Friday, November 21, 2008

Gauge Issues

Ok everyone, raise your hand if you're surprised that I've run into problems with gauge... one?  What?  You mean to tell me that you all knew that gauge and I were going to get in a fight eventually?  Hmmm... well, I didn't see it coming.  I guess the cheese stands alone.

Surprisingly enough though, my issues are not with the argyle mitten.  Those are (or more accurately, the singular "that is") coming along wonderfully, if slowly.  I'm at the point where I can put the thumb stitches on a holder to work the rest of the mitten body.  I gave in a switched up a needle size after the cuff - "just in case".

The issues I am speaking of are with this sweater...

It's for my brother.  I suppose the reason I'm surprised about my issues is because I even knit a freaking gauge swatch.  No, I knit FOUR gauge swatches, and washed them in the same way the sweater is going to be washed.  The problem, from what I can tell, is that I knit the swatches flat and this sweater is knit in the round.  My gauge swatch (both before and after washing) told me that I had a gauge of 19.5sts/inch.  What does my sweater, which is essentially a massive swatch as the entire thing is going to be knit in stockinette, say?  It says, quite confidently, "18sts/inch!"  How annoying, right?  I thought about overlooking this small (large) discretion, but then I did the math and figured out that instead of knitting a 42" circumference like my brother wants, I'm really making it about 45" which, as appealing as that sounds, is wrong.

That's not the end of my problems however.  No no.  See this?

Yeah, that's supposed to be a hat.  What?  No it's not for a baby!  Why would you say such a thing?  There is no way this is going to fit a full-grown head.  I had originally started this hat (using a tubular cast-on) on US2 needles, but I could practically fit the thing around my entire body, so I really didn't think switching to US 0s (which is what the above picture is knit on) was really too drastic a change.  I mean, who knew that moving down 1mm in size was going to change the circumference from nearly sweater sized to sleeve cuff sized?  Crap.

But look!  I cast on again for that shawl.  Isn't it pretty?  (The purple is my provisional cast-on.  It will disappear eventually.)

Don't worry.  It really will block to be 18" wide, I promise.  This time I am making no mistakes (that's my determination speaking, not my reality).  I'm using lifelines much more frequently than one might deem necessary, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.  In fact, when I was placing a lifeline this morning I saved myself from devastation because I found I was one stitch short because I missed a yarn-over in the row before.  It was much easier to fix that now than when I got to the end of the next row and saw that the pattern didn't line up, which, if you can't tell, is a bit hard to see.

Hopefully I will be able to fix all of these issues and get on with my knitting.


  1. The mitten is looking wonderful! I think the stars are in proper alignment on that project. As for the others, well, that which does not break us only serves to make us stronger. Or something like that. I'm glad the lifelines are doing their job and then some!

  2. Duuuuuuude. Gauge bit you in the ass. That sucks! At least Pat's sweater isn't too complicated!

  3. Freaking gauge. I did the same thing with a cabled vest - after deciding to knit it in the round to save time, I got almost to the armholes before realizing my in-the-round gauge is way bigger than my back-and-forth gauge.

    Oh well. It's going to make a great gift for your brother, eventually ;) Lurve the mitt.

  4. The mitten looks great!

    I have run into problems in the past, with my gauge in the round being noticeably different from my gauge with flat knitting. And yet I still tend to swatch things flat, because apparently I don't learn!

  5. Good luck with all the projects. You know, you could always just send that sweater my way when you're done... ;-) Have a wonderful holiday, and I'll catch you soon!

  6. Just found you through a trail of links. I know it is a bit late, but for a sweater knit in the round I make my gauge swatch out of the instructions for the sleeve. MUCH more accurate than knitting a flat swatch. You could also buy extra yarn, and knit a hat. Maybe this advice will lep in a future project?

    LOVE the mitten!