Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gauge: a.k.a. a Lesson in Humility

I’ve been knitting like crazy lately and tackling projects that have both pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone and improved my skills as a knitter. All have turned out great. Like any proud parent, I post pictures of these projects on Facebook and show them to anyone who will look. All receive high praise and adulation from friends and family. Here’s just one:

So, with my puffed up chest and inflated sense of knitting self, I decided to embark on a new project: a pair of socks for a special aunt. I borrowed a pair from her this summer to keep my feet warm on an airplane ride from Florida to Michigan. How great it will be to return them with a hand knit pair. I text my uncle, who confirms her shoe size on the sly, and I’m off.

Isn’t this yarn great? It’s soft and fun, as well as machine washable. 

I pick a sock pattern I’ve knit 3 times before. I check the stitch count on the band and it matches the pattern. “Hooray! No need to check gauge,” I say to myself. So, I knit happily along, love the yarn, and can’t wait to surprise my aunt. And then, you knew this was coming right, a nagging doubt about size knocks on the door of my knitting cocoon. “The sock does seem a little big,” I think at one or two points along the way. But, then, I banish that pesky thought, reassure myself that her feet ARE 2 sizes bigger than mine, and carry on. After starting my toe decreases, I can’t stand it anymore and let the persistent doubt into my cocoon: I try on the sock.

It’s HUGE! 

I make my husband try on the sock. 

It’s still HUGE. 

I check my gauge.

Yep. Half an inch off. A sense of defeat bursts my knitting bubble, and I swear I hear the soft hissing sound that often accompanies any type of deflation. Hours of knitting down the drain. Seriously, I mean, I don’t know anyone with feet this big. I must rip! 

Lesson learned: Always check gauge! ;)

Humbly yours,

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