Friday, 24 August 2007

Getting tense over gauge

Much to my astonishment, when Beloved's younger brother's daughter was born at the end of 2004, I was asked to be her god-mother (oh, stop laughing. It's true!). I take my god-motherly duties very seriously, and part of this is the supply of one jumper, custom-knitted, on the occasion of Little Miss M's birthday at the end of October. Knitting is one thing that my gorgeous, talented and very capable SIL (whom I adore!) can't do, so I like to flaunt my skills, as limited as they are. (Hmmm, I'm not sure that makes me sound like a nice person!)

This year, I've had my heart set on the Coloquinte jacket from Buton D'Or Catalogue #11.

Since I'm such a cable expert these days (ahem) thanks to the excellent teaching skills of Five Ferns, I was dying to give this a go.

The recommended yarn, "Dune" is described on the webpage as "heavy worsted", with a recommended gauge of 15 sts on 5mm needles. I was stoked, because those things suggested "12 ply" to me. And frankly, any pattern that's not "worsted" is a winner in my (Australian) book.

The pattern itself had a gauge of 15 sts on 6mm needles over stocking stitch. I figured that 12ply has a recommended gauge of 16.5 sts on 6mm needles, and since I usually have to go down a size to get the right tension, I should be able to hit the required 15 sts.

Hallelujah, I thought. Order 12ply classic in Tuscan from Bendy I did. Yoda I channelled.

The yarn finally arrived just before PJ's birthday weekend, so I didn't have much chance to start swatching until the start of the week. And here began my troubles.

I started with the recommended sticks, just to see: I got 16.5 sts on 6mms. Great, I thought, I'm right on the suggested gauge for a yarn - for once! Just not the right gauge for this pattern.

Up to 6.5 mm - but sadly, I only got to 16 sts over 10 cm. And the fabric was way too loose and open. Not suitable for a cool weather jacket all. And nowhere near 15 sts.

I was shattered. Clearly to get to 15 sts I was going have to use 7 or even 7.5 mm needles, and it would be more 80's style net top than winter jacket. Crushed. Damn you, foreign weird gauge yarns!! What am I doing wrong?

But that was then, and this is now. I enlisted the help of Bells (one of the Chosen Ones) to trawl Ravelry for me, too no avail. (I'd link to Ravelry, but those who are in, well, you know all about it, and if you're not, too bad. 8580 ahead of me. I wonder if you can queue jump on the basis of need?)

In the meantime, I mooched around my patterns and books, and came across this in Adorable Knits by Zoe Mellor*. I went "meh, why not", swatched, and was SPOT ON.

Maybe one day I'll just have a bash at the Coloquinte with 12 ply, and see what happens. In the meantime, wish me luck. I think the only thing more boring that garter stitch is moss stitch. I'd rather even do 1x1 rib. But I'm not going to argue with the Gauge Godess. And then there's the zip.

To keep it even more interesting I've only got 400g of yarn - more than enough for the Coloquinte, but only just enough for the Moss Stitch Jacket. Hence my swatch isn't cast off - I frogged it and re-knit it.

It needs to be in the post to Germany by mid-October. It's going to be close!

G x

*That's where the star sweater comes from, MadMad. I'm sorely tempted on the pirate jumper, but not sure I can face all that intarsia in more than 2 colours.


Bells said...

You got there! Hooray! I'm so pleased. I'm sorry the ravelry search didn't come up with much that was useful but I'm thrilled you found a pattern that works for you. I love moss stitch. It looks so good. I'm sure in 12ply that's gonna come together in the blink of an eye.

Keep us updated with progress shots!

MadMad said...

That's right! Zoe Mellor! I knew once I typed Bliss that it was wrong... But I have to tell you, the sweater was really, really easy! I promise. And pretty quick. (I'm not a big intarsia fan.) As to your other sweater trouble, I'm sorry... I've pretty much never made gauge. I don't think in my whole life. My problem is that I JUST KNIT IT ANYWAY. Yeah. Don't do that.

Jejune said...

Ergh, bugger about the gauge stuff - but the moss stitch top does look wonderful - so courage in the face of moss stitch - thank goodness it's only a child's top (not for a huge guy, for instance)!

I've never been a god-parent (being a staunch atheist I'm sure I'd be last choice...) - good on you for going such a stirling job :) And no, it's not bad to want to show off your knitting skillz ;)

Rose Red said...

Oh, are godparents supposed to knit things for their god child. Woops. Looks like I've got about 11 years of knitting to catch up on!!

Shame about the gauge on the first cardi, it is fab! I hate doing moss stitch too (although less than 1x1 rib, odd hey!). Love the red yarn though (of course!)

TinkingBell said...

Sorry about the guage (one reason I tend not to) and the endlass moss stitch - but it looks beautifula and will knit v quickly!!! You are very persistent - will have to look out those books!

Shazmina Bendi said...

flaunt it flaunt it! Sometimes you just need a good dose of self-satisfaction-smugness, I think it is good for the soul!!!!
BUT promise me there is a project for you coming up soon! (Did someone mention Clapotis??) ;)

Tanya said...

That little zippered cardigan is really cute and I love the red you've chosen. Look on the bright side - little clothes for little people take little time! Good DVD knitting anyway!

Taphophile said...

Moss stitch is so good, though - loving the red.

Come some day cables will. ;)

Em said...

It is a shame about the first sweater, but the second one looks awesome. And quick, too, which is good, since it'll be a close call with the yarn.

There's nothing at all wrong with wanting to show off your knitting skills, especially to non-knitters. It feels good to impress people, especially the capable, gorgeous, talented ones (who we adore!).