Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oh... ... .. .. . .

I see, gauge ... one of those 'important' things. Really really important if you want to knit things that fit, or if you want to knit pairs that are the same size. That is what I want to do, knit matched pairs.
Lots of things can throw off a knitters gauge.
  1. Yarn, some yarns slide easily into place, others catch and snag and drag and make uneven stitches more likely.
  2. Needles, likewise some needles catch and snag and drag and make knitting evenly difficult
  3. Distractions, being stressed, or relaxed (or other in other states of being, hurt, angry, tired ....) can alter the tightness of your knitting, enough said.
  4. Experience
    The longer one has been knitting, the more chance one has of achieving consistent tension or gauge (the British call it tension, the Americans gauge - I'm an international knitter so swing between the two).
    Conversely the less experience one has the more the risk of changes to the tension
Number 4, that is my problem right now. I would consider myself an 'experienced knitter', but I freely admit I am not an experience double knitter. I should have seen this coming, that as I knit my way through the pair of mittens using a new-to-me technique my knitting would settle into regularity.

Bother, nothing for it now but to continue on the second mitten, finish it, compare the two and start a third if I have enough yarn left over, then frog the first if I need more yarn. My only wish is that my gauge has settled down and will not change more, or there could be a fourth and possibly even a fifth mitten required to solve this problem. I like the firmer feel and look of the second mitten - otherwise I would just go up a needle size and start the second mitten again.

I wonder if the gloss will have gone off this technique before I reach the end of the third mitten?

The good news is that with every mitten my skill level increases. The result is always better when you have to work something again because you are able to use what you learned the first time around to make it better. The even better news is this does not upset me - once it would have, but for some reason I'd rather these were a matched finished pair than just finished. Truly it is about the knitting .....

Happy Easter ... if that is something you celebrate,
Relaxing weekend to all irregardless of what you do with the days.

na Stella


Knitting Linguist said...

Oh, fooey. It's amazing how much difference there is, isn't there? What's funny is that I tend to loosen up as I become more confident with a technique, but it looks like you've tightened up there.

No long weekend for us, but I'm going to enjoy it in any case!

Suzanne said...

I wouldn't go up a needle size and restart. The tension on the second mitten is, in fact, correct. (note the shape of the bear: he is properly proportioned). In double-knitting, it is always preferable to go down a needle size or two from what is suggested for the yarn because the fabric naturally wants to be looser. After the mittens, it would be a good idea to make a hot pad or a scarf. It gives the opportunity to further refine/define your tension in the medium and also teaches you how to handle the selvage stitches; which can be temperamental.

adriene said...

Aw man, that's disappointing. I feel your pain. I'm agree with Suzanne, though... I'm betting that the second mitten is showing your true gauge, now that you're in the swing of working the pattern. It's heartbreaking, but the first mitten will probably need to be re-done. It'll all work out in the end!

KathyR said...

Wow, that is quite a difference! More power to you for persevering!

Linda said...

I like this essay on time, patience and the utility and beauty of the FO, no matter the number of attempts the matched pair represents. What a familiar knitter's experience! Happy Easter to you, too.