Friday, 22 May 2009

Who ever said gauge swatches are pointless

OK, well, that might have been me. But I was right. They are mostly pointless as far as telling you what size something will be when you finish it. However, I have never been so glad in my life to have taken the time to knit a gauge swatch for Arwen.

Roll back to yesterday. Yesterday was a holiday here (Ascension) so I had time to knit. Being so close to finishing Arwen, I chose to work on it than something lighter, despite temperatures of 80°F plus and a relative humidity of 70%. As I knit, I worried. Was I going to have enough yarn to finish the sleeve? Would it work? Was I going to have to put the whole thing aside and wait until I could get more of that yarn? I knew from what I had in front of me that it would last until at least a few rows before finishing, but I dared not hope it would be enough to actually cast off. As it turned out, I was right. Hope was futile. 20 stitches. Yes, you heard me correctly, 20 stitches before I finished casting off, the yarn ran out (and probably did a little jig of joy at having buggered my day too). Did I really want to travel all that way just to get a skein of yarn to finish casting off? What would I do with one nearly complete skein of this yarn? I knew I’d get away with sewing it up with the left over yarn from my Linden, so even that was no reason to go buy more. So, I started searching.

The search for a piece of yarn just long enough to finish casting off 20 stitches took me through the garbage can, where the pieces were all too short for my purpose Then thinking I might have a single or partial skein somewhere in my stash, I went through all of my project bags, my stash boxes, my couch cushions, under the couch and even into cupboards which have never seen any yarn at all. Finally, I checked the box the yarn came in, filled with the knowledge that it would be empty, and it was. Except for my gauge swatch. Jackpot. I was able to both finish the sleeve and sew both of them in and still had left overs.

Arwen is finished, or it is for the moment anyway. It’s blocking as I type, but I’m not sure I’ll be happy with it. The sleeves are too big around to fit in the sleeve holes properly and I had to improvise. The look a bit scrunched in places, which is probably because they are a bit scrunched in places. I may have a go at fixing this, but I doubt it will work. I’d really need to reknit them, but I’m not sure where to reduce at. Width? Length? I dunno. Probably width really, but then I’m afraid the arms would be too tight and I hate that. Sooooo, I may just leave them or try and get all the scrunching in under the arms where it would be less visible. I’ll decide as soon as it’s finished blocking. When I think about how much work has already gone into this sweater, I’m inclined to leave it, but then why do all that work for something which is less than perfect? *sigh*, we’ll see.

I really need to take that course in sweater design/knitting.


  1. I've had the same sleeve problem with a couple of sweaters I've made. Fortunately, with the exception of one (where I think I made the wrong size sleeves), I've just handed them over to my mom.. she's a whiz with things like that and can sew them in so you never know.

  2. I recently did the same thing with a gauge swatch. I guess that's a good reason to save them! Maybe when all is done and blocked you'll be happier. Let's hope so.