Monday, January 25, 2010

A Near Miss

The weekend knitting almost had me in a state of disbelief. A state of hysteria. A state of questioning why I ever took up knitting in the first place.

It is that enemy of mine - gauge. Again.

Remember how I did my first gauge swatch for EZ's version of Waterloo County Fairisle as a cap? A swatch cap, Elizabeth calls it. Elizabeth says repeatedly in her books that knitters often achieve a different gauge with purl stitches compared to knit stitches. Her solution? If the sweater is to be knit in the round with no purl stitches, knit the gauge swatch in the round. Hence my swatch hat. I got A gauge, MY gauge, did the math and started the sweater.

After a few inches of fairisle work - six inches to be exact - I spotted, two rounds below, a mistake. To rip back, I removed the knitting from the needles and with the sweater lying flat, decided I might as well check gauge one more time. Had gauge worked out? Was the sweater-in-progress the size it was supposed to be? Heck no. That would have made life just too easy. The sweater was w a a a a y too big.

For my second, sweater start, I now had a 44 by 6 inch gauge swatch. Starting over felt awful, but it felt good. I was confident now about gauge. Filled with confidence . Perhaps overly confident. Because as you all probably know, gauge lies.

The gauge you get when knitting a little four- inch, square swatch is different from the gauge you might get when you knit a swatch cap. And I am knitting proof that the gauge you get when you knit a swatch cap is different than the gauge you get when knitting a sweater.

Knowing this made me anxious. With the first 32 row repeat completed, anxiety made me want to check one more time. Was size finally working out? Once again, I took the sweater off the needles. Guess what? Well, I'm sure you can guess - it won't be a surprise to know - the sweater isn't exactly working out to my final, 'I'm-not-doing-this- again' gauge. Twelve inches were done and ripping back was just too heartbreaking to think about. In fact, Saturday night, with ripping on my subconscious, nightmares ruined my sleep. Sunday, instead of ripping, I decided to try it on.

I like it! It will be fine! Here it is on the bed, where the colours are the most accurate.
Here it is around the hips. The 'mismatched' motif you see is the centre front, with four extra stitches done in seed stitch, where the steeking will happen.
And here it is around the bust.
Not overly roomy. But once button bands are applied, I think it will be fine.


Sel and Poivre said...

What a happy ending to this post! What a beautiful pattern and colour combination! What great relief you must be feeling! What a great sleep you should have tonight!

Vera said...

I think that by now I would have fired the thing in a corner and not looked at it again. You are very brave! I bet in the end it will be OK. That is a lot of work.

Anonymous said...

Looks great Brenda. The colours are perfect for you. Hope the dreaded gauge remains the same. Megan