gauge sucks

“Considered logically this concept is not identical with the totality of sense impressions referred to; but it is an arbitrary creation of the human (or animal) mind.”

Albert Einstein (18791955)

I never learn. Over and over again, gauge has kicked my ass and made me more frustrated than I can convey with words. As I sat in “my chair” tonight, casting on and knitting a gauge swatch for a sweater for my nephew, I thought, ‘this isn’t going to work. this is completely arbitrary.’ Yet, somehow, I rallied myself and took the swatch to be the Law and cast on the back of the sweater accordingly.

My nephew, D, is just under a size 8 (okay, I think my sister said he was a size 7). This website claims thatan 8 is equivalent to a 26.5″ chest circumference. K’dokey. Adding 2 – 4″ to that to make a comfy sweater = 30″. Sooo, if my swatch says this yarn’ll knit up at 3.5 sts/ inch, then I should cast on 56 sts, right? Remember to add those two extra stitches for the seam!

Simple, right?

Harharhar. About 6.5″ later, I realised that the sweater was big. Really. Really. Really big. Way too big for a 6-year-old, size 8 or not. The back of the sweater should be 15″ across (give or take a bit for the seams), right? So, I slipped it all onto a long Denise cable and whipped out my measuring tape and, whoa!, it wasn’t even close. It was just shy of being 18″. Fantastic.

The ripping will commence as soon as I can bear to actually rip it. yeah. here it is:


All 6.5″ x 18″ of it. I want to whine, but I won’t. Adults don’t whine. Or, shouldn’t anyway. So, I checked the gauge again, to see where it was blossoming. Didn’t work. Since I’m using my handspun, I got varying gauges across it, from 3.25 – 4 sts/inch. Joy. Upon further consideration and some quick thinking (why don’t I just measure 15″ from one side and see how many stitches there are beyond that point?), I found that I should have CO 50 stitches. Fine.

In a moment of “let’s not be an idiot any more than I have to be”, I pulled out my McMorran yarn balance and found that the yarn spun up to 550 yards per pound (sheesh! 3 ply and all), and since I have 12 oz, that means I have just over 400 yards. I need 410 yards to make a 28″ sweater. Right. I suppose it’s good I didn’t cast on again.

This means that I get to make some fun decisions now. Should I just make a 28″ sweater? It’ll probably still be big on him, maybe not for long, provided I get it knit fast. Or, should I do something like knit up a 30″ vest? I’m leaning towards the 28″ choice, since it’s spot on for the yardage and I want to knit a whole bloody sweater.

Opinions?

Since today was just plain frantic, I didn’t even get to start on my sock tutorial. I spent most of the day trying not to pull my hair out because of my parents BOTH being backseat drivers. It’s bad enough with one of them, but both! OY. I think we should all be grateful I didn’t decide to just kill us all by driving off a bridge or something. It just went on and on and on and on and on. And on. I’m sure you get the point.

So. Yes. Knit to destress, right? Not working. Can’t cast on the socks, however much I want, as the lighting is atrocious for pictures. Must be disciplined. I can’t knit Mum’s shawl as she’s not working tonight. And… the SKB involves counting right now. Not even possible.

I think I’m going to go and find that drop spindle and mystery batt.

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