Sometimes it is the simple things that just cannot be simple.
In advance of some surgery last month, I carefully matched up some patterns and yarn with an eye to some easy and ~ above all ~ mindless knitting. You know, nothing that would go wonky with a few days of prescription painkiller consumption. (Of course, exactly the way I over-plan for travel knitting, I over-prepared for the actual time I’d spend knitting while laid up, but that’s a separate issue … It turned out to have been a very good thing that I did.)
I chose the very pretty Sothia, a striped shawl in garter-stitch by Robin Ulrich. Now, I know that all sock yarns are not created alike – calling a yarn “a sock weight” leaves a good deal of range in the actual thickness of the yarn involved. I want to use Dirty Water Dyeworks Paula, 100% Bluefaced Leicester. My plan is to blend these three shades rather than just two. Paula has very comparable yardage/weight to the model yarn that Robin used, so to any reasonable soul, it’s going to be a good match. Note the qualifier in the preceding sentence.
Time to swatch.
Which is where things go all sideways ~ even without the administration of the aforementioned meds.
The pattern seeks a gauge of 5.5 stitches/inch in garter stitch stripes. The tester achieved this on a US 6 needle. Now, I am fully aware that there is absolutely no meaningful relationship between my knitting tension and the unknown-to-me test-knitter’s. I get that.
So I swatch with my BFL on US 3 (3.25mm) Addi Turbos. I get a gauge of 5 st/inch. Which means I have to use smaller needles. Bearing in mind that Addis use different metric sizes than some US markings, I next swatch on Addi US 1.
My gauge is 5.25 st/inch.
* Ignore that this photo shows smallish swatch still on the cord – I wanted you to see how fine we’re talking about here. To illustrate a really good swatch, I’d knit another 50 rows and it would be off the needle when I measured.
Meaning that I really should go down one more needle size if I want to match the gauge of the pattern. This isn’t critical ~ it is a shawl.
It is the Big Picture that stops me dead.
Do I want to knit an entire shawl in garter stitch on US 0 needles?
Do I want to knit an entire shawl in garter stitch on US 1 needles, for that matter?
Nope. Nuh-uh. No way, nohow.
Call me stuck right here. Very glad that for once, my over-preparation was not, after all, excessive.
There were plenty of other simple things standing by to be knit.
But I’ll be darned if I can figure out what to do about Sothia and my BFL. Chime in with your bright ideas.