Whether you're knitting too loose or knitting too tight, we have a solution!
The most important thing to remember is that if you truly want to knit, you can. Everyone feels awkward those first few times they pick up needles, but if you stick with it, you'll get it. No matter which approach you take, start with a goal of a simple garter stitch scarf and just keep working the knit stitch over and over again until you run out of yarn. Then, move to a stockinette scarf and practice purling while fine-tuning your knit stitch.
Those two projects should give you plenty of time to hone your skills and it doesn't matter how the scarves turn out. The point is that you're developing the muscle memory that all knitters get over time. Before you know it, you may even join the ranks of the yarn obsessed and be teaching other lefties how to knit. You need to reverse any shaping in the pattern. When reading charts, you will read from right to left left to right is taught to right-handers.
Then you can make easy adjustments to your sleeve cap before knitting it. Easy adjustment!? Sounds like another column idea. I have a terrible time trying to adjust sleeve caps on patterns to fit my row gauge. They come out too tall, or too short, or too wide, or too skinny before I get them right. Saw an article once about it which used calculus to make adjustments! There must be an easier method than that…. It seems to be kind of like gambling: if your sleeve-swatch turns out ok, then wooo you won a partial sleeve! Those were fun days!! Patty thanks for the help. Someone Clara Parkes, maybe?
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It trade-off in time is worth it to me. I always say you are dating the yarn before you marry it. You are also playing match maker. You might love the yarn, you might love the pattern, but you might not love them together.
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I remember I once wrote a whole blog on why we swatch and none of the reasons I listed had anything to do with gauge. Hi Kevin, I think of it as the top of the sweater has the weight of the rest of the sweater hanging off of it. What I wanted to mention though, is knitting a whole sweater to gauge. In addition to a swatch you can check your gauge while knitting on the sweater. Most of us knit with a different gauge after knitting for a while, so a sweater will be a bit different than a swatch. Finally, a wise person once pointed out to me that you can always undo knitting, so take a chance and knit it.
The sweater made with superwash merino grew in length even though I went down a needle size. The minimally processed Jacob wool was true to swatch. I think the superwash process makes it difficult to get gauge. A superwash wool will act more like a silk or nylon or rayon or bamboo. One cheat for anticipating if a yarn is going to be a grower, does it have a sheen? That has been my experience also with superwash, such that I will never again trust it!
I read somewhere that row gauge is affected by how tight you knit, which is probably why needle material changes it.
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So if you knit more loosely your rows will be taller. I need to find the actual article, though. Yep, row gauge is the height of your stitch, which is why I mentioned that many knitters use a smaller needle for their purl row if they are seeing rowing out. Wonderful tip.
I have been knitting for 45years but always appreciate help and suggestions on my knitting. Thanks for all the good information.
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It only adds more to my satisfaction and happier knitting results. Illuminating article! I only knit on bamboo needles, and never get the right gauge exactly. I primarily knit with 2 ply fingering doing stranded knitting… how does one compensate? Changing needle size alone? Knitters own many needles for the same reason a chef owns many knives. That means everything, your needle material, tip length, circular or straight. I have been staggering my way to this conclusion about needle materials, and this confirms it.
Also, I had the tank top experience with a fisherman knit sweater for husband, in cotton. So, gravity.
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Needle size. Lots of lessons learned. So thank you. Cannot wait to reread your other posts and hope for future. I care about this topic — gauge — as mistakes are so painful, and wishful thinking, to which I am easily prone, equals project failure. Loved your photo! Laura Nelkin recommends and demonstrates the method shown in your photo to determine row gauge.
She asks knitters to make a few repeats of the lace pattern in the sleeve, wash or wet, then dry, weighted with wonder clips or similar, hanging from an ironing board, then measure row gauge. Thank you for this topic! I always struggle with row gauge and found this very helpful. Thank you. Love this!! Thank you, thank you!
I, too, have been knitting for well over 50 years and, the more I learn, the less I know. I had no idea that different needles would make such a difference in gauge, let alone appearance in a lace pattern! I might need to invest in another set or two of interchangeables!
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I LOVE all my different needles. I could no sooner answer what is my favorite needle then a chef could answer what is their favorite knife. Maybe mine is weird or a one-off, but now I only use that German brand. I think there is one in the MDK shop that looks awesome, too.
How did that get in there? Can I read it? What great information!
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