Friday, June 18, 2010
if at first ...
If at first, you don't get gauge ... swatch, swatch again!
I'm determined that my Tea Leaves cardigan is going to be perfect - perfectly knit, perfectly fitting, perfectly finished. Don't all our knitting projects start out with these kind of lofty aspirations? One thing I have learned over the last couple of years is the importance of gauge - in this case 20st and 26 rows = 4 inches. My first swatch on 4.5 mm needles was too big; more like 16 st = 4 inches. My second try on 4 mm needles? Not much better. Now on 3.5mm needles I've got the stitch gauge correct, but not the row gauge. On my swatch it's 32 rows = 4 inches. That's quite a difference.
I've been sifting through the Ravelry forum posts to glean some advice on what to do. One concern is that the drape of the fabric may be adversely affected. As well, knitting almost 20% more rows might mean needing more yarn. Definitely a concern as I need longer sleeves and body than most. The best advice I saw was to knit a big swatch - at least 6" and 6" - and then wash and block it. Apparently the yarn may relax after washing and the row gauge might end up closer to what's required. How lucky would that be? Fingers and toes crossed that there's a happy ending to this story tomorrow.