Tag Archives: gauge

Garland KAL: math, gauge, halfway point!

Math is my friend on my Garland shawl KAL project. I want to use as much of this lovely Knitted Wit Cashy Lite as possible in this piece. The ball weighed in at 4.5 oz, or 127 grams, 495 yards. That’s a lot of yarn! I didn’t check my gauge before starting. I knew I’d be weighing my yarn as I worked, so no worries about not having enough. I just had to come out with a fabric that I liked. I just checked now, and I’m getting 19 st/4 inches, which is way looser than the 23 st/4 inches specified in the pattern.

20130622-081100.jpg

I’ve completed 9 repeats in the increase section, and used 54 grams of yarn. I’ll need 54 grams for the matching decrease section, too, so that means I have 19 grams left for the single repeat in the center section. The 9th repeat took 9 grams of yarn, and the center one will take about the same. 19 grams is plenty of yarn for that single repeat, but not enough to do an additional increase/decrease set. Math portion of my shawl is officially done! Now that I no longer need to keep weighing my yarn, this becomes a portable project with the help of my new beading tin.

For comparison, test knitter Rachel knit at 24/st inch. After 9 repeats in the increase section, she had used 47 grams. (Her 9th repeat took 7 grams of yarn.) She needed 47 grams for the matching decrease section, so that left her 33 grams for the center section, more than enough for the 7 grams it would take. We could have added another increase/decrease set, but I wanted the pattern to work for a skein with less yardage, too. (Cashy Lite comes in a BIG skein, but not all fingering weight yarns do.)

My shawl is knit with the same number of stitches as Rachel’s, but mine will be larger because of the difference in gauge. I love this construction because it is so easily adaptable for YOUR yarn and YOUR gauge. The pattern has it all planned for you, but if you have more or less yarn, or you deviate from the specified gauge, all you need is a kitchen scale.

One more thing: I counted my garter stitches, and I’m missing one. I missed an increase somewhere along the way. It’s hard to tell where I missed it in the garter stitch, but I think it’s 40 rows back. If I can’t see it, no one else can, either. It’s not a big deal; I’ll just skip a decrease later. No stress! Knit on…

Random thoughts on yarn weights

I’m playing with gauge and fabric. My Seafoam Socks are twice knitted, twice edited. I’ve done my swatching with four different yarns, all on size 2 needles. I’m getting 6.5 sts/inch with all of the yarns.

4xseafoam

Gauge is a funny thing! The first time I knit these socks, I knit them with Mirasol Hacho, a dk weight yarn, 137 yards to 50 grams/1.76 oz (78 yards/oz). (Blue sock at the bottom of the pile, foot showing.) I like the hand of the fabric, a bit firm, but not stiff. My hands were tired by the time I finished knitting the socks though, as I was trying to keep things fairly firm so the socks wouldn’t be too big.

seafoam green

My next purchase for this sock was the Butternut Woolens Super Sock yarn above, 341 yards to 113 grams/4 oz, (85 yards/oz). This yarn is listed on Ravelry as fingering weight. It feels bulkier than the Hacho! I would call it a sport weight yarn, at least. It’s making a nice wooly feeling sock, but definitely a winter article. The ply is looser than that of the Hacho. Here’s the Hacho sock on top of the Butternut Woolens sock; although the circumference of the sock is essentially the same, the Butternut Woolens sock has fewer rows per inch, so the sock is a bit taller and a bit longer, same number of rounds. See the green peeking out from behind the blue?

rowgauge

I also swatched with my leftover BMFA Socks that Rock Mediumweight, also considered to be a fingering weight yarn at 380 yards to 155 grams/5.47 ounces (69 yards/oz). This knit up to a slightly loose but still very nice feeling fabric.

str swatch

And I couldn’t help myself. I was at the LYS and wanted to check out one more sport weight yarn, and chose Monarch by FlyDesigns. This colorway is called Sailing. The yarn is listed as a sport weight yarn, although it feels a bit lighter than the STR Mediumweight. It’s 370 yards to 126 grams/4.44 oz, (83 yards/oz). My gauge? Also 6.5 st/inch, and isn’t this lovely? The fabric isn’t as dense as I usually knit my socks, but it’s quite acceptable, very similar to the Socks that Rock Mediumweight.

