math is my friend

March_24_010_1 As all ‘good’ knitters know, the first thing to do when starting a project is the gauge swatch.  Why is it that I always have to force myself to do this, that I am not always successful, that I try to talk myself out of the swatch? 

What did the swatch ever do to me?

Whenever I actually do one, it never ceases to be helpful – either by showing me corrections I need to make, or allowing me to knit the garment with some confidence that the end result will fit.

So, my first step in casting on for Halcyon was to try to talk myself out of knitting a swatch.

Thank God I rarely listen! 

I did a gauge swatch and was instantly alarmed and confused.

  1. the yarn is loosely plied and pretty dark making it very difficult to account for individual stitches when casting on – I am screwed.
  2. why did they say gauge was in reverse stockinette stitch?  isn’t that just the ‘wrong’ side of stockinette?
  3. then I was getting gauge with the size 5’s – which are supposed to be for the ribbing, so I assume the gauge was meant to be when using the size 7’s. 

I couldn’t believe it — I am not usually that far off.  Is it me, the yarn, my new Addi’s?  I even went so far as to have a conversation with myself about using the recommended needles anyway simply because I could not wrap my mind around knitting this yarn with size 5’s – which means the ribbing is using the 3’s!

So now I am using 3’s and 5’s on a worsted weight!  This goes against everything I thought I knew. I keep reminding myself that is where the gauge is, that you can’t argue with math, so that is what I must use.

I went trolling on Mary Beth’s site – (I was hoping that she had a similar experience with her Halcyon).  But no, she used the recommended needles.  I noticed however, that she used the cable cast on — since hers came out so beautifully, I decided not to question her wisdom and did the same thing.  Which, by the way was a whole new technique for me.

In addition to all of this, my Boar’s chest measures 42".  I needed to decide between knitting the 46" or the 49".  Intuitively, I was leaning toward the 46".  He seems like a 46". 

I consulted this site to find out more about ease.  Halcyon falls into the loose fitting category, which means I need to knit the 49".

Being wrong about everything at this point, I am just doing whatever these numbers tell me to do.  If I fly in the face of their truth, my life will turn into one big word problem.

Once again, math dazzles and frightens me.

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8 thoughts on “math is my friend

  1. Hooray! I can see everything today! Numbers don’t lie – stick with the facts, ma’am. One other little caveat – the sweater will look bunched up and small until blocking when it will relax and become looser. I would agree it is a loose fitting sweater. Good luck!!

  2. Amen on that. If I had known how much math was involved in knitting – I never would’ve started. Of course, I’m glad I didn’t know, but still.

    Glad you (sort of) got it figured out – hope it’s goes super easy from here on out.

  3. If I had known how much math was involved with knitting – I never would’ve started! Thankfully, I was blissfully ignorant until the obsession took hold.

    Hope the sweater is easy from now on! I’m sure it will be beautiful.

  4. Math is a freaky thing! Good for you doing that swatch…just imagine the horror as the sweater grew and grew, ill-shapen and eating you out of house and home!

    I look forward to your documentation of the process on this sweater!

  5. Go with the swatch! I also washed my swatch just as I would the sweater. It was stockinette and bloomed 1/2 stitch. I’ll be going down a size needle and I usually have to go UP.

  6. Go with the swatch! I also washed my swatch just as I would the sweater. It was stockinette and bloomed 1/2 stitch. I’ll be going down a size needle and I usually have to go UP.

  7. I like that bit about Skittles…

    Nice link for calculating ease (and just what is meant by some of those terms)!

    I have noticed that St. Brigid’s ease has been growing ’round my butt — though there is no ribbing to keep it in check as you will have on Halcyon (I think). Mary Beth is absolutely right — a heavily cabled sweater will be SO different after blocking!

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