Monday, August 31, 2009

Giving up on gauge

In my Past Knitting Life, I never ever knit gauge swatches, and I messed up on a lot of patterns because of it.

In my Current Knitting Life, I have learned loyalty to the gauge swatch.


- cue ominous music -

this weekend, I knit several items for which I had diligently produced blocked gauge swatches (measuring both before and after to document shrinkage or stretch ratios) and

they all did something different than the swatch!

And by 'something different', I mean something Very Very Bad. I actually had to put one woolen thing into the dryer to try to shrink it again. And it wasn't superwash, folks. (Amazingly, it shrank to near-perfect sizing without a hint of felting. I attribute this to my having my St. Christopher in my pocket at the time.)

So I'm kinda rethinking the old slave-to-the-swatch thing. And also the block-the-garment thing. I'll still do it because I know it's the right thing, but I will have more than a few grains of salt handy. Which, now that I think of it, might also impact the blocking process. H'mmmmm.

1 comment:

Kathleen Taylor said...

Sometimes, I think it's all a crap shoot. The weight of a finished piece affects gauge a lot, but not in a way that you can judge in advance, so it's really hard to work out if your swatch gauge will correlate in any way with your finished item. Mostly, I swatch for color coordination (in Fair Isle, also to make sure the colors don't bleed in the wash), and for stitch definition. The rest, I mostly leave to blocking and luck.