monarch

monarch close

By the numbers, the Monarch should be closest in weight to the Butternut Woolens, but look at the difference in appearance. By numbers, the STR Mediumweight should be the thickest, because it has the least yardage/ounce. I’ve read that if the yardage of the yarn required for your pattern is within 10% of the yarn you’d like to substitute (similar fibers), it should work. All of these knit up with a decent hand, some thicker, some thinner, but all result in a sock of about the same size, so what does it all mean?

yarn

(Hacho DK, Butternut Fingering, STR Mediumweight Fingering, Monarch Sport)

4x up

I think it means that if I specify sport weight yarn for this pattern, you still have to decide if you like the fabric you’re getting with the yarn you choose. Labels by the manufacturer are just the first step in choosing your yarn. A yarn labeled fingering may knit up thicker than a yarn called sport at the same gauge. A tight twist can make a yarn feel thinner, or a loose twist can make a thin yarn look thicker. You may like your socks thicker or thinner, firmer or floppier. Ultimately, you are the boss of your knitting, and you get to decide how you want the fabric of that sock to feel. Knit on!

Knittylocks and the three starts

Once upon a time, there was a knitter named Knittylocks.  She believed fervently in the value of swatching, and dutifully made gauge swatches for each project. Except washcloths. (I mean, really.)

She decided to knit a Central Park Hoodie. She swatched a 40 stitch, multi-row swatch with US size 8 needles. (No tiny gauge swatches for her, no way. Been there, done that, paid the price.) 4 stitches per inch. Too big. She swatched with US size 7 needles. 4.25 stitches per inch. Just right. Onward!

She cast on the 94 stitches for the back of the hoodie, and knit 4 inches of ribbing on size 5 needles before switching to the 7 for the body. After 16 rows, she had an uneasy feeling. It looked small. Sure, it could be blocked severely to the required dimensions, but the fabric felt a bit stiff, too. And so she measured. 5 stitches per inch. Too small. Ouch.

US7

Undaunted, she moved up two needle sizes (because one never makes too much difference), and cast on again. After four inches of ribbing on size 7 needles, and 16 rows on size 9, she had that uneasy feeling again. The fabric looked loosey-goosey. And so she measured. 4 stitches per inch. Too big. Ouch. (There’s not even a picture of this one.)

Now Knittylocks was beginning to get crabby. She ripped out version 2, and cast on a third time. Three’s a magic number, right? Four inches of ribbing on size 6 needles, and 16 rows on size 8. 4.25 stitches per inch. Just right! And so she lived happily ever after. Or at least so far.

US8

That’s one evening’s knitting in the picture above. Think how far along Knittylocks would be if she had been on gauge the first time?

Gauge makes me crazy. It’s not just the size of the needle that makes my gauge. It’s how tight or loose I’m carrying the yarn on the needles. That can vary from day to day, or how I did the ribbing before I got to the pattern section. I think the size 7 start felt tight on the needles the whole time, tighter than the gauge swatch. And then when I started on 9’s, I was trying to be relaxed, but was too relaxed. Stitches were falling off the needles. The 8’s are the right size for a not too tight, not too loose feeling on the needles. Now why did it take so long to get there?

Here are starts 1 and 3 for comparison. Note the widths.

7and8

But all is well now. Knit on!

It’s all about the sox

I bought these shoes about a month ago, and couldn’t decide if I liked them. Today I gave them another chance. I’m glad I did.

skech2

Yes, it’s true. I bought clear shoes for my socks. I made these socks eons ago, and don’t wear them much any more, but they went with my shirt today. If you’re going to pick socks that match your shirt, why not go all the way and let people see them?

skech1

I think they’d look even better with dark socks, but this will have to do for now. Side view, in case you just gotta know.

skech3

Josephine update: After 15 rows of Josephine in the round (that would be about 3800 stitches), I realized that I was nowhere close to making gauge. I think I knit looser in the round than flat, because my flat gauge swatch was close to correct. Ripped the whole thing out, and now I’m knitting Josephine in pieces, flat, on US size 3 needles. The pattern enticed me by recommending size 5 needles, so I bought the yarn, full of confidence. I’ve never knit an entire sweater on 3’s, except for a baby. This is going to be a long knit! But it’s really pretty.

josephine

jo up close

In other fun news, I went to the Lantern Moon trunk show at Twisted on Friday. I bought this bag. I use their silk taffeta bags as project bags inside my big knitting bag, but what i really liked about this one was that it cinches closed. No lost pieces of project!

project bag

I also won a green tote in the raffle. I feel lucky!

gpolkadotringtote_detail