Friday, May 15, 2009

135. Go ahead and Gauge

May 15

I’m designing a shrug. This might be a little ambitious of me, but I am going to do it. Every once in a while I get ideas into my head, I scratch them down on post it notes (because inevitably I’m at work when these ideas pop into my head) I bring them home and nothing happens with them. They sit on my dresser, and then eventually get thrown into the garbage bin. IT doesn’t make me happy to see my “designs” fall to the wayside, but it does feel good to draw them out. This past week I had an idea for a double breasted shrug with button holes on both sides, it’s a little weird with just words, but in my head it works out great. Remember when I bought that Eco+? Well, it wasn’t bought with the sole purpose of being a shrug, in fact I just bought it because I liked it. (When, as knitters, do we really need an excuse to buy yarn other than “I liked it”.) I took it home and felt it. Then I felt it again and again. It was fairly soft, and I really liked the color. I did a little Ravelry searching, and came up with nothing that struck my fancy. So, I put two and two together, got out my little post-it-note and my knitting note book, and designed a little more.

I grabbed my Boobholder, a tape measure, a pencil and an eraser. I measured the garment, measured myself, looked at the Boobholder pattern (Rav link), did a little math (with my mobile because apparently there are no working calculators in this house other than mom’s big accounting calculator which I don’t like) and wrote notes upon notes and a few more notes. I then realized that I needed to swatch, because I had no idea what my gauge would be like on 7mm needles with this yarn. (Insert groans here.) I swatched with said needles, I measured, I did some math with my mobile phone, I got a cast-on number, I cast on. I then realized that to do what I wanted, I didn’t have enough stitches, so I frogged my set up rows, added a couple stitches to my number, and tried again. I got to working on it, it was coming out a little loose for my liking, but my knitter’s brain said “Don’t worry, just keep knitting.” After some talk with my “dense knitted fabric fan” friend, Michael, I realized I didn’t like it. So I frogged. Again.

This time I decided to swatch with different needles. This time I was adamant that I was going to figure out something good. I used 7mm, 6mm and 5mm needles. The 7mm I already knew I didn’t like, but I did it anyways to have something to compare to. I figured that the 5mm would produce too firm of a fabric that I was looking for, and I was right. The 6mm needles, they were perfect! Except they’re 14” plastic straights that are probably older than I am. They’re heavy, and the shrug is getting bigger, which means more pressure on my hands to hold the needles, where as if I were using circulars (both my 7mm and my 5mm are circs) I wouldn’t have the same problem. I’m trucking on though. I’m a Knitter. I can do anything when I set my mind to it.

I just hope that my swatch doesn’t lie.

-Cheers folks!

PS. Sorry for not getting this out yesterday or earlier today, but there was drinking until 2am, and sleeping on a chair that wasn’t in my house until 9am, then sleeping in my house till 1am, then working on the shrug until… now.

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