Thursday, July 21, 2005

Take Three . . .

I knitted eight of the border rows for my Union Square Market Pullover, and thought it would be smart to just double-check the gauge before I completed the hem and switched over to the main color. So I knit half of the next row onto a second needle (so as to be able to stretch the stitches out) and . . . well. Turns out this was very smart. This is still huge. Not quite as huge as before, but still big!

How big, you ask? 42", give or take a fraction.

Now, according to my gauge swatch of 5.25 stitches per inch, this should have been 38". But no. Apparently I'm getting 4.8 stitches to the inch.

And this is Fingering weight yarn (Rowan 4-ply Cashsoft), with an estimated gauge of 28 stitches over 4" (10 cm) on US size 3 (3.25 mm) needles.
I'm getting 19 stitches over the same width using US size 2 (3 mm) needles. How ridiculous is that?

Apparently, at this gauge, I'll need 182 stitches to get the right size. (I say "apparently" not because I doubt my math skills over such basic math, but because this is my third attempt--it's not the math, it's the fact that my gauge keeps changing!)

Now, I figure I have two choices. (Well, technically, three, but giving up on the sweater is not one I will allow myself to consider. I am hosting this knit-along, after all.) I can either (1) go with 182 stitches and recalculate every number in the entire pattern as I go. Or, option 2, I can pull out the lace-weight Misti Alpaca I bought and make a gauge swatch out of that and see what I get! (I thought it would be too fine and was kicking myself for buying it, but maybe it wasn't such a crazy idea after all.)

The plus side for the first option is that at so few (relatively. few) stitches, the knitting will go faster. For this size sweater, the original pattern calls for 250 stitches--I'd have almost 70 less per row. That's a bonus, right? And the yarn knits up very nicely--very soft and comfy--I'd like to try to see it through with this. And doesn't it seem crazy to make a sweater out of a lace-weight yarn? (I mean, you do what you've got to do, but some things seem more reasonable than others.) Sheesh!


  • Hi, I've been reading all the posts of this knit-along, you know, so that all of you could iron out all the kinks before I tackled this project...
    I have to say, the gauge for this sweater is insane! It very difficult to even find yarn that knits at 27 st/4". Nothing works: not sock yarn, not lace yarn, not Baby Ull, not Rowan Cashsoft... I'm convinced that Kate Gilbert fell under the french spell of teeny tiny yarn and miles upon miles of stockinette (see any Phildar magazine if you need proof). Did you know that someone on Craftster was wondering if the sweater was actually machine-knit?! Nothing like accusations of cheating to spice up the knitting world!

    By Blogger Veronique, at 12:06 PM  

  • I am with veronique, I am quite glad I have not started since I had my reservations about this sweater from the get-go as well! I've got a fingering weight yarn I want to swatch with, and we'll see if that works, but boy, I am really not looking forward to knitting a whole sweater with that! I hope you find something that works!

    By Blogger Diana, at 12:36 PM  

  • I feel your pain. I actually hid my yarn out of sight because I couldn't deal with my two options - use mini needles or do lots of icky math. Tonight I am swatching with size 2 needles and if I don't get close to gauge I'm going to do a recalculation of the numbers. If we both decide to recalculate we can share info as we go along!

    By Blogger MeBeth, at 12:36 PM  

  • Deb,
    yours look like my NBaT saga, when I never could get Jo Sharp to knit at 19/sts and a settled for 17.
    Whip out the calculator!

    By Blogger Lu, at 6:33 PM  

  • Even though I got gauge with my swatch, I'm still convinced that I won't get gauge with my sweater. Sweaters knit in the round and I have a love/hate relationship. Here's keeping the fingers crossed - for you and me both!!!

    By Blogger marirob, at 8:38 PM  

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