04 September 2008

Gauge Schmauge

There are days when I think that I am a pretty good knitter. I can make a pair of socks without looking at a pattern, I can whip up a sweater for a small child in no time at all. I can even make a pretty nice lace shawl if i feel like it.

Sadly, the fact that I CAN turn out a nice piece of work does not in any way guarantee that I WILL turn out a nice piece of work. The following illustrates this point.

When I was at Stitches I purchased some lovely suri alpaca yarn to make a beautiful lace top out of. Go ahead and click on the link to the top so you know what it's supposed to look like. I was very excited to start working on this, so I got out the needles, glanced at the first page of the pattern (level of experience, size, materials, gauge, lace pattern, techniques) then got started on page 2. Cast on 197 stitches. Let me tell you, casting on 197 stitches using lace weight yarn on size 9 circular needles takes a little time. I counted probably 6 times before I decided that all my stitches were there. Then came the daunting task of joining them all together making sure there weren't any twists around the needles. I managed it after about an hour, and after knitting the first 2 rows I was certain that I hadn't gotten any twists in there. If you're not a knitter, take my word for it, it's not easy.

So I spent the next few days working on my Gracie Top watching the lace take shape and the length grow. Then yesterday I got to thinking. "You know, it seems like the stockinette part on the model I saw at Stitches was a little tighter than this. What does the photo on the website look like? ... Hmm, that does look tighter than mine. Now that I think about it, there does seem to be a lot of fabric bunched up on my 32 inch needles. Maybe I should check my gauge."

Any knitter reading may feel free to begin laughing hysterically at this point, because you know where this is going.

I got out my measuring device and used the highly unscientific method of measuring what was hanging off the needles. There are supposed to be 20 stitches in 4 inches. I had about 14. So today I got a long piece of dental floss and took my wonderful work off the needles and strung it on floss so I could get a general idea of how far off I was.

Pretty far. Does anyone need a nice lace coverup for their big screen TV?

1 comment:

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

This is the very reason why I always start with the sleeve. Just put me in the catagory...been there, done that!