Okay, this is something I've always wondered; it seems like there's got to be a way to get away with something by knitting something, say a scarf, horizontally rather than vertically. You're making so many fewer rows, and stitches are wider than they are tall, so it's got to be fewer stitches, right?
Let's take a test example: the It's So Fluffy scarf.
I cast on 120 stitches, at 2.25 stitches/inch, and worked 20 rows, for a vertical rise of 5 inches. That means each row was .25 inches tall. Taking cast-on and bind-off into account, the scarf contains 22 rows. The horizontal version of the scarf then took a total of 2640 stitches. (Wow, that's a lot for such a quick-knit project! We really do make a lot of stitches, don't we?)
If the scarf had been worked vertically, it would need 22.5 stitches per row to be five inches wide. My inclination would be to round that up to 23, because that's what it would be in real life, but I don't want to be biased toward my desire for the horizontal to be less, so let's say for the sake of sceince that we have 22.5 stitches per row.
So with 22.5 stitches per row, and each row being .25 inches tall, we'd need 4 rows per inch, so 90 stitches total per inch of scarf.
The finished length is 53 inches, so 53×90=4770 stitches.
Wow, that is a lot more, way more than I'd anticipated. I checked my math again, with the same result.
So it is less stitches to knit something horizontally?!?! Help me out here, because I'm just about to launch into trying to knit everything sideways. Were my calculations off, or is it really less stitches? Have any of you tried this experiment?
Aha, Brandi and Kitten with a Whiplash have checked my math, which was flawed (no huge surprise there):
I think if I am understanding this correctly your 2.25 titches per inch is your stitch gauge and for 5 inches wide that would only be 11.25 stitches, your row gauge with a row being .25 per row meaning 4 rows = 1 in you would need 390 rows.
2.25*5=11.25 stitches per row
.25*4*90=390 number of rows
11.25*390=4050 total stitches
So it still appears as if sideways is winning, but not by as much as I'd originally said.
And now, revised from Kitten and Susan, it appears that my math was way off, so we end up with quite a different number and different verdict!
Actually, I think Kitten With a Whiplash is right: 2.25 st/in x 5 inch wide = 11.25 stitches per row 53in finished length x 4 rows/inch = 212 rows 11.25 st/row x 212 rows = 2358 total stitches which is actually a little bit less than the lengthwise-knitted version. That surprised me.
So, it looks like there's no big shortcut to be had in knitting, might as well plan on enjoying every stitch😉
How about it, anyone else have a take on this?
Yours knitting sideways (or not),