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Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Look for the gauge in your own eye...

Well, This is Embarrassing

August 1

Well, after spending my practice time yesterday justifying why I was having such a hard time knitting with this yarn (it's cabled! it's unruly from being in a tight little ball for 10 years!), I thought of another reason I might be having a problem with it.

It's slightly thicker than the other yarns I was using before. Therefore, knit on #8 needles, the fabric it was making was just too tight.

There are good reasons to knit tightly. High-abrasion items like socks last a lot longer if they are knit at a firm gauge. Also, sometimes you want your fabric to be a little stiff, like for a jacket or a skirt.

But, learning a new knitting technique is not the time to use needles that are too small. It's annoying. Trust me on this.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee warned us, in her class, that we would probably "revert" to our original knitting gauge. Some beginning knitters knit very tightly. Some knit very loosely. I knit so tightly, at first, that I actually ground off the finish from the tips of my first set of knitting needles. I used to leverage the end of the needle against my hip bone to force the needle into my super-tight stitches!

It's not THAT bad right now, but this method of knitting is a little bit tighter than my usual way. I'm dealing with this by trying to just relax already. However, using larger needles helps, too.

So, today I switched to #9 needles. I'm not going to report my speed, since it's terrible, but I am feeling more comfortable every day.

I'm trying to decide when to practice purling. Maybe at the halfway point? That would be Friday or so. We'll see.