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March 12, 2006

Got Gauge?

In my knitting group I have a reputation for being a little over zealous -- okay, obsessed -- with gauge swatches.  "Is that a sleeve?", an innocent knitter will ask.  "No, it's my gauge swatch", I sheepishly reply.  You get the idea.  In my over zealously, I fervently believe there are only 2 rules in knitting -- "Don't Panic" is the first and "You must understand and respect gauge" is the second.  Let's be frank, I have little patience for knitters who complain about unsuccessful projects yet refuse to take gauge and gauge swatches seriously.

Is it a back or a gauge swatch?

I'm not quite sure want happened yesterday as I sat down to start the Ramona Vest from the latest Rowan magazine.  Of course I began with a gauge swatch, but for some mysterious reason only knit 4 rows before confidently pronouncing my gauge to be "perfect".  Without a second thought, the back was casted on and I began to knit and knit and knit.  Toward the end of the evening it occurred to me that the back of my vest looked big. A quick measurement confirmed an over-sized back and an incorrect gauge.  Luckily Rule #1 saved me from useless panic and I quickly decided my back was really an overly large gauge swatch.  After careful measurements, the "swatch" was ripped out and the real back begun.

Let's try that again...

March 12, 2006 in Project - Ramona Vest | Permalink


Grrr... gauge is sneaky! I ususally decide that my gauge is alright after a few rows as well, so I'll remember to do a proper swatch the next time I start something big. I'M ABSOLUTELY LOVING THE COLORS YOU PICKED FOR THE VEST!!!

Posted by: Julia | Mar 13, 2006 3:00:39 AM

The gauge thing: me too. You gotta swatch!!

Posted by: colleen | Mar 13, 2006 4:10:41 AM

I know I know..... I hate swatching, just seems like a whole lot of knitting nothing, but it is SOOOO IMPORTANT! I know some people who start their projects right off the bat, and take that as a hit or miss. If miss, they just rip out and start again on a different needle.

Posted by: Kenny | Mar 13, 2006 9:11:32 AM

Good solution... and good eye. The costumes in that part of the Rowan book are quite distracting, but the vest will be very nice!

Posted by: Daphne | Mar 13, 2006 10:11:37 AM

The vest is gorgeous!! Ah, once again you are the slap in the face I need on occasion. Without doing a swatch I started Jenna Adorno's Tempting II, 4 rounds done actually. Well, when I get to it tonight, I'm ripping and swatching. The yarn is too yummy and the top I love too much to make a mistake. Oh Nona, thank you for your wisdom!

Posted by: Kelly | Mar 13, 2006 10:37:33 AM

Bwahahaha 'overlarge swatch' - I love it! Way to go on the cognitive reframing, lol. Can't wait to see the real back.

Posted by: Kellie | Mar 13, 2006 12:24:55 PM

Gauge?! We don't need no stinkin' GAUGE!!!! Hmmm. Maybe that's why everything I make looks lumpy, frumpy and dumpy. . .

Posted by: Monkeygurrl | Mar 13, 2006 1:56:37 PM

I'm a gauge zealot too. I actually enjoy making a swatch -- it's like the courtship before you commit to the project.

I also like rule #1 -- I'm picturing a Knitter's Guide to the Galaxy with that printed on the front.

Posted by: Laura | Mar 13, 2006 5:03:43 PM

Nona, what is YOUR guide for an acceptable gauge?

Posted by: Nona-friend the oldest | Mar 14, 2006 6:35:51 AM

I almost always do a gauge unless I'm using the exact same yarn or I'm just doing a pair of socks or mittens.

Posted by: Christina | Mar 14, 2006 3:54:22 PM

I love your knitting projects.They are GORGEOUS..and the fact you have done so much washing!!!!!!! Yes!
Have you tried kookaburra woolwash? Where do you live?
There is probably a shop near you that sells it.
Or go to Kookaburraco.com on the internet. Check us out!

Posted by: Cleo | Mar 15, 2006 2:10:37 PM

My mom hates it when I don't do gauge on a scarf or shawl but it really isn't necessary. She also won't use a yarn for a pattern that isn't what the maker used. How she will ever use any of her gorgeous yarn (I am jealous of some of it) I have no idea.

Posted by: Callie | Mar 22, 2006 5:16:19 PM

Is there a quick and easy way to convert pattern instructions from one weight yarn to an other? I plan to knit a garter stitch wrap pattern from the book, Scarf Style by Pam Allen. The pattern calls for Habu textiles fuwa fuwa #1 and I want to use Cascade Pastaza. I don't like the appearance of the swatch that acheived the proper gage and believe that it should be done on a size #9 needle instead of a #5 or 6. Hince the need to adjust the pattern. Ideas?


Posted by: Kathy | Apr 15, 2006 8:27:47 AM

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