Thursday, March 24, 2011

Who am I - Goldilocks?


In approaching the knitting of my next cardigan project, Every Last Yard, I had to swatch, naturally.  I had talked with the designer, Amy Swenson (aka Indigirl) about achieving such a "Aran" gauge (16 stitches per 4 inches) with only worsted-weight yarn on 4.5mm needles.  She told me to wash and block the swatch, then measure, to see if/how it stretched.  Now, normally I don't wash and block my swatches (even though I likely should), but I thought it best to see how the yarn I was intending on using, The Sanguine Gryphon's Codex (single-ply, light worsted 52% BFL wool, 48% Silk), would knit, wash and block.   Plus if the designer says so, then I best follow her instructions, no?

The Codex yarn is a fairly slender worsted, in my opinion, and 4.5mm needles seemed small for getting the necessary 16 stitches per 4 inches.  So I started with 5.5mm needles, knit up my swatch, then soaked and pinned (blocked) it.  It was 17 stitches pre-washing/blocking, and 14 after.  Damn, too big.  Am now seeing the importance in washing/blocking one's swatch...

I then went for the 4.5mm needles and knit up a second swatch.  22 stitches pre-washing/blocking and 19.5 after.  Way too small.  (Do you see where this is going?)

Sighing, I pulled out the 5mm needles and started a third swatch.   I don't recall the pre-washing/blocking gauge, but post-washing/blocking came to 16.5.  Close enough in my book.  I won't block as aggressively in the finished piece anyway.

I haven't swatched so much for one project before, but I'm glad I did.  I wanted to get it Just Right.

A second photo, to show more of the true sage-green of the yarn (the skinny pale gold swatch was from a sample skein of Codex that I received in a package from Sanguine Gryphon) :


1 comment:

  1. Gauge, you are one cruel, cruel mistress. (Or maybe Guage is a man, men, myself included, tend to be a little tempermental)

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