Saturday, July 09, 2005

Why are there no size 16 needles? Or, Am I incapable of achieving gauge?

Ever notice that what the hell is always the right decision? -- Anon. Hollywood scriptwriter
My current WIP is the Ballet T-Shirt from Teva Durham's FABULOUS book Loop-d-loop. (I highly recommend. Lovely, lovely, lovely.) The pattern states that for the women's sizes, you should knit at a gauge of 10 sts/4 in with size 15 needles using two strands of worsted held together. Sounds imminently reasonable, and I am sure that better, less wonky knitters than I would have no trouble achieving it. Did I mention that it is knit circularly, which is my favorite way to knit? But I'll be @#$%*! if I can figure out a way to do an accurate swatch in the round. So I usually start the project (a sleeve if there are any, which there aren't here) and just hope for the best and measure as I go along. I have become inured to the pain of frog stitch.
To make a long story short, after trying two different yarns (Katia Diana--yum--and Berroco Denim Silk--also yum), and starting and ripping THREE times, I finally came to the realization that 1, I personally am not ever going to knit 10 sts/4 in with two strands of worsted and size 15 needles; 2, I do not like the fabric either of these yarns produces on size 17 needles (yikes, too open!); and 3, it is insane that needles go directly from 10mm size 15 to 12.5mm size 17. Where are the 16s?!?
I briefly and frantically considered a trip to Home Depot to investigate wooden dowels and sandpaper, but quickly put my feet up and the feeling went away. Fortunately, Ms. Durham kindly provides excellent schematics for her pattern. So I thought, what the hell, I'll do some math. I have translated the pattern for a gauge of 3 sts/inch. I've never tried doing this before (mostly because many patterns don't give you such nice schematics), but so far so good. By the way, I picked the Katia Diana for this project and decided to save the Denim Silk for Grumperina's Tivoli tee. Pictures to follow...


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