A nurse who knits…

December 6, 2007

Denial is an ugly thing

Filed under: Knitting — yarnnut @ 4:10 am

Especially in regards to gauge. Check out the evidence.

Both pieces are the Minimalist Cardigan from the Fall 2007 IK. The bottom piece is a misgauged piece. I was knitting this with my Addi Turbo size 6 for the first gauge swatch. I got 4 stitches to the inch. Way too big. So I cast on another swatch with size 5 Addi Turbos. I got 4.5 stitches per inch. I was close. This pattern calls for 5 stitches to the inch over moss stitch. Since I was pretty close, I cast on with my size 4 Addi Turbos and started knitting on…

Now since I am orienting, I don’t get a lot of time to knit anymore. I looked at the ribbing and said to myself, “This looks too big. But it must be right.” I’m knitting worsted weight Cascade 220 in a size 4 for goodness sakes! So I knit on for about 6 inches. I refused to measure this bad boy which happens to be the back. Moss stitch knits up at a snails pace for me and I didn’t want to know that it was coming out too big. Unfortunately it came time to own up to the mistake. I measured it yesterday. It measured 23 inches.

Now… I’m a 33″ bust so knitting the 34″ size is perfect. The 23″ size would be between the 43.5″ and 48.5″ size. What a disaster! I had thoughts of just finishing the sweater and giving it to my mom. How the heck was I not getting gauge with a size 4 Addi. Don’t people usually knit worsted weight yarn with size 7 or 8 needles!!! I was about to throw in the towel when I thought of trying to knit with my Addi Natura needle which is made out of bamboo. Size 6. I was sure it was going to be a failure. But as you can see in the top piece in the picture, I was right on. I got my 5 moss stitches to the inch. I am soooo excited and cannot believe that simply changing from the slick metal to sticky bamboo would get me to gauge. I need to get lots of bamboo because I’m always knitting things not to gauge. Usually too large. Which is why I love knitting shawls. It doesn’t really matter what your gauge is. In fact, bigger gauge is usually better.

This whole gauge thing was driving me sooo crazy that I am relaxing with a glass of Chimay which is a very yummy Belgian ale. It comes in a huge bottle. I hope I am not driven to drink the whole thing.

Sooo folks, as much as everyone hates to hear it, do a gauge swatch. And keep swatching until you get it right. IDenial is indeed an ugly thing. It can lead you to knitting for days and making you crazy. Here is a close up of the moss stitch incase you’re wondering what it looks like.

In other news, Matt and I bought this mixer on Sunday night. I used it tonight finally to make a meat loaf and some peach bread. The peach bread was made from a recipe that came with the mixer. I used the mixer to combine the meat loaf ingredients so I wouldn’t get my hands dirty. The meat loaf came out ok. A bit salty since I was lazy and just dumped French onion soup mix to season it instead of measuring out my usual mix of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and other stuff. I still haven’t tried the peach bread. I’m a little scared because I didn’t know that the flour in my flour container was self rising flour instead of regular unbleached flour. Matt decided to put the self rising flour in instead of regular flour because he was using it to make bear bread. I added the salt and baking soda so this bread might be salty instead of sweet like the peaches… I might have to down more chimay when I finally get the nerve to try it. Butter and a little more of the peach preserves might make it tolerable…. Anyone have any cooking disasters they want to share???

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7 Comments »

  1. Wow that’s crazy that changing from metal to bamboo affects gauge so much – I had no idea! Glad you got it all straightened out. 🙂

    Comment by edina — December 6, 2007 @ 6:03 am | Reply

  2. Ugh, gauge swatches! This is why I can’t get excited over sweater patterns. There are many that I think are beautiful, and I would very much love to have the finished product for myself, but I loathe gauge swatches! I’ll do it, but only for the ‘right’ patterns. The patterns have to speak to me. No, they have to scream at me, lol (you know the ones that you can’t stop thinking about until you actually knit if for yourself?). I’ll also do it for the right person when knitting a gift. I have nothing against sweaters, or the people who love to knit them, I just hate, hate, hate swatches!

    I’m the opposite of you when it comes to switching from metal to bamboo. I knit more tightly on metal needles, so if I were to switch to bamboo I would need to go down a size.

    Comment by Gina — December 6, 2007 @ 9:44 am | Reply

  3. i can’t believe switching needles made that much difference!

    Comment by Bobbi — December 6, 2007 @ 2:10 pm | Reply

  4. Wow. That is the most dramatic gauge disaster I’ve ever seen. But you know, if you do the math (and I have), being off by only half a stitch per inch in worsted weight gives you an extra four inches in the chest measurement for a 34″ sweater! It’s hard to believe a half a stitch could make such a huge difference, but it does. Don’t ask me how I know.

    Comment by Suzanne V. (Yarnhog) — December 7, 2007 @ 4:59 pm | Reply

  5. I have the same problem, always knitting too loosely. I love my Addi turbos, but you are right about knitting with the bamboo. I also knit tighter with the bamboo needles. The moss stitch looks beautiful, especially in that color.

    Comment by corinne — December 7, 2007 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

  6. i’ll address the cooking since everyone’s talked about the gauge. =) i have a kitchenaid stand mixer too and i love it. but one thing you have to be careful with it, its very powerful. you don’t want to do things in it that ought not to be mixed well… like probably meatloaf (the more you mix the meat, the tougher it’ll end up). but if you don’t want to get your hands dirty, i just use a wooden spoon, and that’s good enough. hehe. i’ve never had peach bread so i have no idea how that would go. but hopefully you’ll have more success, with the right flour! =)

    Comment by ruth — December 7, 2007 @ 7:54 pm | Reply

  7. Learned something new- I will have to check gauge with bamboo vs metal.
    I have a kitchen aid stand mixer. It is wonderful for mixing Babka bread for the holidays. But I really miss that the top doesn’t lift up to get into the bowl. Many times I just pull out my Sunbeam mixmaster in order to have the ability to do this. Less of a mess.

    Comment by Cindy — December 11, 2007 @ 2:48 pm | Reply


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