). We really only start working circularly at the point where we add stitches for the lower part of the body, and I'm thinking that any drastic changes in gauge can be compensated for at that point (e.g., changing a needle size). We can talk more about this after everyone has knitted a gauge swatch.
As for yarn, I want to set this up so that it really doesn't matter what kind of yarn you use....What I want to do is use the Aran Honeycomb as the center panel for this sweater. Because that pattern is built on a multiple of 8, it will allow for some variations in width depending upon what kind of yarn you're using and the body width you're aiming for (e.g., some of you will have a 32-stitch wide Honeycomb panel, some will have a 24-stitch wide panel, etc.). We'll also use Double Moss or some other filler stitch at the sides, and that will give us another place to make width adjustments. Those of you using a sport weight yarn might have to add another pattern to make up the width. That is fairly easily done.
I know that some of you want to be "blind followers" and that's fine, but unless we're all using the exact same yarn, there's no way for me to write one single set of numbers for everyone. That's why I'm using some cable panels with built-in fudge factors, and I will walk you through the job of making adjustments. You're all going to participate in the design process! :-))
Regarding yardage requirements: I generally allow 1900 yards of a worsted weight yarn for a medium-sized woman's Aran sweater. Does that help those of you who are shopping for yarn?
And on we go!