The Road to Hell is Paved With Gauge Swatches

Am I right, knitters and crocheters!

I always swatch before crocheting or knitting a pattern. I always swatch before designing a pattern. I swatch, swatch, swatch and I come up with 3 different gauges. Especially with crochet. I crochet loosely, so I know I am going to have to use a thinner yarn or a smaller hook than what the pattern states.  Or, I will make a smaller size. I will even recalculate the math to change someone else’s pattern to reflect my gauge. And, even if I get the gauge spot on, the garment will eventually end up bigger than its suppose to.  Melissa Leapman’s, Cool Crochet book, is the worst gauge offender for me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the book and the designs are beautiful. But my gauge is consistently  and significantly larger than what is recommended in the book.

The gauging demons have really come to haunt me since I have started crochet designing.  Here is what I do to cope:

  1. Crochet a big swatch – 8″ x 8″ – and calculate the number of stitches and rows by inch.
  2. Draw a graph of my design using my gauge measurements.
  3. Crochet a prototype of my design, making any changes along the way to reflect the looser tension I inevitably get.
  4. Measure, measure, measure, periodically.
  5. Measure the final prototype on the carpet, get a different gauge.
  6. Measure the final prototype on the table, get a different gauge.
  7. Do “eeny, meeny, miny, mo” randomly pick one of the above gauges.
  8. Use random gauge in my final pattern.

On my latest, two designs, I had a gauge gremlin throw a monkey wrench into the mix after the gauging demons had their way with me.

F U, Chinese Yarn!

I let my cheapness get the best of me and bought some yarn from a Chinese ebay seller. The listing stated it was a soy/bamboo blend and sport/baby weight. Not only did it take 30 days to receive but the labels were in Chinese. I thought it looked a little thinner than sport weight but I didn’t have any yarn that weight in my stash to compare. Now it is in the pattern testing stage and nobody is getting my gauge. I just recently bought some sport weight yarn so I compare, and, lo’ and behold, my Chinese yarn is thinner than sport weight. So, I am either going to change the gauge on the pattern to reflect what a real, sport weight yarn is or, go find a different yarn that matches my gauge.  I am probably going to change the gauge on the pattern since all that takes is some math. It will be harder for me to find a different yarn since there are no decent yarn stores near me.

Well, I have learned my lesson and am going to use readily available yarn to create my designs. So, I go to my “local” (20 miles away) Joann Fabric & Craft Store and buy some Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted Weight for my next shrug design. For some reason one of the skeins I picked had a blank label with some unreadable writing on it, like the label had fallen off and an employee just replaced it with a blank label. That skein was the first one I used. I thought, “I don’t remember Wool Ease being this thick and fluffy! Oh well, I’m just going to keep crocheting, dum, dum, dee-dum…”. I use up the whole skein and then start using the next skein and I notice the next skein is thinner gauge! So, I look at the rest of the skeins and they are all thinner gauge then the blank labeled skein. Apparently, that first skein was Wool-Ease Chunky!

And Jesus wept…

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2 thoughts on “The Road to Hell is Paved With Gauge Swatches

  1. Pingback: Now Available – Crochet Shirttail Top Pattern! | The Yarn Yogi

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