Monday, November 7, 2016

When your gauge swatch is a liar....

When it comes to gauge switching, I'm the most vocal proponent you'll ever meet. Seriously, I gauge every.single.time. When I first learned to knit, I snickered at the idea of gauge swacthing. It seemed like a total waste of time, especially when I was so eager to jump right into my new found knitting skills. That was, until I knit 3 different sweaters that didn't fit. And I don't mean like an "oh, they're kind of off" didn't fit. I'm talking a sweater that was supposed to be a 36" bust, but ended up being as large as a tent kind of fit. I'd show you pictures, but I'm still desperately handing onto the dignity I have left. Aftter enough ill-fitting sweaters, I finally began swatching, and I haven't looked back. And all of my knit pieces have been the correct size and fit.

That is, until today.  Today, my gauge swatch lied to me. I feel so deceived. So betrayed. My son asked me to make a Spider-Man blanket for his bed. And let me tell you, that kid never asks me to make him anything. He refused all mama-made hats, scarfs, and mittens this year, opting for branded store bought stuff. So when he asked for a blanket, I dropped everything and his spidey blanket became my top priority.

 I diligently made my gauge swatch, and came up with 20 sts per 4" on US 7. He wanted a twin size blanket for his bed, which is 35" wide. So with extra room to tuck it in, I was aiming for about 40-42" wide. Soooo...math time. 5 sts per inch x 42 inches wide meant I needed to cast on 210 stitches. This was perfect, since my pattern repeat was 25 stitches, with a 5 stitch garter edge. Boom! Perfect math! I cast on and worked my little fingers off for a whole week. But something didn't look right. I just didn't seem big enough. It was time to stop and measure. I laid it down across his bed and .......

WHAT?!?! It was a solid 8 inches too narrow. I gauged! How the hell had that happened?!? The betrayal! I pulled out my needles and threw that bad boy across the room in a fit of rage and went to find my stashed bottle of wine. After a glass (or 3) of moscato, it was time to investigate the problem. Apparently, I neglected to take into account the chevron pattern of the blanket. All of the increases and decreases used to make a chevron also shorten the width of the blanket. Had this been a straight stockinette blanket, the size would have been spot on. But it wasn't, and I lost an entire weeks worth of work.

 So, it's back to the drawing board on this one. This time around, I'm casting on 260, and after some careful measuring, this should get me to the 42" mark. Wish me luck, because there isn't enough wine in the world if I have to start over a third time. 

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