Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Gauge is a harsh mistress.

I've finally figured out how to get the photos off of my temporary camera, onto my old laptop, then saved to a datapen and moved to the new laptop, because I can't find the camera cable, and the little card thingy doesn't fit in the new laptop. Grr. Anyhoo, the husband's sweater! I had a totally lovely time knitting it, and that was mostly because I was secure, solid, happy in the knowledge that my gauge swatch had worked out great. I knit it, I washed it, I measured it, and it was perfect. So even though I'm knitting, and the sweater is looking way skinny, I'm enjoying myself, because this baby is going to block out. The front and back each needed to be 23 inches across. My husband has a 44-inch chest, and this gives him a teeny bit of ease, but not too big, cuz he's not into the bulky, too-big sweater look. Then I washed my pieces, pressed them out so you could see the cabling pattern, and got this:

That's a 26-inch across measurement, friends. 26. That gives him, oh, an eight-inch ease. Dangit. I'm going to have to feed him pasta for every meal for a month to make this work. I have walked by these pieces for the last 20 minutes, slinging bad words at them whenever my gaze happens upon them. Rotten measurements. Rotten sweater pieces. I have been mocked and defeated by knitting gauge, and I'm pretty ticked off about it. In fact, I remember a time when I didn't know what gauge was. I was thirteen, happily knitting sweaters for myself, for babies, for my mom, and everything was fine. There was one sweater that ended up too small, and I gave it to a neighbor, much skinnier than I. One sweater out of countless sweaters had an incorrect gauge, and I wasn't even trying. Then I get a little knowledge, start swatching, measuring, protecting myself, and kerblooie. Dangit.

Oh, and another lesson: Don't drink and knit. Some friends came over the other night, and I'm knitting on my handspun sock yarn, second sock. I lost my directions from the first sock, so there's a lot of comparison as I go. That's working out okay. It is, after all, just a sock. I turned the heel, moved on toward the cuff, got up the next morning, and found - well, the photos are blurry. (Let's blame the temporary camera) One of my socks has texturizing on the heel, and the other one (let's call it the drunk-knitting sock) has no texturizing at all. I can't pull out the yarn, since it's two-ply handspun, and tends to separate if it's abused too much. Now, I know, it's just a sock, and it's for me, as well, so this is not a big deal. But right on the back of the knitting gauge fiasco, and I'm pretty grumpy.

Still, though, and to move on past the grumps, here's a picture of my handknit socks.

You wouldn't even hardly think they were from the same skein, but that must be the random love of spinning your own yarn. Neat that they both stripe, though, and they're very comfy. Once I got over being disgusted about knitting in general, I started to feel pretty smart. I can make stuff. I can make my own socks. Hah! I feel pretty clever, actually. Except for the sweater.


Cheryl S. said...

Oh, that ribbing! She is a tricky thing where gauge is concerned. And my own knitting experience is complete proof that swatches lie.

LaurieM said...

But the sweater is ribbing. Just block it to the dimensions you want and fugetaboutit!

You could smoosh it together, or rewet and reblock. Or even just leave it skinny and let the ribbing stretch where it will.

BTW - did you get row gauge?

Liz said...

Congrats on the socks! I love them!

Sorry about the sweater, I hope it works out somehow...I am in the middle of something similar myself (hence no blog posts recently, as I cannot quite bring myself to complete the project-that-will-most-likely-end-up-being-someone-else's!)

p.s. I'm looking forward to more shawl fun this summer!

Jennifer said...

Gauge is evil. Couldn't agree more with you there. *passing the chocolate.*

Carrie K said...

You're very clever. Is it your fault that gauge tricked and deceived you? It is not. I'm w/Laurie. Reblock it, the bad misled thing.

Cute socks!

trek said...

How about washing and blocking again - just less agressively? You might not see as much of the cable detailing but that's okay. After all, the ribs will expand as he moves and as needed!

Anonymous said...

I'm loving your handspun socks!

As for the sweater; I agree that you should try to reblock it. What have you got to lose?

lobstah said...

Ouchie! I hate those designs that open up a lot in blocking, it's so hard to get it exactly right. Sending good vibes that a re-block works...