By my calculations, this is 60% of the size it's supposed to be.

By my calculations, this is 60% of the size it’s supposed to be.

I’m fairly new to knitting — I don’t hide this fact. So there’s a lot of cardinal rules that I’ve not picked up on yet. I found out one this week at Stitch ‘n Bitch — gauge ties to thickness of the yarn -and- the needles size. So when a pattern calls for x stitches over y inches, it’s something that should be (mainly) readily determined by both the size of the needles, and the play of the wool. So when I was muttering about gauging for this piece I’m working on and how the needles that matched the wool I had were much bigger than suggested, a friend set me straight.

Armed with new knowledge, I raided the nearest semi-quality shop with yarn and needles...

Armed with new knowledge, I raided the nearest semi-quality shop for yarn and needles…

To be fair, the book didn’t give me anything useful, no ply, not even a brand — it merely mentioned nylon microfiber. Which um… not really enough to go on, mate! So by my calculations, the piece I’m working on is going to come out about 60% of the actual size, or a chest circumference of 17 inches. I wanted to make this for Lilbit, who has a 20-21 inch chest… 17 is a bit too teensy. But the 28 inches that it’s supposed to come out to sounds huge too! Still, now that I had better information, I hit up my usual pit-stop for yarn in town, and managed to find a good deal on both some aran (worsted) and chunky (bulky). I filled in gaps in my needle collection with cheap plastics and metals, which I will eventually replace with proper wooden Knitpro Symphonies (Knitpicks in the States). If this pattern comes out nicely, I’m going to repeat it in the proper wool so that Lilbit can have a nice new cardigan.

Really though, either stockinette stitch is significantly more forgiving than garter stitch, or I’ve improved quite a bit already from the cardigan I was working on last week. I still need to finish sewing it together, and then laughing at all the horrible holes in it. *chuckles* I guess, all in all, I’m having fun and developing a skill, so it’s all to the good.

Now, I might not be around here for the next week — if I’m not, don’t worry. I’m fine. :) I’m just likely to be rather busy, and I’ll catch everyone up on that later.

Hope everyone is doing well!



60% — 4 Comments

  1. You’re braver than me. I’m a terrible crafter unless it’s cooking, in which case, fine. I tried knitting for a while but I couldn’t get the knack of the grip, so it hurt my hands/wrists, *whinge continued ad infinitum.* So instead, I stress bake. : )

    • Baking is faboo good times! I need to do a batch of lemon curd cream cheese frosting cupcakes again sometime soon — they are divine (http://www.digitalglitch.org/2012/03/17/sloth/ <— recipe is linked in there). I like doing loaves of bread in the winter, though I’m bad about it the rest of the year due to impatience in rising and it never seeming to be the right temperature for it (no bread machine here).

  2. Although size is determined by yarn and needle, there’s a third factor too, which is personal tension – for example, I knit loose, so I have to use a size smaller needle than my mother for the same pattern. Which is why they give you the size of stitches and rows – a sample knitted up should measure what they’ve said in order for the pattern to come out the size that they indicate (although every decent pattern I’ve ever used does also give the information about yarn weight and likely needle size too). So it’s good practice to do those squares in the yarn you’re intending to use – they can be immediately unravelled prior to starting the pattern. Once you get more experienced, you can probably dispense with them, as you’ll know what is right for you personally.
    Further tips which are quite helpful
    - if you’re using real wool and find that the yarn is snagging on the needles, rub the needle through your hair near the scalp (our natural oils are the same as the wool and it lubricates beautifully)
    - if you’re knitting in the round ever (using a circular needle), mark the start with a ribbon threaded through the back of the first stitch, so that you know how many ‘rows’ you’ve done
    - if you do drop a stitch, you can use a crochet hook to get it back up to the needle
    - a cork is ideal for putting on the end of the needle holding your work if you have to put it down for a while (or if you’re using double ended needles for anything)

    Happy knitting <3

  3. Well yes, personal tension is certainly always a consideration too! :) But I am currently feeling it’s the last of the considerations due to not knowing the other legs of the table. I’ve definitely been doing and unravelling tension squares, ’cause good practice, and definitely how I know about why the needles I’m finding I need to use are much bigger than what’s called for (but as said, this American book is absolutely terrible at specifying what thickness of wool to use!).

    I definitely keep a crochet hook to hand — it’s one of the little ones for doing like, lace, which has done me a world of good in spots. I’ve not quite gotten to a point where I can pick up stitches after the fact, but I’ll get there in good time. I can repair a dropped stitch if it’s right at the immediate part of my knitting though, so steps in the right direction.

    I’ve definitely not gotten to doing in the round, but I will try to remember the ribbon thing. :D And corks — also a great idea. I’d been wondering on that a bit; I know a time will come when shoving it all the way down the needle will not suffice!

Leave a Reply