my excuse to talk about knitting, cats and life in general

Monday, February 06, 2006

On the (narrow) Gauge

As I've said, I've been having a tough time getting the right gauge for the Rainbow Mittens that are my Knitting Olympics project. A couple of days ago, I just went back to basics. What a concept! What took me so long? I did a gauge strip, changing needle sizes, then went on to do the fair isle pattern in different sizes, too. I wasn't happy when I was done, since nothing gave me the right gauge. Sigh. Then I washed it and let it dry. Wonder of wonders, the gauge changed radically. It relaxed sideways. I wasn't expecting that, much less the fact that I now have gauge, or close enough to go on with. I could go ahead and make a really big gauge swatch and measure it carefully, but this is a pattern for mittens, not a fitted, fully-fashioned top. We're good to go.

I did the swatch/strip in the "navy" that came with the kit. It's really a dusky medium/dark-ish blue, not like any navy that I've seen. For the contrasting color, I grabbed the orange. Once I was done, I decided that the color combination was so icky that I had to change it. I immediately went on line to the Shelridge Farm website and ordered a skein of black for the fair isle section. It's on its way as quickly as possible (within financial reason) and I hope to have it by Friday. I'm not worried, though, because I have the cuffs to do first, and I can do both cuffs, if needed, before I'll really need the black.

The swatch was a learning experience in another way. I'm trying to learn how to knit holding the yarn in my right hand. It's rather funny, since that's how I learned mumblemumble years ago. However, I never learned how to hold the yarn the "right" way; I just pinched it in my fingers. Trying to do fair isle knitting with yarn in both hands is different. I've tried and it works in an awkward way, but I might as well learn a proper hold now. As a result, the stitches from my left hand flow freely and the stitches from my right stagger along as if drunk. Mind you, they look decent, but the process is so clumsy as to be laughable. I have nowhere to go but up, so I think it will all work out.


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