Monday, November 09, 2015

Two steps forward, three steps back

The xmas sock knitting efforts have not been going well. First, I thought I would knit plain ordinary socks with ribbing for the instep and leg. That just didn't seem to be going very well, so then I got the idea to knit Jaywalkers, a very good pattern for self-striping yarn, but toe up, so I didn't have to worry about running out of yarn. I ripped back to the toes, and the knitting went well, but the socks seemed HUGE. I kept telling myself that it would be okay, but after reaching the heels, I could lie to myself no longer. I ripped all the way back to the beginning, switched from US2 to US1 DPNs, and reverted to plain ordinary socks but without the instep ribbing; I plan to rib the legs.

I blame all this back and forth on Irish cottage knitting, aka lever knitting. A while back, I switched to this style from continental and was very pleased with the resulting fabric. However, initially my knitting was tighter than usual, so developed the habit of upsizing the needles. Well, my Irish cottage knitting must be more relaxed these days, as one needle size up is one needle size too far. I suspected this might be the case, as I knit the bathroom curtain on US6 needles because upsizing to US7 felt too floppy, but at the time I blamed the cotton yarn.

There is something hinky about gauge and my knitting, though. Sometimes my gauge is spot on, as with the Jaywalkers, but the resulting fabric feels unsatisfactorily loose. This is particularly troublesome with socks, where the fit should be snug and the fabric dense. I'm wondering if, instead of aiming for the pattern gauge, I should figure out what gauge produces the fabric I want, then work the pattern according to that. There is some sweater knitting in my future, so I may have to experiment with this idea.

And now I am also wondering if my dissatisfaction with continental knitting might have been resolved with a similar strategy. Hmmm.

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