Friday, September 20, 2013

The one that taught me about gauge

I cast on this sweater 2ish years ago. I went to the yarn shop with Fran, and we saw the sweetest little sweater. She loved it and bought the pattern and yarn, and then handed it all to me and sent me on my merry way with it.
I knit a gauge swatch or two, figured I had it, and started knitting. I knit the fronts, the back, the sleeves, and then thought they might be easier to sew together if I blocked them first, so I threw them in the bath.

That's where I got my big lesson.

You see, the yarn was completely different after it had gotten wet. WAY different. It GREW. A LOT. And suddenly the reason I didn't get gauge on the needles the pattern recommended was pretty obvious. Because it grew once it got wet.

I skipped that step where you're supposed to wash your swatch the way you'll wash your finished item. I'd done that over and over again, and the swatch never really changed with washing. It might get a bit thicker, but the size was always pretty much the same - but then the fiber was always the same. I usually just knit with straight wool, or a wool and acrylic blend, or plain old acrylic. This was a fancy blend of merino, silk, and cashmere. It didn't do what I was used to, and there is where I fell down.
Faced with a way bigger sweater than I wanted, and having to do a bunch of seaming while matching up stripes, I stuffed it in a bag and walked away from it. But I did remember the lesson and made sure to wash the swatches when I cast on for bigger sweaters for me - you better believe that!

Finally, I took the pieces back to Fran and handed them over. I really do hate seaming, and she said she'd be happy to put the pieces together for me, but she was not going to knit that ruffle.

I got the pieces back from her this summer, and finally sat down yesterday to do the last bit. That ruffle went on for ages, but everything else was done, and even though the sweater was way bigger than I originally thought it would be, Eleri was now the perfect size to fit it, so I needed to get cracking before there was a chill in the air.

She picked out the button after her nap, and here we are.
2 years later, it's a perfect fit!

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