Friday, January 12, 2007

gauge rage

When you learn to knit beyond a scarf, you have to start paying attention to gauge. There's no real way around it if you are planning on having something to wear when you are finished. So I do gauge swatches, lots of them. I like doing them now, and I have a drawer full of trivets for my kitchen. Even a few potholders. I am not entirely sure why, but I had a bunch of swatches, and decided to just felt them. It works. Otherwise what am I going to do with them? I rip a lot of them out and use the yarn when I am happy with the results, but for something I need to actually wash to get the real gauge (another lesson learned with some unwearable clothes) I keep them around as long as I need them. Then I throw the unwashable ones in the washer and have another "Sarah" thing for the house.

I have never heard anyone go on and on in the same way about checking needle size. Well, let me. I have found from my newest mistake, that this is also an important part of knitting.

Some might say it is the same as checking gauge, but, sadly it is not. All my ranting and raving about not having the entire set (one does not count as a set no matter how you try to figure it) of my size 13 DPN's, I went out and bought 2 size 13 circular needles. (I also stumbled upon some really nice wool and some cotton yarn with actual give for $1.50 a ball and snatched it all up.) I like using 2 circular needles with PeeWee around. She's like a magpie except she's attracted to needles and DPN's are dangerous when she's around, she'll slip them right out of your work before you even realize what she's got in mind. Then you have to fight her to get them back. So 2 circ's for me when it's possible.

Then, if you remember, I loaded up a great big bag to go to the doctor's office for my (not quite) marathon knitting. I can't tell you how glad I am that there was no wait. Seriously. I knit the sweater body with 15's. So all my frantic searching for the right DPN's was, shall we say, unnecessary? Yes, I will admit I had no idea I was knitting with such huge needles. I am not sure if you can see it here, but the stitches were very tight on that sleeve. I kept thinking it. I even got out my needle sizing tool and double checked the size of the needles I was using. Because you know they HAD to be mismarked. I even checked the needles I was using. And wanted to bury my head in the sand. Because there was no conspiracy, just personal stupidity. Ay yi yi...

Well, like I said, it could have been worse, there could have actually been knitting time the other day. And please don't ask me how I didn't notice until at the elbow how stiff the fabric was- it might have stood up on it's own if I tried. It was then I thought about gauge, and kept wondering if I was in a bad mood, or tense, or, geez, do I really knit that much tighter in the round? None of the above. I just don't pay attention all the time.