Most knitters know about gauge. It’s that evil monster that has something to do with numbers and makes your projects not come out the right size!

In all seriousness, I don’t mind a little math and I’ve been lucky so far to not have encountered a gauge-related knitting disaster. And, really, I still haven’t. But in the last couple days I had a very interesting and visually apparent issue with gauge… so I’ve decided to share it. Because I’m all for admitting my mistakes obsessive tendencies.

A couple days ago I posted the progress of my Space Dust Diamondy “twin socks” with MJ and it looked something like this:


MJ’s sock, on the other hand, looks like this:

MJ’s Space Dust Diamondy Socks
Originally uploaded by nerdcoop

I liked her socks better. I admit that I have issues with pooling – it’s not that I mind pooling necessarily, I just want it to pool a certain way. I realize this is crazy. In fact, even after knitting four lace repeats on two socks, I still liked her socks better. The problem was as follows:

The pattern calls for a size 2.5mm needle and 8 stitches / inch gauge. I wrote the pattern and that is what I did the first time, but with a slightly thinner yarn. I checked with MJ, her gauge was exactly 8 stitches / inch. I checked my gauge again, and it was off by less than 1/4 stitch per inch. The socks would have fit just fine, but I didn’t like the way the colors were coming out. I debated ripping them out and starting over with a true size 1 (2.25mm) needle, but I wasn’t sure it would make that much of a difference.

We debated. We looked on Ravelry and saw that – as one expects with a hand-dyed yarn – there were finished projects with more yellow than our skeins had. In fact, our skeins weren’t bought at the same time, so who knows if they’re even in the same “lot” so to speak… Maybe they would never look the same!

I decided I was going to rip the socks, since I knew I would never be happy otherwise. I did, and I started over using the smaller needles. The ribbing is the same, I didn’t rip it out – we’ve already discussed how much I love knitting that ribbing…


Uh… wow! Even I didn’t expect it would make that much of a difference – I mean really, it’s a .25mm difference in needle size, less than 1/4 stich per inch difference in gauge… Wow.

In other fibery news…


Yep, it’s a loom. No, I didn’t buy it, I’m borrowing it from Stephania. And I didn’t warp it either, it came that way. I’m excited to figure out a bit about the loom – I figured I’d use the exisiting warp for a bit of a practice to figure out how to get it working and then warp it. So… anyone have any suggestions about places online for info for a very beginner weaver? Is there a knitty of weaving?

P.S. Today I registered for Blue Moon’s Sock Camp. I can’t wait. 😀

Listening to: Lightning Crashes ~ Live, Pale September ~ Fiona Apple