Gauge issues

As I said in my last post, the Bridgewater shawl is flying off my needles.

Earlier this week I reached the widest point of the inner garter square, 205 stitches. [Hee hee BB, I remember when it was only a couple of stitches, too!] I started with 1 st cast on, so at that point I had knit 205 rows, give or take, increasing a st at the start of each row. The beauty of the lacy garter is that gauge is not really a problem so much; I am very relaxed with this knitting and on size 4 needles, the laceweight is very loose. When I got to the apex of the garter square a few days ago, I didn't have time to get the pattern out and find out how I was going to get back down the other side of that mountain.

So I brought a different WIP with me to a class, an unfinished sleeve in simple stockinette, on much smaller needles. And I didn't give any thought to my tension. Here are the results:


Wow. Something tells me I just wouldn't like my Drops Cardigan 97-18 if one sleeve was well fitted and the other a baggy mess starting at the elbow. Ick. Rippit, rippit... Clearly I need to sort of reboot my fingers when I move from a lacy open loose pattern to something more structured.

I put my gauge lesson into practice last weekend. It might be something about the temp outside -- suddenly perfect for a big ole sweatercoat and me with none to be found - but I suddenly had the urge to dig out the special yarn I got for the Tilted Duster (Rav link) out of IK Fall 2007 and at least swatch it properly. [Rav tells me I queued this pattern on 31 July 2007. Woah.] I think I swatched it a long time ago and used size 10 needles, as are called for. I've realized in the last year or so that I tend to need to go down at least one needle size, usually two to start. So I actually swatched on 7s, then 6s, as my gauge on 7s looked too big. After blocking, however, 7s were perfect.


The yarn was custom made at Yarnia in Portland OR, a blend of three grays, a thick alpaca strand, three thin strands of dark gray wool, and a strand of silvery silk. Approximately 50/30/20. I think it's going to rock.

Once the swatch dried you could see the silvery strand much more clearly:


Funny thing was, after that careful swatching and blocking, my hands relaxed again when I cast on - I thought I'd be sensible and do the 40" size so it would fit over a couple of layers and be plenty comfortable - and my first few rows of the back piece came out about 25 inches wide when it should be 20 inches wide.


Even with the inch or so I'd probably lose in blocking, this was coming out WAY too big. I tore it out, considered my options, and knowing that the fabric I'd produced when not giving st st much thought was looser than the lovely dense swatch I'd made, I cast back on with the same 86 sts for the back and focused more on my hands. It still seems a little big, but much better, so I'm going to keep going and see how it comes along. If I can get the gauge right, this is going to be a fast knit, I think.

Probably not fast enough to finish before winter comes for us, though.


  1. ah, remember the days before gauge swatches? when we were blissfully ignorant? and then things all came out the wrong size?

    okay, that was probably just me. so may beautiful WIPs! i ADORE that grey yarn!


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