Gauging Gauge (again)

11:24 AM

There's one aspect to knitting that I've never really mastered and that is the whole gauge thing. I mentioned this many posts back in reference to a certain Rose Pillow I knitted. Cutest little thing....little being the key word...

Usually, each project you undertake comes with instructions (one hopes), the first of which is to check your gauge. What that means is to knit up a sample size piece with so many rows and stitches to ensure that you are using the right size needle, right size yarn, your stitches aren't too tight or too loose. The idea is that when you finish your real work, it will be the size intended. You'd hate to knit a sweater for yourself that will only fit a 4 year old. Or vice versa. Or a blanket that ends up being the size of a place mat.

I tend to feel there's some wiggle room here. And thus far, I've never had a problem. I either have used the yarn suggested for a given project or the gauge wasn't all that critical to begin with. I think overall I don't knit too tightly or too loosely. So I recently undertook a small project from one of my favorite knitting books, More Last Minute Knitted Gifts, a book I think I've referenced before. From one of my favorite blogs (www.purlbee.com)and yarn stores (www.purlsoho.com). This book has some gorgeous projects! The chief flaw of this book being that the suggested yarn is often INSANELY expensive. Which would be no problem for the author of this book who happens to OWN a knitting store in Soho, New York. Obviously, she can just pick a yarn from her well-stocked shelves and not give it a second thought.

I, on the other hand, am more likely to pause when a project calls for 2 skeins of yarn, each of which cost $45 per skein. GASP! Ok, I'm gonna have to find a substitute....

This particular project was a baby cap. For my own pending little one. I had acquired (on sale) some really nice yarn in a lovely neutral grey color for which I've been searching for the right project. On a side note, while I know I'm not the slowest knitter there is, I must not be nearly as fast as I could or should be. These projects are listed by approximate time to completion. Such as 1-2 hours, 2-4 hours, 4-6 hours and 6 + hours. So far, either I just haven't given myself a chunk of time required, or I knit more slowly than the author, for I exceed by several hours the time estimate. Sigh.
Anyway, I just finished the baby cap and to my credit, it looks JUST like the picture. Which means I knitted it correctly. Perhaps just a little too large. I could have sworn that the yarn I substituted was going to match up to their suggested yarn, but there is no way this cap is fitting a newborn's head. Not unless the head is freakishly large and for very selfish, personal reasons involving the fragility of my body, I'm praying that is DESPERATELY not the case. In fact, this cap fits quite nicely on August...and even Brooklyn.

So, I guess it's either gonna flop all over my baby's head or it will get some interim usage by the siblings. Which works, too, I guess. They do look pretty darn cute in it.

The moral of this story is....check the gauge...or suffer the consequences.

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