Tuesday, January 17, 2006
A Lesson in Gauge
Remember the booty back in October? My gauge was a running joke with my AbqSnB girls, as well as my knitting pals back East. Now that I'm more interested in making things that need to fit (socks, sweaters), gauge needs to stop being a joke to me. Scout and Carole showed me English knitting, and although it felt awkward, I decided to give it a try.
Skip this if you already know the difference between English and Continental knitting. If not, the most basic difference is that in the English method you hold the yarn in your right hand--the left does no work other than holding the left needle--and you throw the yarn. In Continental knitting you hold the yarn in your left hand and "pick" it with the right needle. When I was first learning, this was the method that felt more comfortable to me. Very comfortable apparently, as I'm a crazy loose knitter (my stitches, folks, my stitches). One of the reasons, I've discovered, is that I wasn't wrapping the working yarn enough; I wasn't creating enough tension.
The first picture, in which my gauge is 4 sts/inch, was knit the way I normally knit. The bottom was also knit Continental, but I knit mindful of my tension, as suggested by Ramona, and it came in at 5 sts/inch. The picture on the right is of my first attempt at English. Sit down. Six sts/inch. That's right, my gauge changed a full two stitches per inch. I like having both methods in my toolbox now, and I may end up working in Mindful Continental.
Tonight I cast on for Jaywalkers for our AbqSnB KAL. I'm going to use 1's. Not 0000's. Mission Accomplished.