It’s one of those things that’s true no matter how long you’ve been knitting: take time to save time, make a gauge swatch. And I usually do! But sometimes I think I can just eyeball things and know how they’ll turn out. And sometimes that actually works. But this time it didn’t.
My mother-in-law asked me to make her a hat like my handspun Norie, and I was very happy to oblige. I spun up some Polwarth:
And I got to work. The hat went quickly.
The hat looked really cute on my mother-in-law:
But it came out way too big. At first I thought maybe it was just because she has a pretty small head, which i had not really accounted for (with my ginormous noggin, the hat fit me fine, though not particularly snuggly). But then I checked my gauge. The pattern calls for 6sts/inch; my gauge was 4.5sts/inch! If you know how gauge works, then you will understand – even tiny differences in gauge can make big differences in the final size of a project. The difference between 4.5 and 6 stitches per inch can add five inches to the size of a hat, y’all. And it did!
So now I’m frogging and reknitting, which is fine because it’s handspun, so it’s a joy to knit. But still y’all, lesson learned (maybe). Take time to save time! Knit a gauge swatch!
(Instead of going down a couple of needle sizes, I have simply modified the numbers in the pattern to work with the gauge I’m already getting. I love how basic math knowledge empowers a knitter to be the boss of her knitting!)