Gauge, it is a Fickle Thing

[Raffle update: Donations to Rosie's Place now total $1200! I cannot believe it. You are are blowing past my goal, and I'm so thankful for it! I'm especially grateful for all the donations that have come from out of state. Amazing! We have two and a half days until the Friday deadline. Could we do $1,500? If you're interested in giving but have questions, please send me an email at colleen[at]subwayknitter[dot]com. If you would like to donate, please click on the PayPal button on my right-hand sidebar.]

Back to the knitting:

Picture this (because I can't show it to you today): I'm knitting along, following the pattern (which I have painstakingly adjusted for stitch and row gauge) and I'm thinking "Wow, this looks too long. How much knitting can be left before the armholes?" So, I did what any sensible knitter would--I measured the piece.

What the.... How could it be that I'm almost to the correct length, but I'm nowhere near the arm shaping? With my trusty tape measure I also checked my gauge. Stitch gauge good. Row gauge... Hey! Wait a minute!


Look, there is photographic proof that I swatched. I measured, I counted, and I knew what the row gauge was. Despite that, row gauge had other ideas for my sweater. Another check revealed that I had somehow achieved the pattern's row gauge. almost never, ever match a pattern's row gauge. Oh, it's not for lack of wanting, it's usually because--like here--I'm not using the yarn specified in the pattern. But now, when I didn't wanted to get a different row gauge (and planned accordingly) what happens? Yeah, it's dead on to the pattern.

What's a knitter to do? Not much. I frogged back about ten rows, respaced two decreases and finished things off so that I could begin the arm shaping. As long as I copy this same, um, design element on the front, I should be all set.


This sounds vaguely familiar.... it's what happens on all my Craig sweaters! I'm sure you'll prevail though.

oops! That happens to me a lot -- my row gauge on a swatch is often totally different than what I end up getting. Sounds like your fix will work though -- I totally can't wait to see this sweater finished! :)

Good thing you caught it so soon. I would have caught it after I had finish the arm shaping.

Gauge can be a fickle and cruel mistress.

My hypothesis (I've been trained to have one on everything) is that the weight of the garment itself decreases the row gauge. I think wet blocking the swatch helps. I still haven't looked up "casket" in the OED. Opining is so much faster than research.

Row gauge is a notorious weirdo. I think suzanne is onto something with the garment-weight hypothesis. To the laboratory!

I feel for you, I really do. I'm so short that no matter what row gauge I get, I still have to completely rewrite patterns or my sweaters would come to my knees. I'm making myself a duct tape dressmaker's dummy this weekend, and plan to mark placement for sizing elements (decreases, natural waist length, armholes, etc.) on it. That way, instead of making myself crazy with tape measure and graph paper and math, I can just pin pieces right on the dummy and see how the sweater is shaping up. I'm going to cover the dummy with fabric to facilitate pinning, and will probably look for some 1-inch gingam check fabric to make calculations easier.

That's why there's "pressing" ..


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