Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easeter goodness and gauge revelation

We were down in Calgary for Easter, and Mom and I had a very successful shopping trip to North Hill Mall for Mike's birthday presents (one stop! No need to go anywhere else! Yay!). While we were waiting in line at Safeway, suddenly a woman pushed her cart to the end of the till. She addressed the cashier with quick, clipped words, her eastern European accent quite thick with distress. The cashier was confused, but the lady who was just finishing her transaction said, "I think she forgot to pay for something."

Indeed. The woman pulled a deli rotisserie chicken from her cart, and a $10 bill from her wallet. "I forgot this," she said. "I got out to my car and saw it in my cart, and I had to come back."

She was so flustered, and single-minded in her need to pay for said chicken, that Mom and I let her go ahead. Honestly, how could we say no? She forgot to pay for something, made it out of the store before realizing it, and came back. It made us smile. Happy Easter.

Mom also taught me how to purl this weekend, as the way I was doing it twisted my stitches. I've been faithfully doing a little purling every day to keep in practice. First, I was working on a gauge swatch for the basic sock pattern I picked up on my last Calgary visit, since I think I might want to try to knit a sock here soon. I've also been working on the first-knitting-project blanket, and with the new purl, it's just flying along! But something occurred to me yesterday, something that should have occurred to me earlier. You see, as I was knitting the gauge swatch for the socks, I was thinking to myself that it's going to be too big. I haven't measured it out yet, but I think it will be. So as I was knitting on the blanket yesterday afternoon, and watching the one ball of yarn dwindle significantly, it occurred to me that I never checked gauge on this blanket. I mean, I was still establishing my gauge when I started it, but really, I never checked it. And it also occurred to me that I ran out of the green yarn much, much earlier than the material count for the pattern said I should.

Now, at the time I chalked it up to having to throw away a good portion of one ball of yarn due to excessive fibre breakage (it was really, really, REALLY fuzzy), but the ball count on the purple I'm working on now is also 2, and that seemed... low. So last night, I took out my measuring tape and the pattern.

I don't have gauge.

In fact, I'm so far out of gauge, it's not even funny. 18 stitches and 24 rows does not equal 4 inches. It equals 5 inches. This probably doesn't mean a lot to those who don't knit, so I'll rephrase. Basically, I'm using probably an inch and a half more yarn for every 18 stitches than I should be. This is why I'm running out of yarn. And it's only going to get worse as the blanket gets bigger.

At this point, there are pretty much three options. First, I can just keep knitting, and buy extra balls of yarn in each of the remaining four colours (including this one) as needed, hoping the dye lots match. Second, I could frog the entire thing, and experiment with different needle sizes until I get gauge, necessitating some needle buying, and also the heartache of lots and lots and lots of hours of work down the drain, plus the stress on the yarn itself, and the frustration of reknitting everything I've done to this point. Third, I could switch needles now, which would probably make the blanket look a little funny and may not solve the problem anyway, meaning I still might have to buy the extra balls of yarn.

I think I will go with option one, for the simple reason that I don't want to be buying lots and lots of needles for gauge experiments right now, and I can't bear to take up five and a third of the nine colours of the blanket. So the blanket will not be the size it is supposed to be, but much bigger. Big blankets are okay, right?

What have I learned from this? Check gauge unless you don't care. :) See? This is why I gauged the socks!

4 comments:

Jon

I wish I understood what 3/4 of that said but it sounds very important to other queens of pointy things. :) This is the kind of stuff that would make a very cool podcast. Niche casts do very well because the people that find you invariably have something in common.

I just looked up "Knitting" in iTunes and there are a bunch of neat-looking podcasts but only 3 under "Fencing". And strangely enough I don't see any crossover between the two lists. :)

Happy Easter

Mom

Buy more yarn and continue on. You're a big girl who needs a big blanket!

Jen

I third that. Buy more yarn. An inch off your gauge swatch is about 1mm in needle size, in my experience. You could switch at the next colour and not disort too much but why? A big blanket won't do any harm- it's not like a big sweater! :)

Gillian

I agree, just leave it as it is and keep going. It's not like it needs to "fit" like clothing, right? I'm terrible about doing a gauge too, somehow I'm always off in the end anyway. I'm working on a sweater now, I hope it fits... Good luck :)

Blogger template 'Blackorwhite' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008