What to do when you can’t get gauge

I’ve talked about how to knit a gauge swatch and why it’s important. But that post assumes that you are able to get the gauge specified in your pattern. And while you can do a lot by changing the needle size you’re using I’ve never really talked about the instances where you can’t get the gauge specified in the pattern. So what do you do?

First, what gauge are you getting? If the pattern specifies 27 stitches per 4″ but you can only hit 26 stitches or 28 stitches you’re probably close enough. A lot of patterns incorporate positive ease into the pattern if this is the case than you can pretty safely knit at almost gauge and end up with a well fitting garment.

Deciding if you want to go with the 26 stitch gauge or the 28 stitch gauge is going to depend on the characteristics of the garment and how your measurements compare to the pattern measurements. If the closest avaliable size is a little larger than you would normally wear than knitting the pattern at a slightly tighter gauge may be result in a better fit.

If the garment you are trying to knit is knit at a loser gauge of say 16 stitches per 4″ and you can only hit 15 or 17 stitches than you are probably going to want to either do some math and alter the stitch count of the pattern or knit a different size.

Figuring out which size you should knit based on the gauge you are getting is actually pretty easy. If you divide your stitch count by 4 this will give you the stitches per inch. Take that number and multiply it by your bust measurement plus the whatever postive ease you want in the finished garment and this will give you the stitch count for the bust. Now take a look at the pattern and find the size that has the stitch count closes to this and follow the dierections for that size.

Have you every had trouble hitting the gauge specified in the pattern? What was your solution? Let me know in the comments below!

Are indie dyed yarns better than commercial yarns?

I was not introduced to the world of indie dyed yarns until I started watching knitting podcasts on Youtube. And while the the beautiful speckles and rich tonal yarns crafted by indie dyers are certainly alluring their price tag can be a bit daunting. We often associated a higer price with higer quality and while that is often true I am not convinenced that indie dyed yarns are inherently better than more budget firendly commerciallyed dyed yarns.

But let me be clear as much as I love indie dyed yarn and as much as I want to and try to support other creaters I simply don’t have the budget to knit exclusively in hand dyed yarn. And I certainly don’t want to imply that there is anything wrong with indie dyed yarn or that I feel indie yarn is over priced. Indie dyers are often one person dying skeins of yarn in small batches and the cost of the yarn reflects this. However, when compared to commercially dyed yarns there is no question as to which is the more affordable option.

That being said I want to make a case for yarns sold by companies like KnitPicks becasue you can get high quality fibers at an affordable price from these companies and I don’t want anyone to think they are not a Knitter with a capital K becasue commercially dyed yarns are all the can afford.

So to answer my question — are indie dyed yarns better than commercial yarns– I would say that depends on what you are looking for. While companies like KnitPicks do offer animal fibers and a limited number of luxary fibers if you are looking for a speckled Merino/Cashmere blend you probably won’t find that from anyone but an indie dyer. If you are looking for a solid or tonal wool/nylon blend there are plenty of options avaliable from both commercial dyers and indie dyers.

When it comes to my own knitting I use a mix of indie dyed and commercially dyed yarns. When I knit socks I primarilly use indie dyed yarns for a few reasons. The first being that I have not found a commerically dyed sock yarn that I really like or that knits up well for my feet. Additionaly, since you only need one skein for a pair of socks this isn’t a budget killer.

But when it comes to sweaters I tend to gravitate towards commercially dyed yarns, with a few exceptions for special projects and special yarns. I don’t have the budget to knit all of my sweaters out of indie dyed yarn and I absolutely hate alternating skeins, which is a must when knitting with multiple skeins of indie dyed yarn.

What kind of yarn do you use for your porjects? Let me know in the comments below.