November 01, 2006


I'd been suspecting for some time now that I was having gauge issues with the Salina sweater; it seemed to be coming out just a little small.

But Karen, you ask, what makes you think that? Didn't you make a gauge swatch before you started it?

Well, I had something even better than a gauge swatch: I had the Elfin sweater, which was spot-on for gauge, knitted on size 5 needles. And the only difference between Elfin and Salina would be the color of the yarn. I know that the most stickler knitters among my readership are thinking: You still gotta make a gauge swatch, because even different colors of the same yarn can work up in different gauges. But I thought I was too smart to need to gauge swatch the red yarn.

I had happily knitted the back of Salina. I had sort of noticed that the back had come out a little small, but I was in denial -- it was nothing a little blocking, and perhaps a little dieting, couldn't cure. I started knitting the front.

Then one morning, as I was knitting on her, suddenly this unshakable feeling came over me: These needles don't feel like size 5 needles! I remember that morning so clearly: one moment I had the yarn threaded around my pinkie and was moving the stitches along on my needles in my usual way, and the next moment I was gazing off into the distance, rolling the needles themselves between my fingertips, and thinking, These don't feel like size 5's!

I looked at the markings on the needles and thought really hard about what 3.5mm meant. It meant I had been knitting on size 4's. D'oh! I thought that the knitting police should come that morning and confiscate all of my needles.

That was the point at which I put the sweater-in-progress away in a drawer, where she's sat for lo these many months. But now I've joined the Red Sweater Knit-along, because I really would like a Rage-colored Salina sweater. And joining that knit-along has made me get out the pieces of the sweater and assess the situation. (Before I could make this assessment, though, I had to drive to the fabric store and buy a tape measure, since the half-a-dozen I already own seem to have disappeared into the far corners of the house. I arrived at the fabric store at 8:58 AM when the doors open at 9:00. Stood out on the sidewalk, cooling my heels in the frosty morning, until they unlocked the doors and let me in -- so determined was I to get this done. Today.)

It was time to shine the bright light of scrutiny on Salina:


At her widest point, she is only 17-1/2 inches. (Mind you, I thought I was knitting the largest size.) Egads.

If I was going to intuit that these needles don't feel like size 5's, why couldn't that feeling have hit me just a few inches into the knitting of the back piece? Better late than never, I suppose.

Posted by Karen at November 1, 2006 03:28 PM

Oh no!

Thank you for telling me about the red sweater KAL.

Posted by: Angela at November 2, 2006 04:25 PM

Oh Karen - I feel your pain. I'm sure you'll get her fixed in no time!

Posted by: Jewel at November 2, 2006 07:32 PM

Uh oh. I've been there..ok maybe not the accidental needle size but surely the guage thing. Honestly, I would have thought the same thing as you - same guage, same yarn(almost!) so I'd be along my merry way. Thanks for sharing this so I don't have to experience this particular D'oh!

Posted by: Naomi at November 8, 2006 07:10 AM