Take Time to Save Time

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:

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(Hello Yarn, in “Troll” – 2-ply)

And I got to work. The hat went quickly.

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(shown folded) (with random bit of tissue paper that I’m too lazy to edit out right now) (I’m blogging from my phone, on the road)

The hat looked really cute on my mother-in-law:

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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!)