Gauge and other matters

I’m a pretty arrogant knitter. I generally assume that if there’s something wrong with a knit then it’s the pattern’s fault. So if a sweater fabric is stiff and unresponsive, then it is Not Because Of Anything I Have Done. However… after knitting the Julien sweater twice (because the first time its recipient was essentially unable to breathe), I did do myself the favour of reading Kate Davies’s excellent disquisition on the subject of gauge. I don’t do gauge swatches. The only time I ever did it was for a sweater that I hated (though that was more to do with the colour, the yarn, the pattern and the fact that I hate wearing sweaters I’ve knitted than the gauge). But after reading Kate on the subject it did, belatedly, occur to me that it was just possible that I ought to do a swatch before knitting.  (The Julien turned out ok in the end)

Boy wearing a sweater-vest
Julien sweater

So on the latest sweater for Oldest Child (who is growing so fast that sweaters now have a shelf-life of approximately six months) I actually did the swatch thing. And it was worth it because the recommended needle size for the yarn gave me something far too stiff.

This was always going to be a super-basic, throw-on sweater. Debbie Bliss cotton dk print that I got (very) cheap on eBay, but a really pretty turquoise. I eked it a bit with some other balls that came bundled with it, which make quite a nice yoke (though if I was doing it again I’d start the yoke higher) and she’s immediately snatched it, refusing to even let me sew in the yarn ends (fine by me).

Girl wearing sweater
Top-down plain sweater

Good meeting, thanks!

One of the small upsides of the current situation for me is that now so many meetings are online I can knit during them, so my work-rate has shot up. The sweater I started recently is now ginormous (honestly, this is supposed to be a for a 12 year old, but it would fit me. I can only assume that the yarn the pattern was created for shrinks by about 30%).

Finished the back and about to start the front. One unconsidered side-effect of using a variegated yarn is that of course when your stitch-count changes – as it does when you shape for the sleeve-holes – then the yarn puddles very slightly differently. So there’s a rather nice optical illusion here that the diamonds are smaller.

Also have a pair of socks on the go in some Scheepjes yarn I bought a-a-a-a-ges ago.

I’ve never knitted with Scheepjes before, and it’s lovely. Super-soft and cosy, and the way this one (Our Tribe Happy in Red) colour-changes is very pretty. I might feel less positive when it comes to trying to get my feet to match, but I’ll cross that one when I come to it. In the meantime there are some rather lovely other colours that it comes in…

We’re not going to talk about the shawl.

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