Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gauge issues

This post will be sort of word-heavy, because I didn't have the presence of mind to take pictures. Even if I had taken pictures, you'd just see a bunch of purple blobs anyway, so maybe it's better that I didn't subject you to the boredom of seeing essentially the same pictures over and over again.

Anyway, I've been having some gauge issues with the Main Street Fair Isle sweater. Remember the too-tight sleeve? The jury is still out on whether or not the sleeve is in fact too tight. I'm going to knit the second sleeve looser, and see if we like that better. In the meantime, I started on the body, because at least that should've been easier. Or so I thought.

I started out on US8 needles (one size larger than recommended), cast on in the round, and knit for a couple of inches. Then discovered that I had TWISTED the stitches (Grr, there's always a first time). Hooray for the mobius strip! So I had to rip it all out. Cast on again, made sure that the stitches weren't twisted, knit for maybe 8 or 9 inches while incorporating waist shaping. The sweater was subjected to obsessive measuring (mom) and gauge-checking (me). Here's what happened:

CO 144 stitches
4 stitches per inch = 36 inches around
4.25 stitches per inch = 34 inches around
4.5 stitches per inch = 32 inches around

My gauge was around 4.25 stitches or 4.5 stitches per inch, depending on who was measuring, and the sweater persistently measured about 32 inches around. With the waist shaping, the circumference became even smaller. The sweater was quickly deemed much too tummy-hugging, and I was ordered to reknit it sans waist shaping. So out it came again, and I started over a third time, this time knitting VERY loosely.

This photo is of the (second) with-waist-shaping attempt, the sweater is reclining luxuriously on a small patch of grass in front of my apartment.

Main Street Fair Isle body_01

Currently the gauge is between 4 and 4.25 stitches per inch, and measures approximately 35 inches around. Based on my swatches, the gauge should expand ever so slightly after blocking, but who knows what will happen? Should I have been knitting it tighter all along, ignoring the persistent cries of "it's too small!"? We are happy with it for now, but what if the sweater expands monstrously and transforms into something tent-like?

This is why I don't generally knit sweaters. I need to cultivate patience and letting-go-ness. Socks and scarves and hats are much more forgiving. Afghans too.

And speaking of afghans....behold the latest yarn purchase!

Colinette Ab Fab Antique_01

It's a Colinette Absolutely Fabulous throw kit, in the Antique colourway. I have been wanting to knit one of these for YEARS, because I thought it would look really fabulous in my parents' living room. I remember sending my mom some colourway photos a couple of years back asking for opinions, but I never heard back (no wonder, it's hard to judge from small digital representations) and the idea was shoved aside for "later". But after seeing a few of these kits in person at Patternworks, it was clearly time. Not sure when I will get around to starting this, but I'm so glad that I've finally got one of these kits in my greedy little paws!


Karen said...

Yeah, gauge sometimes stresses me out too. That's why I love projects where gauge isn't critical. I still haven't completed an adult sized sweater yet, though I've got one on some needles that I should probably work on a little more than I have.

I don't think it'll change monstrously after blocking. After all, it's mostly stockinette, right?

And that afghan kit looks great. I haven't had the patience to make a whole afghan yet. I'm always afraid of the amount of seaming and sewing involved in blankets and things like that.

Adrienne said...

Yeah, this whole thing is making me a bit anxious (but on the other hand, why anxiety? It's just knitting!). Tonight I'm going to take what I've got so far off the needles and try blocking it to see how the gauge will be affected. I will definitely report on the results!