Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Size Matters

One of the fun parts of knitting is the picking and choosing. The pattern, the yarn, the needles. Each of these things are important in and of themselves, but they must work together to get to that, sometimes elusive, thing we call GAUGE. For when we get gauge we get fit.

Remember way back when, just about a year ago, when I cast on for my first sock.

You may not know what a disaster it was because it doesn't look like some monstrous Sasquatch sized sock, but don't be fooled. It was supposed to be for a four year old.

As the year has progressed I've finally achieved gauge (and my socks really fit nicely, thanks.) And as a self admitted sock junkie, I have spent more and more time with smaller and smaller needles. Until I have gotten so used to them that when I started knitting up this swatch today my hands didn't know what to do with the huge 5 mm needles!

See all those holes in the little ruler above, those are for checking needles sizes. Ya, most needles don't actually have the size written on them, especially if they are circular, something else I've gotten used to. And with the new project I cast on today, I've now got something on the needles from both ends of the spectrum. This swatch, fortunately, did knit up to the correct gauge of 4.5 sts per inch, and the needle size is about at the half way mark, 5mm. Whether or not I use this yarn for that particular sweater remains to be seen.

But that new project is my sister's birthday present, henceforth to be referred to as the black project. (Every once in a while she actually deigns to look at the blog, so I'm keeping this under wraps a while longer.) It has a wopping gauge of 2.75-3 stitches per inch. Of course if you knit, those 8mm (US size 11) needles should be telling you something. And it's two strands of Cascade 220 knit together. Are you figuring this out? That's all I'm saying for now.

Now here is my thisclosetobeingfinished Crusoe, knit up on 2.5mm needles. Compare the stitches.

Here they are together. You can really see the difference. Remember the black project is knit with two strands of a worsted weight yarn, the sock with a much thinner sock yarn. One row of the black project is about as tall as three rows of the sock.

In case you are wondering, Arietta is is knit up on 3.25 mm needles, exactly 1.25 mm larger than the sock and smaller than the sweater swatch. With all those different needles sizes my hands are getting quite the workout. Who says knitting isn't exercise?

1 comment:

Miss 376 said...

My son is just learning to knit and he has just worked out the difference the needles can make to how quickly a piece grows. It definitely is a shock to the system when you go from one extreme to another