Changing my Gauge, Thanks to Anne

booklassie-and-anne-hansonAt the recent Loopy Ewe Spring Fling, I got to take a Beginning Lace class from Anne Hanson of Knitspot. Anne is one of my favorite knitters of all time so I was thrilled. At some point in the class, I mentioned to her how I always have to go down at least 2 needle sizes or I get nothing but loopy fabric in lace with no discernible pattern. She watched me knit for a bit and it didn’t take her long to see what the problem was. I’m a “continental knitter,” holding the yarn and manipulating the tension with my left hand while “picking” with my right needle. I’m told that a true continental knitter would be knitting into the back of the stitches but I must do it the Dutch way, since I learned to knit from my Dutch grandmother. Anyway, as I was knitting, I was stretching the yarn and the stitches without even realizing it. That was making my stitches uneven and loose.


Here’s the top of a sock I was knitting at the Fling. You can see how some of the stitches are uneven and the appearance is rather “homespun” looking, loose and lumpy. Just as a caveat, I use the Magic Loop method of sock knitting. Here’s another view of the leg of my sock.

Anne suggested that I try knitting my stitches closer to the points of my needles, taking care not to stretch them as I knit them. Of course, you have to be careful NOT to knit stitches ON the points of the needles because that can really screw up your gauge, too. I decided to give it a try on the sock. At the point where I started following Anne’s suggestion, I had just turned the heel and finished the gusset. So off I started down the foot.


You’ll see a tighter stitch in this shot and then you’ll see where my knitting becomes even tighter, about halfway into that light-green stripe, as I become more comfortable with the change in the location of the stitches. Don’t pay attention to what looks like a dip above the pink stripe. That’s just how I happened to have the sock folded.


Finally, on the left is the foot of my sock with the tighter gauge and on the right, I’ve folded it so the leg with the looser gauge is shown. Even just feeling the two different areas is dramatic. The leg feels like a coarsely woven cotton to put it in quilter’s terms while the foot feels like a doubled-up piece of tightly woven linen. And this was all in the space of one day. I’m looking forward to practicing this tip over the next few weeks to see how it affects my gauge for lacework, too. Thanks, Anne!


One Response

  1. WOW! This is something I suspect I do also. Thanks for posting this.

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