... of advice.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about gauge. Then today I got this message...

Hi Mags,

I was in Vancouver last Christmas and found a store that had Americo yarn. I naturally bought enough to make Mothed. I’ve been swatching and am having a dickens of a time getting gauge. If I use 6mm needles I can get 20 st over 4 inches. I’ve tried this in the round, knitting flat but can’t seem to hit the 18 st. augh! Anyhow, I’ve looked at the over one hundred knitters who have knit this pattern and no one else is having this problem.

Any tips that you may have would be most appreciated.

(name removed to protect the innocent)

I blame the following reply I sent on the very spicy Massaman Curry I had for dinner... and the fact that I beleive what I wrote...

Hi (name removed to protect the innocent),
Sorry to hear you are struggling. From your Ravelry info it appears that you are a knewbie knitter... welcome!
Here are some words of advice that were shared with me years ago...

Needle size DOES NOT matter.... GAUGE matters!!

Just move up to a larger needle and swatch again.
I have the total opposite problem... I am a chronic loose knitter! I used 3.25mm needles to get gauge for Mothed in the Americo... gasp! I've been knitting for years and I know to just disregard the needle size of ANY project I take on.
Between you and me, I just want to smack--just lightly ;)-- any knitter that proclaims with hand on hip, "I have PERfect gauge!". Honestly! I believe there is no such thing for ALL projects-- I'm sure some will disagree with me!
The needle size stated on a yarn band or in a pattern is simply a suggested size to start with. There is absolutely nothing wrong and certainly no shame in moving up or down as many needle sizes as needed to create a beautiful, well fitting and satisfying project.
Always remember the goal is the joy found in creating your knitted project NOT obtaining gauge at the suggested needle size.
Now I'll step down from my soap box.. :)
I know this may be frustrating--especially when you are revved up to start a project-- but, you'll get those 18 stitches to 4" and you'll enjoy making and wearing Mothed... I know it!


Melaine said...

I totally agree with you. Move up or down a needle size - whatever works. Everyone knits differently. Knitting is supposed to be relaxing. Don't get frustrated.

karin said...

I'm like you. I am a very "relaxed" knitter and almost always use a needle at least 2 sizes smaller than the pattern calls for. No big deal-- after 2o years I'm use to it.

TE said...

I've been knitting for a decade or so and have learned that I seem to do my "best behaved" knitting when gauging. I am also a chronically loose knitter. My stitches are so big that I always automatically go down 2 needle sizes to get gauge, then I go down one more size because my hands relax while knitting (but not while gauging) if that makes sense. My knitting will always "mysteriously" grow so as a further precaution, I knit down one dress size too and keep the tape measure out to make sure I come out with an item I can wear. Blocking is my best friend too - I can always rescue a too-small item but there's not much I can do to rescue a sweater that is just too big.

It took years of trial, error and frogging to understand what was going on and now I can knit confidently knowing whatever I make using 3 needle sizes down and a dress size down +/- blocking WILL FIT ME!

koru said...

I totally agree with you - needle size is nothing more than a suggestion - gauge counts. I am puzzled though by the fact that you seem to be so ticked that someone who appears to have way less experience than you should know less than you. Whys is genuine lack of knowledge so frustrating?

Mags said...

Oh, koru, I am sorry that I came across as ticked at a less experienced knitter and appearing as frustrated by lack of knowledge. That was my intent nor how I feel. Without getting too "out there", I think that I am more concerned with how hard we try to obtain a "number"--- a number that may never be obtained-- and potentially give up on a joy because we feel we have failed getting "that number". This can be applied to many things other than needle size....