Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Well that was a pain in the ass.

I was chugging along, a little less than halfway up sleeve one, when I started looking at it. It looked a little narrow. So I laid the ruler on it and lookit that - the gauge was off. I knit the swatch one day, and the sleeve the next and THE DAMN THING WAS OFF BY ALMOST A STITCH PER INCH.

So I washed it.

Knit-purl stitch patterns like ribbing or cables or fluffy stuff like this one can relax quite a lot when they hit water, and I'd washed the gauge swatch, so I figured before I completely freaked out, a trip through the sink was a good idea. You can see I left the ball attatched; just put some (cotton) waste yarn through the stitches and chucked it in the drink.

After it dried, I laid the ruler across it and had another good look.

The gauge is tight at the bottom/cuff, and loosens to what it's supposed to be (according to the gauge swatch) up near the top. I suspect the cuff hem is pulling things in a bit, which is fine, 'cause that's what cuff hems are supposed to do.

For those of you who are relatively new knitters (I just typed 'knew knitters', I really need to get a grip), this is probably the fastest, easiest way to get a solid idea of what's going on with your gauge while you're in the middle of knitting something. If you use plastic or aluminum needles, you can even wash it right on the needle; I couldn't do that today because I was using a wood needle.

But next time I'm taking a BEFORE measurement of my swatch, and totally avoiding the situation. (See? Long-time knitters are still learning stuff, too. Often really obvious stuff.)

Bah. What a waste of a day's knitting.


Sheepish Annie said...

Wait. You mean you're not supposed to knit the whole thing, realize it doesn't fit then blame the pattern? Or the yarn? Or the alignment of the planets???

Well, now what am I supposed to do? My world has been rocked!!! Taking responsiblity has never been my strong suit...

Amy Lane said...

Yeah--what sheepish annie said...I mean, how am I going to give shit to obscure relatives if everything fits the person I'm making it for.

Louiz said...

Still leaves atmospheric conditions, overeating at Christmas and "you must have given me duff measurements" as reasons why it doesn't fit though!

Bells said...

you know, I remember when I did my jacket swatch and I washed it and i remember saying to you, should I have checked the gauge before AND after?

You said no.

Would you change that answer now?

In the light you're taking these photos in, the colour does look a litle more like celery boiled in beef stock than it did before. Not that that's a bad thing. I still like it.

Jennu said...

Hey Julie--there's a fuss going on about the Minnesota State Fair knitting ribbons. I thought ou'd be interested and might want to comment on the whole thing after your experience with last year's fair.

I read about it here: