Thursday, June 22, 2006

Back to Where I Started From

Okay, you folks were right. I needed to rip. So I did. Bit the bullet and ripped. Used size 0 needles and have achieved the 3 1/2 inch cuff diameter which is the right width for my leg. Still, what a hassle to get to the right gauge . . . finally. Why don't I just automatically assume that I'm always going to need to go 2 needle sizes down on any given project and call it good, huh? Well, mainly because I have bad eyes, and I don't like tiny needles.

Gauge is my Achilles heel. I always knit loose, and it drives me crazy. If I weren't such a loose knitter, I could use larger needles and not go blind trying to pick up a stitch when I inevitably drop it. You know how tiny a size 0 loop is? I do, because I've dropped those stitches. Several times. Picking them up is an exercise in both dexterity and patience.

Now tell me, has anyone figured out the magic of knitting tighter? If there's ever a class given on that topic, sign me up. It's not like I don't try to tension my yarn, I do, honesty. Wrap it between my fingers - once around my pinkie finger, above the ring and middle fingers, then around the index finger. A year or so ago, I even switched to being a Continental knitter for the primary purpose of knitting tighter. It helped, a little. But not enough. Gauge is still loose. While you can no longer read a newspaper through my knitted swatches, it's still not where I want it to be.

There's that theory going around that a "Type A" personality usually knits tight and that's why so many beginning knitters are tight knitters, because they're up-tight about the process. But I'm a Type A person, and I knit looosy goosey. I'm not laid back at all, so why do I knit loose? Do I need to clinch my fists and frown when I knit, yank the yarn into submission . . . . what? You tight knitters, go ahead and give me your tightest knitting tips.

That's why I like to knit things where gauge doesn't matter. Give me the afghan squares, the socks (they're bound to fit SOMEBODY, right?) - that's Jen's "Cinderella" sock theory, except she knits tight. Give me the bath mats, the scarves. And best of all, the felted purses. Because then the felting covers up both your loose knitting gauge AND any mistakes you may have made along the way.

After three days of working on the sock, I'm finally back to where I started from on Saturday. That's typical of my progress in life, take 1 step forward and 3 steps back, but I'm finally back to 3 inches along on the cuff. Back to where I started from is suddenly looking like progress. And the sock is pretty. That's what counts.

Today will be better. They are promising rain. Ah . . . maybe a relief from these hot temps. Happy day everyone, and keep knitting. Tight. Loose. On gauge. Whatever.


Chery said...

I'll give you some hints in person, if you'd like. Send me an email and will plan a knit-together. Remember 2Sox2Circs?

Laura said...

Hm, I knit tight already and have to practice the loose.

I know the joy of dropping Trekking while using 0's. Sigh. Plus, the yarn splits. Bleh.