Ok so let’s talk about yesterday...whoops...total fail. My inability to slow down left me spending even more time on my current project. Let me tell you, something yes something, would have prevented me from making that mistake.
Yep that dreaded word according to yarn enthusiasts...gauge. I know I know you’re about to stop reading right now but wait don’t go, let me bust some great gauge myths and maybe just maybe you’ll hate it 50% less. I won’t try to convince you that you’re going to love it or even want to be in a faithful relationship with it; I’m sure you’ll risk it again in the near future but I guarantee I’m going to tell you somethings you never knew before.
Times when you can roll the dice and throw caution to the wind - you are using the EXACT same yarn and previous patterns from this designer have worked out or met gauge no problem. Chances are your tension on regular is very similar to theirs - The pattern is forgiving, say a dishcloth, a basket, a scarf - The pattern is written to reach measurements. For example instead of work 20 rows, it says work pattern until you reach 6 inches. You are already working to specific measurements so whether it takes me 19 rows or you 21, it’ll work out.
Times when gauge is important and you most likely will end up with a big bowl of yarn noodles (like me) if you don’t take this necessary step. - you use a different yarn - You use a different material - Your personal tension often leaves your finished projects wider, taller, skinnier, shorter than said garment should be. - The pattern you are following specifically lists that gauge is super important to meet, trust the designer. They put so much thought and energy into patterns and often have a subset of testers work up the garment and send in notes so TRUST them!
How to achieve gauge Believe it or not it’s really not that hard. Follow the pattern and make a 4x4 square.
If you have too many stitches making up the 4x4 square you should go up a needle or hook size and try again.
If you have too few stitches making up the 4x4 square you should go down a needle or hook size and try again.
Always try to measure gauge from the center of your swatch.
You'll learn a lot about the yarn and fabric; the swatch gives you a chance to get familiar with your yarn. Along with gauge, you'll discover how the yarn feels in your hands and if you enjoy knitting with it. Knitted swatches will also reveal how the fabric behaves, like whether it's very stiff or light and drapey, and then you can determine whether it's right for your project.
Often people don’t love the idea of this because it’s added effort. They just want to cast on the pattern stitches and get started. Well let me tell you, I’ve frogged way to many times to let this stop me.
Here’s a trick, cast on the number of stitches for the pattern and complete 1 row, measure 4 inches and count how many stitches are in that 4 inches. If you’ve nailed it chances are you lot number of rows will meet the gauge as well for 4 inches. If it doesn’t move up or down needle/hook size and cast on again. At the very least you are frogging only 1 row and you’re getting started on that project right away. Once you have 4 inches of rows count those as well. This of course is a ‘risk’ and maybe an easier risk to take the larger the weight of yarn and fewer amount of rows.
Now back to regular programming and happy making.
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