Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More on the Earth Stripe Wrap and gauge

Laura had two comments that I wanted to address. Thank you Laura!

First, the concept of a tighter gauge. This is one of my pet peeves. I think that we are getting too sloppy in our knitting. Knitted fabric is inherently elastic and knitting at a loose gauge for the yarn just makes it more elastic and floppy. I tend to knit most things at a much tighter gauge and when I haven't, I've regretted it. Two recent examples come to mind. You can see from the dates that these are from 2004 and 2005 respectively.This was knit in a cotton and nylon blend called Reynolds Madrigal which I picked up years ago on clearance. I am very happy with the way the sweater looks and feels but it fits horribly. The fabric is too sloppy with no body. The reason I knit it at the ball band gauge is that I was afraid I'd run out of yarn. I made a mistake in my calculations and I had plenty but I was nervous as I had multiple colors and needed to combine them to have sufficient yarn for the entire sweater. I doubt I'll wear it much. I'll keep it as a teaching tool but it looks awful when worn. This is knit in Plymouth Galway, a lovely yarn. I love it. I love the color, I love the way it fits. But again, I had bought the yarn on clearance many moons ago and I created the sweater at a gauge to fit the amount of yarn I had. I didn't make a mistake in this case and I have about half a ball left. The gauge is 5 spi which is perfect for a worsted, right? Wrong! At 5 spi, the yarn is pilling terribly. It would have been better at 5.5 spi or even 6 spi. I will wear this till it is too threadbare to wear any more. So that's my rant on gauge and why I now knit things far more tightly than I should for sweaters and socks and hats .

Lace is a different animal. I knit lace much looser than most people. I like lace to be ethereal. I like the stockinette parts to be gauzy. So shawls and scarves are knit looser than most people would recommend.

On the Earth Stripe Wrap, Laura asked if the yarn was doubled. Yes, it is but not in the way you'd think. There are two colors held throughout and the colors change frequently. Sometimes one color changes and sometimes both. The combinations are not ones I'd consider without thinking a lot about it - hot pink and brown, or teal and mauve, for example. But the resulting effect is striking and will go with anything in my closet. I'm up to row 105 on the second repeat.

1 comment:

Rima said...

I wonder how long it will take knitters using the current trendy crop of expensive merino yarns to find out how badly those yarns can pill when knit too loosely. What a waste.

I used to have faith that the yarns companies knew their products, but over the past couple of years have come to agree with you.

I found out the hard way that knitting Rowan's Summer Tweed to the recommended gauge of 16 st over 10 cm produces a sloppy fabric. I love the yarn, but get more satisfactory results knitting it to 17 stitches. (At least pilling isn't so much of an issue with that yarn.)