Life Between the Gauges

December 14th, 2006

Yesterday in my knitting class I knit to gauge. Shocking, isn’t it?. First I had to prove that I was indeed knitting BETWEEN gauge. The pattern asks for a size ten needle, but I knowingly picked up a 9, absolutely sure that I would knit 4 1/4 stitches/inch instead of 4. After 15 minutes, I’d proven it. So I cheerfully picked up an 8, hoping irrationally that salvation was close at hand; an 8 would do it; everybody said so. Knowing that the cheer was misplaced (after all, I had already made these gauges at home, hoping to save myself some embarrassment,) I gamely knit on. And 15 minutes later the truth was out; the teacher pinned me over the tops of her bifocals and said (too loudly on purpose, I am sure,) “You ARE knitting between gauge.” A murmur of surprise rippled through the class; I was sure that I detected the faint odor of disapproval. The teacher hurriedly assured me that knitting between gauge was NOT moral failure, but I sensed that she was just being polite. In my despair, it occurred to me that a Turbo would loosen up my knitting just a squeak. I was knowingly informed that most people tighten up when knitting with Turbos. Not me; this is something I know. It causes me lots of problems. And so, finally, there I was, knitting to gauge just like the nice ladies.

three-crayon-box-gauges.jpg

Chris Bylsma (http://www.chrisbylsmadesigns.com/) is a wonderful, generous teacher. and she knows what she is talking about. On Saturday I took her Knitting Infirmary (What is Wrong with this Garment?) class. It is nice to see other people’s knitting ‘disasters.’ Everyone else’s disasters just don’t seem quite so disastrous to me; I can’t sense lurking character disfunction in their knitting problems. I guess people make mistakes for different reasons.

Sunday we had the above mentioned gauge class, otherwise known as the Crayon Box Jacket. You work with foundation yarns that will knit at the correct gauge and then throw in other, dicier yarns and learn how to use them all together so that you don’t throw your gauge off. So a Dk yarn is going to need just a little something to knit up at the 4 stitches/ size 10 needles (if you are one of the nice knitters. I can’t resist an aside in the middle of this parentheses, but have you noticed that everyone is so generous about the ‘fact’ that gauge is just a ‘guide,’ a place to begin, an indication of only how the designer knits — but everyone else was knitting on a 10, just like the patterns asks for. I didn’t really look but I am sure of it.) You can imagine that a project like this would be a useful study for me. It is. I even knit a square when I came home. It is a great project that requires that you buy orphan yarns from the sale basket. The gauge problem of that orphan yarn can be fixed. So I’ve got one sleeve finished, and only another sleeve, two gussets, two fronts, one back, trim, working in the ends, and blocking left to go!

Entry Filed under: Knitting

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