Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mittens, Gauge Swatching and the blessing of Ravelry

This is my recent saga, a disappointing story about a cute pair of mittens and how Ravelry can be of such a great help to those of us who knit and crochet!
I found this mitten pattern on Ravelry. I think they are adorable and decided that I would try to make them. I purchased the pattern, found some handspun yarn (that was the weight needed) and started my gauge swatching.
Yes, I can be somewhat of a gauge fanatic. :)
The gauge on the pattern states: 13 sts and 15 rows = 2." Yarn weight is worsted weight, 200 yards to 3.5 oz. Knitting needles: Size 4 US (3.5mm)
My gauge on size 4 needles is: 11 sts to 2 inches in stockinette stitch. Oops. So, I switched to size 3 US and measured 12 sts to 2 inches.  I then tried a mill spun worsted weight yarn and received the same gauge numbers.
I put my swatches aside and went back to Ravelry to see what other knitters had experienced with this pattern.
First, I looked up a friend's project and found that she had put hers in time out! Oh, boy, this isn't looking good. They were too big, although they looked gorgeous!
 Then, I started reading other knitter's project notes and discovered that most of them complained about the mittens being too long or too wide, basically too big. The plot thickens.

So, I started thinking about how to fix this, so that I could make them fit. They really are cute.
This morning, I thought to look at the cast on number, for the cuff, and then the number we would increase to for the hand part. Here is what I found.
The non-cuff portion of the mitten, has 60 sts in it. At the designer's gauge, that would be 9.25 inches around the hand. My hand, at its widest, measures 7.5 inches. I don't want 1.75 inches of ease on my mitten. For length, at 58 rows of the pattern, They would be 7.75 inches long. My hand, above my wrist to the tip of my middle finger is 6.75 inches. I don't want the top of the mitten hanging and flopping around, either.
About now, you may be saying, "JOANNE, how did you figure that out?!" :)
I will show you with my gauge numbers.
Let's take my smallest gauge of  12 sts to 2 inches. Doesn't seem like that is off by too much, right? :)
-60 stitches is our total of stitches.
-I get 12 stitches to 2 inches.
-Divide, yes you can do this, get out the calculator. :) Put in 60  for the total stitches, tap the divide button, and enter 12(for the stitches that I have in the 2 inches). Tap the = button. The answer is 5. Next, we multiply by the inches, which is 2. So, 5 x 2 = 10.  That means with my smallest gauge, I would have a mitten 10 inches around. ack!
NOTE: I did my gauge swatch in stockinette stitch. The designer didn't say if she used stockinette for her gauge swatch or took the gauge from her fair isle design.  At either rate, her gauge would still make them too big for me.
Here is what I have decided. I am afraid to go any further with worsted weight yarn. I could do a gauge swatch in the round, working in a fair isle design and see. But, with so many on Ravelry having issues with their finished mittens being too big, I don't think I will.
I looked at some lighter weight yarns and their gauge numbers. It is looking like maybe these mittens could be knit out of sock weight yarn on size 2 or 3 US needles and they just might fit. I haven't swatched and won't be, anytime soon. I don't have yarn in my stash, that I would use for the mittens, and I wanted thicker mittens anyway.
The picture below is from the pattern itself. Looking closely, do you think the mittens look big on her? I do.
I still think that they are cute!!!

1 comment:

  1. Those look big on her. I like them, though. Can't wait to see yours!