Friday, 2 January 2009

Vintage gauge

I have a couple of lovely vintage patterns from Vintage Purls, and I was also hoping to make something from A Stitch in Time.

They'd take a lot of time, but I want to do it, so I was doing a little feasibility study by making swatches over Christmas. I bought some Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift, which I was hoping would be a fair equivalent to the the 3-ply used in the patterns. I also got some 2mm Addi circulars, very fast, and suitable for magic loop.

Here's the problem:

I couldn't get close.

The Jamieson's ball band says 3.25mm needles should give 30 stitches to 10cm/4in, which would be 5 7½ stitches per inch. The pattern I was looking at suggests 3.75mm needles, and 7½ stitches per inch, which is the loosest gauge on any of the Vintage Purls patterns. And if I used 2mm needles, which are the smallest usually sold, and I and yanked the wool so tight it was difficult to knit at all, I could just arguably get to 7½ per inch, at the price of aching hands.

After blocking with a steam iron, it's maybe 7.

So how did they manage to knit that tightly? Should I try laceweight?

I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do this. Apparently, it's technically beyond me. How distressing. Maybe I should just adapt the patterns, it's not as though I was ever likely to follow them very closely.

I can't spell gauge, either. No matter what I do, or how many times I type it, it looks wrong.


Anonymous said...

"The Jamieson's ball band says 3.25mm needles should give 30 stitches to 10cm/4in, which would be 5 stitches per inch."

Surely 7.5 stitches per inch?

I just checked my latest project (fair isle mittens) to see the gauge of a similar yarn and they came out at 9 stitches to the inch, though that is fair isle (colourwork pulls things a bit). Socks often come out at the gauge you want, and according to Ravelry, Spindrift is the same gauge as sock yarn. So, its not impossible...

msHedgehog said...

Yes, 7.5 - I scrambled the numbers in editing. I think I just knit very loosely. I'm not sure how to tighten it up.

Cie said...

How vexing. Not technically impossible, pace Ms A, but at that gauge possibly one for the "life's too short" pile?
Oh yes, have just realised I have the same issue with the word gauge. 'guage' is what I want to write, and it only looks wrong once written. Same with 'brocolli', for some reason.

msHedgehog said...

Cie, you might be right. I'm not sure I can face it. Although there's one pattern I so want - I could leave off the sleeves and do mosaic instead of fairisle and it might just work. Or I could do the little lace slipover, but lace goes so wrong so quickly. I don't know. My fairisle does block to gauge, but I don't think I can cope with purling fairisle for a sleeved sweater, no matter how beautiful.

I have to think 'GAY-ooge'. I never thought about brocolli, but only because I never write it. It does look strange.

Gerard was on Working Lunch yesterday!