First of all Hello! I have not posted in a week, and that is a bit long for me. I took my youngest to Indiana to visit a friend this past weekend. I ended up getting a horrid cold, you know the kind that makes you all shaky, and achy, and ready to feel very sorry for yourself. I spent most of my time in the hotel room, a room that I really did not want to spend time in at all. Not the nicest of rooms, we were trying to cut costs a bit, and well lets just say if we go back I won't be staying there again. Due to this extended time in the room, I had the opportunity to get some work done on some projects, and I have come to the conclusion that no matter how hard I try I can not get gauge.
For you non-knitting, non-crocheting people out there ( you may want to bypass this post entirely) according to my American Heritage Dictionary, gauge is, "The fineness of knitted cloth as determined by the number of loops per 1 1/2 inch." In more simple terms it is a form of measurement. For knit or crochet it is often measured in stitches per inch, and you create a 4 inch square to determine how many stitches per inch and rows it takes to create that square. Too many stitches you have too small of a hook or needles, not enough and you have too big of a hook or needle. It seems simple enough, does it not?
Some people never check gauge, I do. I want to make sure what I am making is somewhere in that ballpark of what is required in the pattern. Gauge may not be as important for a pillow or a blanket, but for clothing it is essential. So why is it so hard for me to achieve? Take these latest projects.
Another circle vest in the Vanna choice yarn I got for under $8. The recommended hook size is a J. Okay great, I took several hooks of various sizes with me just in case, see I was thinking ahead. I created my 4 inch square by using 11 dc, it measured out perfectly width wise, still on the short end length wise just like my gray circle vest, but I can adapt to that. I even double checked before I ripped out my test swatch. I started my vest and went to town, crocheting away. Now you would think I was a smart person after all my crochet issues, did I measure again while creating the back? No way. I was being a bit too smug I think because as I was ready to create the arm holes, I decided to measure and came up short. Like 3 inches short, with the width of the garment, so my gauge was off again. Grumble, grumble, grouch, grouch and a lot of rip, rip, ripping soon occurred. I have moved to a K hook and have now started over, but boy did I lose a lot of time.
Apparently crochet is not the only area I have an issue with gauge. You see I know I am a tight knitter, so going up a needle size is no problem for me. For the lovely Sawtelle sweater I made my swatch, getting perfect gauge on the recommended size 8 needles. I measured again just to be sure and again ripped out my test swatch. I cast on my required 150 stitches and started knitting the mind numbing, row after row of garter stitch. I love the way garter stitch looks, it doesn't curl on the sides or bottom, so the end result is fantastic. But the rows compact on themselves making you feel that all that knitting is getting you absolutely nowhere. Row, after 150 stitch row, and when you finally get the guts to measure the length, you seem to have made no progress at all. So in my gauge smugness, once again I did not measure my work in progress. That is until I was packing up to leave the aforementioned, disgusting hotel. What is this? I am knitting a sweater that is much wider than I thought! Actually 3 inches wider. If I had merged my two projects I would be almost perfect! Let me just say there is no freaking way I am ripping this baby out. A slightly bigger sweater is better than one that is too small. I can adjust the needle size from here if needed.
So the moral of this pathetic, gauge story is no matter how hard I try I can not seem to get the required gauge for my projects. Yes, I know I should keep measuring all along, checking this out so my projects actually worked out nicely, but then I would not have a post to write about today.
By the way Max says, "Hello." He is sending his girlfriend Kim across the big pond, some healing, Golden Retriever love.