Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Making It Fit

I learned how to knit when I was in Girl Scouts. I made a baby sweater or two, but didn't knit again until I was in my 30's. I chose a pattern and yarn, and worked away. When I finished my sweater and tried it on, I was so disappointed, and disillusioned. Why put all that work into something only to have it swallow me?

I was sure I had followed the instructions correctly.  I had picked a size that corresponded with my bust size. My work (i.e., tension) had been good. So why didn't it fit?

As you might have guessed, there was more than one problem; and I'll talk about each of those in turn. 

First, I had paid no attention to yarn choice. I had no idea that yarns vary in weight or fiber content.  I simply thought that yarn was yarn. I still have that pattern today, so I took another look at it.  The pattern called for DK weight or double knitting, sometimes called sport weight.  I had chosen a worsted weight, which was thicker than the DK weight yarn called for.  Because my yarn was thicker, my garment was bigger--everywhere.  It was wider, and it was longer.

My yarn choice affected my gauge. Gauge is simply the number of stitches and rows per inch. The thicker the yarn, the less stitches per inch. If I knit or crochet a square with the same number of stitches and rows, but use different weight yarns, each of those squares will be a different size.

Hmmm, gauge is important.


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