Gauge Math

Hey Jill P.

I’ve been slightly frustrated with all my knitting recently.  Why?  Because everything I knit ends up a different gauge then what the pattern calls for.  Maybe this is my own fault for trying to substitute yarns.  I’ve had my share of gauge issues over the years but this is a whole string of issues. 

First it was the Rainbow Socks, from MagKnits Oct 2007.  (Don’t get me started on how these socks are not indexed on the site…)  In the pattern they are knit out of some self-striping sock yarn different from the self-striping sock yarn that I had.  I was using Wisdom Yarns in Los Angeles.  I bought it specifically for this pattern, because I’m not generally into that kind of yarn.  But I liked the pattern enough.  Even though the other yarn is very similar, the pattern called for a gauge of 30 st/4inches.  And something similar on my ball band.  This is madness.  That yarn is so freaking thin it’s ridiculous.  I even knit Koigu at a tighter gauge than that.  I thought the general rule was that you’re supposed to knit socks tightly so they will last longer.  At 30st/4 in it’ll be like wearing lace socks underfoot.  So I had to add a bunch of stitches so that I could use the yarn that I wanted and not be wearing mesh socks.  This created some problems because the pattern uses all short rows.  I probably made it more difficult than necessary.  Once I decided to not pay attention to the written pattern it worked out a lot better.  I had a lot of trouble with the ends of the short row sections.  There’s either a gap or a weird poochy section.  I eventually settled on the gap.  Here’s an in-progress shot. 


I was so tired of these socks by the time I was finished that I didn’t even want to take a finished picture.  But I did wear them this weekend and they were supersoft and warm on my feet.  I guess I don’t hate the finished item just the process.

I started another pair of socks right away.  I really wanted to make the Ocean Toes socks from the Cat Bordhi book.  I had some Lisa Souza Hard Twist Petite yarn that I wanted to use.  The sock pattern called for a thicker yarn at 7st/in.  I was getting 8 st.  I really had my heart set on using that yarn.  I liked the color a lot and didn’t want to use a stripey or variegated yarn for this pattern.  So I set off knitting.  I added 8 stitches in pattern on the leg and fudged the numbers further on down through the foot.  When I actually tried it on it was a little snug.  When I actually got it on the foot it fit really well.  But it was a stretch getting the leg over my foot.  The stitch pattern isn’t very stretchy horizontally, so maybe that’s the problem.  All was going well and then I got to the toe.  The pattern is very row specific.  I finish the foot patterning, but my sock is still way too short.  I had to add an inch of plain knitting before starting the toe decreases.  Which is fine.  But now the patterning ends kind of early on my foot and I can’t decide if the toe looks kind of weird all plain.  I’m not sure what I’m prepared to do about it.  I don’t want to rip back to the patterning and try to extend it.  I’m stewing over it before I start the second sock.  The US size 0s were kind of hurting one of my fingers too.  So maybe I’ll take a sock break for a while.  Here’s the pictures:

I also didn’t really realize that I picked the exact color of the socks in the book.  I feel like I just copied a little too much.  No originality.

Today I just started on a new sweater.  It’s the DROPS sweater that a lot of people are knitting.  I’m using RYC Soft Tweed that I ordered on sale from Herrschner’s.  I’m getting a gauge of 12st/4 in instead of 11st/4in.  The knitting seems a little loose, but I’m going with it anyway.  I’ve decided to knit the medium size and hope to get the smaller size.  Maybe?  My gauge is loosening up as I go it seems, so maybe I’ll just end up with the medium size.  Which would be alright.  I couldn’t decide between the two sizes anyway.  I just really want to knit something up exactly.   Here’s my tiny swatch, which isn’t saying much.  I’m making pretty good progress on this bulky yarn.

I guess that’s it for now.  Hopefully all my substitutions will work out.  I’ll see you tonight at The Spot for SnB!

 Jill B.


1 Comment

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One response to “Gauge Math

  1. I love the short row socks! I think I have stripy sock yarn in my stash that I can use for these. I am working on a quick knit hat that uses short rows for the crown. It uses wrap stitches to avoid holes. I should try to understand how it works so I can use it for the socks.

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