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I give knitting a bad name

August 6, 2012
by

Shot to the heart and gauge was to blame . . .
I give knitting a bad name . . .

Some days, the only thing I can do is retreat to my iPod and blast my Bon Jovi playlist. If Jon Bon Jovi can’t make me feel better then there is no hope for it, I need to give up and go back to bed. Even if I do change the lyrics to reflect what sent me into my downward spiral in the first place.

I knew better. I really did. I didn’t spend enough time planning my project. I didn’t think things through. I just decided a project at the last minute, grabbed some yarn and figured, yeah, I can do this. I even took a whopping 45 minutes and swatched for it. Such careful planning I had.

Here’s the thing. My gauge swatches lie to me. Or rather, I lie to myself with gauge swatches. It’s amazingly easy to do. Here’s how I accomplish this little trick. I will find a pattern that I like, search my stash for yarn that seems suitable to the pattern’s requirements, grab the recommended size of needles and then check what my gauge should be, according to the pattern. In this last case, it was a stitch gauge of 24 stitches and 36 rows over 4 inches. Since I was devoting and entire 45 minutes to my gauge swatching, I whipped up a 3 inch x 3 inch swatch of stockinette, taking care to knit tightly both on the knit rows AND the purl rows, measured my gauge and established that I had 12 stitches and 18 rows over a 2 inch area. Double that, and I was at the recommended gauge. No problems. I was golden.

Until I spent the next week knitting the project the way I truly knit. I am a loose knitter, especially when knitting stockinette, alternating between knit and purl rows. Since I know this about myself, I overcompensate when I swatch. Ergo, my swatches are perfect little examples of what my gauge SHOULD be. They just have absolutely no correlation to the truth. Even knowing what I do about myself and my tendencies, I choose to believe in my lies. I like to think that this time it is going be different. This time, I didn’t lie to myself. I swatched just like I knit, or I knit just like I swatched.

Thankfully, the only loser in this little game of mine was me. I wasn’t frantically trying to finish a present for someone, I had no promises to keep. I was merely trying to knit a sweater over the course of the Olympics. I was making fantastic progress on it too, using up ball after ball of yarn, ignoring that nagging voice in the back of my head that told me I shouldn’t have used 800 yards to make half of the body. It wasn’t until I decided to take another direction to break up the monotony of endless stockinette and work on the sleeves for a while did I admitted there might be a problem. Especially since the sleeve I started could have fit over my head. When I finally got out the tape measure and measured the waist circumference of my bottom up sweater I wasn’t too surprised. Instead of the 41 ½ inches I was supposed to find, I was measuring out at a whopping 47 inches!

Whoops. There is no coming back from that. Faster than the USA men’s gymnastics team fell off the pommel horse I knew that there was no hope of salvaging that project. A week’s worth of knitting, for naught. I have no one to blame but myself. Knowing I did it to myself doesn’t make it any easier to take.

“Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” ~Sir Winston Churchill

Thankfully, I am not about to let a little thing like a monster sweater keep me down. No way. I climbed back on that knitting horse and started a different project. One where gauge wasn’t going to be a problem. I’ll give you a hint. I am using this stuff . . .

And it makes me happy.

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