Sunday, October 22, 2006

Gauge Woes

I mentioned some gauge woes in my last post. Sadly, they are not of short duration. While I was cleaning some things out of my former craft room closet (now dd's closet) and moving them elsewhere, I came across a sock I made in bygone years. It was also a rude lesson in color selection, but I'd rather not talk about that. This lovely Fair Isle sock, made from a pattern in Threads magazine, was one of my first attempts at sock knitting. If I could get it on, it would function beautifully as a tourniquet. Fair Isle, as you probably know, doesn't have much give to it. And my gauge is about 11.5 stitches per inch on it. The floorboards which you see in the picture are 1.5 inches wide .

Strangely enough, the gauge of my mitten is also 11.5 - 12 stitches per inch. At least I know what size needles and yarn I used for it, so I can learn from my error. It's a lovely mitten, even if it is snug.

You know, there's really nothing less inspiring than finishing a mitten thumb. Especially if you know the mitten is not proportioned to fit any living human -- such as a Small Child with a hand length of a Medium Woman. Working on the thumb was an exercise in willpower. I considered frogging the mitten rather than finish it. My compromise, in the end, was to knit the thumb 'about yea long' and then bind off, with no thumb decreases. It's an open thumb. Nothing so short as would fit a Small Child, nor the annoyance of making the thumb the correct length for a Medium Woman who couldn't begin to get her thumb into the mitten to begin with. And so, the mitten is done.

But, since I had a grudge against mitten thumbs, and mitten gauges, I decided to trot out a Real SRP. I brought out some Worsted WoolEase, some size 5 Bryspun needles - lovely and lightweight for mittens - and use up some stash while providing for my family and anyone else within range. I cast on 8 stitches, and started a pair of mittens Top Down. When I got to the area where one would typically put a thumb, I put my mitten on a holding thread, cast on another 8 stitches, and started a thumb Top Down. Then I used a 3-needle bind off to connect the thumb to the mitten at a hopefully strategic point, and worked a gusset in reverse by decreasing every 3rd row, one stitch at each side of the thumb. When I was back to my original number of stitches, I switched to a ribbing, and ribbed. To finish my seat-of-the-skirt creation, I did a picot cast-off. I didn't like the one in Vogue, so I unvented my own.

I took oodles of pictures of the second mitten in progress, so I could do a nifty tutorial on how in the world one does this tip-down mitten. Unfortunately for the tutorial, I was away from my camera all day today, and there's a gap in my photo sequence between 'increased to 4 stitches on each needle' and 'finished mitten.'

I was also away from home when I finished the mittens, and still had a lot of visiting time, plus a 30 mile ride home. So I cast on for an ear warmer, requested by a boy at church who wanted one like ds's so he wouldn't muss his flat-top.

Now my son wants an earwarmer like his friend (yes, the one who wanted an earwarmer like my ds) except in the black and orange. That same son unearthed the proper colors from my stash, so I can say that my stash reduction project is continuing.

My stash also increased slightly today, as I was given a skein of Caron's Simply Soft in a lucious winey red. But I can honestly tell my husband that I am *trying* to reduce my stash. For really and true.

And for you, Rosemary, here's a picture of my knitting buddy.

My next post will hopefully be about figure eight cast ons, increasing, and the delights on figuring out gauge while the mitten still has a chance of fitting.

1 comment:

Pensguys said...

Great post! And I love your knitting buddy. :)