Consternation

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.)

Paula in 3 coordinating blues

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.

I'm down 3 needle sizes and not close to gauge!

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.

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3 Responses to “Consternation”

  1. bullwinkle Says:

    Yikes – a zero? That’s a tiny needle for sock weight shawl! … and I’m not sure what I’d do. (Well, I’d knit anyway and it would be big, it’s a shawl afterall.) (Lovely pattern, btw.)

    I do think I’d swatch the edging at gauge as well as other needle sizes, because I think that part would be very relevant to liking the finished product.

  2. inky077 Says:

    Oh, My! Sothia – what a beautiful pattern… but on zero, or even 1, for that matter! I just finished the Mara Shawl in, what else but Madeline Tosh, and I was sold. But, I see your dilemma. Those are gorgeous yarns you’ve got there, together. BTW, first time visitor, and love the blog!

  3. northernnarratives Says:

    Hi. I just found your lovely blog on Ravelry. I must admit the smallest needle I have ever used is size 2. Good luck woth your project. Judy

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