Sunday, May 4, 2014

Koi Rama - Finished!

I finished this shawl up last night, but didn't block it until this morning.  All last week I worked steadily on the final chart.  Even though I cast on for the large size I only used 3/4 of my yarn, and my shawl ended up a medium.  This just goes to show you how much gauge can influence the finished size of a project.  I used the recommended needle sizes, but I did not do a gauge swatch (I rarely do for shawls).  As long as I like the resulting lace, I keep going, and don't worry that much about the gauge.  I guess the designer knits looser than I do.  I also am not a strenuous blocker.  I pull until I feel resistance, but don't stretch my yarn to within an inch of its life.

I used to be a loose knitter, but I adjusted how I hold my yarn and now I almost always get gauge for commercial patterns.  I am a thrower rather than a picker and I pass the working yarn over my index finger, under the middle finger, over the ring finger and loop it once around the pinkie.  I have found, however, that I almost never match the gauge of independent designers.  At this point I don't even bother trying.  I look at the weight of the yarn and the finished item and pick a needle size that I think is appropriate.  When I look at the specifications for the pattern and compare my needle choice with the designers I can get a sense of whether or not they are a tight or loose knitter.  If I have never knit with the yarn before I will do a gauge swatch, just to see how it knits up, but I don't fully believe the results of gauge swatches.  I use them to get me started with a pattern and make the initial adjustments that I need, but they can't tell the entire story, so I check my gauge after I have knit some portion of the garment, and then if I am happy with the fabric I fine tune my adjustments.  If I don't like the fabric, I will ravel, change the needle size and begin again.  Thankfully, lace knitting has taught me to enjoy the process of knitting, and not just the end product, so I can rip out and begin again without anger or frustration.

Pattern:  Koi Rama by Kitman Figueroa
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Tinsel Toes in Pisces
Needles:  US 8 (5.0 mm), US 6 (4.0 mm), US 4 (3.5 mm)

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