Why this journey?

I've been retired now for over a year. Husband has been sick but is now doing quite well with new pacemaker. I continue to knit and knit and crochet. Recently I became friends again with my sewing machine so you will see some of those projects, too. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What a difference a gauge makes

It's 'just a shawl' -- right -- so no need to swatch?   Gauge -- who checks gauge on a shawl?

It takes "only" one ball of yarn and lots of knitting for me to realize I'm using a too-small needle and the fabric is too dense.  It's the Diamond Lace Wrap from One+One, by Iris Schreier.  Fabulous designer, really incredible works by Ms. Schreier and others in this volume.  I'm linking to Knitpicks, because that's where I got the book.  One+One.  You will wanna add it to your library and add all the items to your project to-do list.

One + One showcases Artyarns products, all elegant and wonderful.
But -- they're pricey, I won't lie to you.  So I found a substitute
Classic Silk, from Classic Elite Yarns.  Beautiful heathery
colors with a touch of lavender.
Diamond Lace Wrap from One + One
My gauge problem?  I started with a US#8, as pattern quoted, with a 4-weight yarn. (CYC designations.) I knit thru an entire ball of yarn, all 135yds, only to realize by looking and feeling that the fabric was too dense and too tight and not drapey enuf for a shawl.  Back to the book.

Oooops!  Gauge not even close.  I think I'd have to up-size to a US#10 but I'm working on a US#9 now and the resulting fabric is much much nicer.  I haven't frogged the first work.  Hoping the pictures below with the ruler will show a bit of the difference.
With US#9, nice and open

With US#8, too dense.
So I'm happy now and knitting along with joy and satisfaction.

Pattern was an initial challenge.  If you can see the individual leaves in the shawl, each one is knit completely before proceeding to the next -- and on across the 'row.'  This means lots and lots of turning the work.  As more of the shawl develops, of course there's more fabric to turn.  I've managed by now to accomplish two things that make this project more fun --

  • Memorized the pattern for each leaf -- it's lace on the rs and reminds me of sock heel short rows on both right and wrong side.
  • Discovered how to keep the yarn in my hands so I'm not dropping it and re-setting at each turn.  The first turn uses only 3 stitches with subsequent turns advancing to 11 stitches.  Five turns for each leaf, so this 'holding onto the yarn' is a big advantage to gain a modicum of speed.

Truly, even the purchase of this book was a  happy mistake.  I was in book-buying mode and do not remember why I chose this one.  But -- oooooh -- am I ecstatic to be the owner of this volume of gorgeous designs for scarves, shawls, & shrugs.

So I made a big big gauge swatch -- that's the way I'm looking at it.  And I learned a new pattern.  Both of these 'mistakes' will mean that the real deal shawl will move along easily and be more delightful as a finished silk shawl with lovely hand.

Make a mistake today!

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