Friday, March 5, 2010

Gauge Wisdom: Don't Do As I Do, Do As I Say!

While I have absolutely no business taking on a lengthy project with Spring and Summer samples to make up, when I saw Liesl by Coco Knits, I dropped everything, downloaded the pattern, and started it immediately. I could do that because I actually had the Habu yarn called for in the pattern. I've had it for 7 years now. Really, it's one of the first purchases I made when I opened the Grove. Well, let's just say, it wasn't a big seller. My business partner kept best mark that stuff down and move it. I just couldn't. So you can understand, why I started Liesl in a whirl of excitement without doing a gauge.

I know. You're falling off your chair. You can't believe it, especially when I insist everyone else do one. Well, smarty pants over here, knit gobs of rows (which did take forever) and in the dim light of the night, I dropped a stitch while making a decrease. Instead of just phumphing it, I decided to rip out a couple of rows which would also give me the chance to try the piece on.

I don't know the actually size of an adult hula hoop but if I starched this, I would definitely have one. To put this in perspective, that's David's sandal in the middle of the hula hoop and he wears a size 10.5. (Imagine him actually standing in that sandal.)

Now the pattern, with it's dips and drapey bottom, is supposed to measure 76", tapering to 48" across the bust. When I took gauge, I discovered that instead of getting 4.5 sts. per inch, I was getting 4 sts. per inch. On a scarf or something with a narrow width you may be able to get away with a half stitch per inch difference, but when you're knitting 76", the difference is substantial. It is actually a 10" difference! That's huge! (344 cast-on stitches/4 = 86". 344 cast-on stitches/4.5 = 76"). The 1/2 st. difference is almost a foot. To get 76" with a 4sts per inch gauge, I cast on 304 (76" x 4) stitches instead of 344 (76 x 4.5). Make sense? It doesn't have to. Just know that gauge is a requirement for everyone. I've been knitting for a gazillion years, yet that is a lesson I seem to have to relearn every couple of years!


  1. Wow...that's a huge difference. Glad I let you blaze the trail before starting - not a big guage fan, but totally see why it's needed!

  2. Oops! Starch it and we can hula hoop at The Grove!!