I’m talking about gauge. It’s giving me issues, right now.
I finished up S’s cowl and my lingering fingerless mitts on the weekend. They were both good autopilot knitting – not brainless, they both involved complicated stitches. Besides, knitting brainlessly is garter stitch is just asking for trouble. But I didn’t have to make any adjustments or decisions, and I needed something to sit down with in front of the fire in between frantically moving all of my crap from the damp, mouldering lean to into the surprisingly not as damp garage. Along with the accumulated crap of two other people (my sister and a friend, for whom I am storing a car’s space worth of stuff).
This is because the lean to is finally, FINALLY getting torn down and put back up again. Amongst much upping of quotes (it’s asbestos. Seriously, you would think they would WANT me to get rid of toxic materials. Not really incentivising me, here). The electrician is coming tomorrow to cut off the power to the lean to, which means that everything had to be out by tonight because there will be no lights in the backyard by which to haul crap around. And then Thursday the asbestos people are coming (grumble grumble grumble) and Friday the builders are starting. After that it really shouldn’t take too long. Hooray! Finally! A house that does not leak! And which is cold but maybe less chilly and clammy! And which I can vacuum all parts of without them immediately becoming gross again! And which I can put stuff against the walls of without water pooling underneath it!
However. That is not the actual point of this post. The point of this post is that lying liar. I’m talking, as I said, about gauge.
So I finished those two things. The active projects on my needles now are both colourwork. Which is great, I am loving it, but it’s not exactly bus knitting. Also, I think I’m going to rip out the colourwork bit of the blanket and try a different tactic because the floats are showing and it’s messy (f#*&ing crepe plied yarn). I looked at all my hibernating projects – all cotton or boring, hence the hibernating. I thought about casting something new on – I even bought a pattern! Then I realised that I had started Jaali. That I was excited about it. That I had put it down for some inexplicable reason.
That reason was gauge. Not getting gauge. I took that as my bus knitting yesterday and realised what I had realised before – that it seemed tight and awkward to knit on. Sure enough, three stitches extra over 4 inches. That’s quite a lot over a whole jumper. So I ripped it. I’ve cast the yarn back on as something different, which I think might actually be better for the yarn, and I was only a couple of inches (and a complicated cable border, but I enjoyed knitting that so it doesn’t count) in. The thing is, I swatched like the blazes for this one. I know I had gauge.
I got gauge this morning, too. I swatched for another fox, this time for my sister. It’s different yarn, a bit bulkier I think, so I knit up a quick swatch before casting on. Even though it’s a scarf and it doesn’t really matter. I am virtuous. I used the recommended needle, the needle I used with the smaller yarn last time. Too big. Way too big, three stitches off and the fabric was way too loose.
Went down a size. Still a stitch and a half too big.
Went down ANOTHER size. Still a weeny bit big, but the fabric was nice which is really the most important thing for this project. Good enough.
Cast on on the bus, got a couple of inches in… the fabric seems awfully tight. Folks, it’s two stitches over 4 inches short of gauge.
I SWATCHED. Three times. The knitting gods are testing me.
I’m going to keep knitting on the way home, which will give me a few more inches to judge if the fabric is too stiff. Otherwise, good enough. But I am worried about my colourwork projects. If I knit a whole colourwork mitten in sockweight yarn, and then it won’t go over an adult hand…
I wonder if it’s time to learn how to wrap the yarn over my finger. I’m a thrower, and I’ve never relearnt because I am fast and I always get gauge. But I tell you, it’s a pain doing colourwork like that.
Maybe this is an opportunity?