CHECK YOUR GAUGE and other hard lessons learned.

Yesterday I learned a hard lesson, a very hard lesson. Learned it so well, in fact, that unless due to circumstances beyond my control, I will never, ever be forgetting it.

I mean, I know that the words CHECK YOUR GAUGE, are important, they are almost always all capitalized. However, I never found them necessary due to the project. Mittens, hats, scarfs, small bunnies, even a most complex scarf with a specific pattern. Never have I had to check my gauge. Then a couple of months ago I started a sweater. I thought it would be a wonderful sweater for spring. I used the same exact factory made yarn the pattern suggested. I used the same exact needles it wanted. So I didn’t think to check my gauge, given it was the exact tools needed.

Fast forward through the knitting holidays and a post knitting holiday break and a move and I am back to knitting the sweater. Making extremely good progress. I am about to finish the whole body of the sweater, a Raglan cardigan by the way, when for curiosities sake I decide to measure it. I lay it flat and measure and squint to read the poorly written picture measurements the pattern has and find that I am almost 3 inches short on width. I measure height and I am a little over 2 inches short. Fantastic. I sent an email to the pattern helpers from the site the pattern was from and they emailed me back telling me to check the gauge. Nothing about my mostly made sweater. After many tears, a crafting break down, thinking how I can live sustainably when I can’t create anything, and a long talk with my husband. I felt better. Only slightly though.

Hours later I did go back to the, now so hated, sweater and grabbed the yarn and the needles and sat down to check my gauge. The gauge is supposed to be  18 sts + 25 rows = 4 inches. Using the recommended yarn and needle I finally accomplished the gauge at 22 1/2 sts + 35 rows.

So my question, that I will be asking them, is why have that gauge when it doesn’t even work for the yarn or needles that are suggested for the project. Why not just change the gauge and alter the math or change the required needles. That is what the correspondent told me yesterday, that she checked the math and if I had done the gauge correctly, it would have worked out.

In the end I took a good hard look at the picture of the sweater, decided I absolutely hated the collar, which I really had never noticed before, and unwound the whole project. Done.

I am going to just knit rugs for a couple of weeks now and then maybe I will try again. After first checking my gauge on probably everything from now on.

Other hard lessons learned recently;

I can’t do 5 billion things a day, I am down to 3 billion and quite disappointed.

The movie I have had overdue from the library for a week only had a 30 second snippet about a moldy orange.

The only good story books on mold are ones I can find only on amazon.

That making things for animals need to take priority or else the dog uses the laundry basket for a bed and the sugar glider has a panic attack. (still need to make the dog a bed).

A sewing machine on a light craft table feels like an earthquake to a set of aquatic turtles. Hard lessons handed round that day.

That Thursday is trash day and the trash has to be out early! (husband read this one in particular)

Geckos are not machine washable. (more on that later though).

Geckos are also not capable of going through the dryer. (cringe).

I’ve been setting up for friends to come over for dinner recently, only to realize we have no table and two chairs in our entire house. (This is a preview of a hard lesson I will be learning soon).

That I really don’t like whole wheat flour, if only for the reason that it makes me less hungry than I need to be.

And the hardest lesson learned of all, is that I can’t have 12+ homemade peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies, with said whole wheat flour and expect to eat well or sleep well for that day. However, given I am eating a cookie right now, I think this lesson still needs some work.



4 responses to “CHECK YOUR GAUGE and other hard lessons learned.

  1. Don’t give up.

    I think everybody has to have at least one painful lesson about gauge. Some people, like me, need multiple lessons.

    Every knitter is different. Some knit tighter; some, a little more loosely. Some fibers knit up differently than others. And then, of course, there’s the influence of blocking, which can change things drastically. I’m wearing a cardigan to work today that, pre-blocking, was too small for me. But wool stretches when wet and , after blocking, it was the size it was supposed to be, or at least pretty close.

    • That is a fantastic point about people knitting differently. I guess that is the reason why gauge is so important. Well I guess I now have a reason to buy needles in every size.
      Oh goodness, I haven’t even heard of blocking yet. So much to learn. Thanks for your comment!

  2. This is a reminder for all knitters, no matter what skill level or number of years knitting. Don’t give up! When I face “fiber frustration,” I go for a bike ride to clear my head then come home and make a cup of tea or decaffeinated coffee and tackle it again! 🙂

    • Agreed Karen, I find that what has helped me get over knitting frustration is to knit something really easy. So I don’t feel like I am completely losing my touch and go back to whatever challenging project I am on. Thank you for the advice and support. Goodness knows sometimes you need it.

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