Monday, February 8, 2010

Wonky Gauge

Warning!!! Those with perfect or near perfect gauge SHOULD NOT read this post.

Okay, you got me, I confess. I have gauge issues. Yes, yes, my gauge is almost always off. It’s off about 90% of the time. I think mostly because I’m a tight knitter with small needles but my swatches come out too big if the needles are over a size 5. What’s a knitter to do ?

The pattern directions always tells us after giving the gauge; “or size needed to obtain gauge”. So here are my heart mittens done in various sized needles. The pattern initially calls for size 4 needles done in Novita. I have never used Novita yarn but I’m guessing this particular one is a sport size.

I had enough sport and fingering in the red and cream for mittens but not enough to make mittens and a hat. I wanted the mittens and hat to be stitched close in needle size. I have plenty of fisherman’s wool and a lonely skein of Patons Classic Wool in red (220+ yards) so this is what I chose.

I swatched three different times on three different size needles and was not successful. I ended up casting on the cuff with size 3 needles, worked the stripe for 14 rows then moved up to a size 5 needle for the first (red and white) set of hearts. I moved up to a size 7 for the white and red hearts and after about eight rows, it just didn’t look roomy enough. I tried it on and it was not roomy enough so I tore down those eight rows and worked eight rows in a size eight. Perfect. So, for the most part, these mitts go like so:

Cuff – Size 3 Needles (not shown)
Area between wrist & thumb – Size 5 Needles
Hand – Size 8 Needles

I have never had to use three different size needles for mittens but this actually worked for me.

Using larger needles for this project gives the mittens a kind of raw look but I like them. I've got plenty of mitten patterns to make that are daintily done in tiny needles.

Also, I took a better photo of my "Bird In The Hand" mittens. You can see it here.

I promised in my last bleary post that I would have the pattern for you. It is called Heart Mittens as I thought !


Eryka Jackson said...

I completely feel you on the guage thing. I swatch and think I have it under control, but some how it changes during the process. And unfortunately, I don't always stop to "check the gauge" during the work as suggested. I admire you for making it work!

Gale said...

Oh yeah. Me too. That tension thing. Washing the mittens after they are finished will go a long way to reducing that raw thing you describe. Really - it works wonders.

Javajem said...

I knit tight too! I always have to go up a few needles sizes to get guage. I'm sure the mittens will work after blocking! Blocking fixes everything!

hakucho said...

Wow, you win a prize for getting your mittens to work out...I'm not sure I'd have the patience for that! great job :)

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