December 14, 2004



A canary yellow envelope arrived in our mailbox. The return address read: "Darling Daughter #1," and her college dorm room address.

Inside, was this:

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That's a toaster! Inside, the card reads: "A toast to the happy couple!"

Oh, how my little DD has grown! This is a first, to receive an anniversary card from her. She was thinking of us. Scott and I have been married 21 years, today. Whew!

December is such a busy month, it is a crazy month to get married. The doctor I had at the time (21 years ago) had herself been married in December, and she tried to talk me out of a December wedding. Scott and I are so busy today, we won't celebrate until the 16th. So, DD#1 -- and any other singles out there reading this -- take this piece of advice: Get married at some slow time of year, like March.


I wore the Karis poncho to the Lacy Knitters Guild on Sunday, and it was duly admired. The collar does not fold over quite as nicely as it should. I explained that the pattern calls for you to twist together some lengths of yarn and thread them through the faggoting where the collar joins the body, but I felt that the drawstring was just too much. (The pattern calls for pompons on the ends of the drawstring! I'm just not a pompon kind of gal.) But the experts there at the Guild explained how lacing a string of some sort through the faggoting would give a wee bit of pleating to the body and a nice place for the collar to roll over. I must try that.

The Lacy Knitters is a small guild that meets in Bellevue, and a chapter of the national Lacy Knitters Guild. My friend Kit came to the meeting with me, and she was quite the life of the party, rubbing everyone's knitting between her fingers and ooh-ing and aah-ing over its softness. Sunday was the holiday party of the Guild, including a white elephant gift exchange. I put in a bit of Marmalade (bright orange) Kidsilk Haze, and received in return 9 balls of mint green crochet thread. Oh, what to do, what to do....


I wanted to have an example of gansey knitting for the Two Swans store. So Friday afternoon I cruised through my books, looking at gansey patterns. I found the River Grass Gansey sweater in Jamieson's Shetland Knitting Book #2. I know people have made this sweater; I know I've seen photos of it -- but I never paid the pattern the least bit of attention. It never appealed to me before. But Friday afternoon I was drawn to it. There was nothing for it but to begin knitting that very evening.

So I whipped this up, finishing last night:

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Did I have you going? Bless you, Dear Reader, if you think I knitted the entire sweater in four days!

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Jamieson's DK in the color Clyde Blue, knitted on size US 5 needles.

I've got a swatch that's about 6 inches tall and 9 inches wide. Every stitch of this was a pleasure. The tension on this is the most even I have ever done on cable knitting. So now I can't stop thinking about making the sweater.

But there's this gauge issue. The sweater pattern comes in sizes 36, 48, and 54 inches. 36 is too small and 48 is too large. The recommended gauge is 22 stitches to 4 inches, but I am a tight knitter and have 26 stitches. I used a size 5 needle, and I think that is perfect for this yarn. (This is the same needle size I used for the Basketweave vest, also from the same Jamieson's book.)

When I think of the gauge as 5.5 stitches to the inch (pattern) versus the 6.5 stitches to the inch that I'm getting, I think my garment will come out to 84 percent of the original size. 84 percent of 48 inches is about 40 inches, which would be perfect.

When I think of the sweater as being the size of the panel (swatch) that I made (which is 9 inches), plus two more sections of little cables to rope cables on each side (each of these sections would total 7 inches on either side of the 9 inches), then the sweater would work out to about 46 inches, which might be somewhat larger than I want.

So my question to you, Dear Reader, is: What is the best way to estimate gauge in cable knitting? Should I be thinking of gauge as being so much percent, or should I be thinking of knitting sections?

A note to the very efficient Anne, who uses the Elizabeth Zimmerman method of knitting a sleeve for her gauge swatch: The only way this swatch could have been larger was if it had been a sleeve!

Posted by Karen at December 14, 2004 11:14 AM

ell, since I just designed my Level III Aran and did all the endless gauge calculations for that, I will tell you what worked for me. Measure the different sections, because when you add them together, you will know exactly how wide the piece will be. So, measure how wide the cable is, and how wide the gansey section. Then measure the stockinette, because if you need a bit of width you could add some purl stitches around the cables. I agree that the knitting looks perfectly lovely, and you have a good needle size as it is. The color is great, too.

Posted by: Anne at December 14, 2004 08:38 PM

My mom also warned me not to get married near the end of the month, because the household budget will have been spent by then and you can't celebrate. Oh, the days before easy credit!

Don't have a clue about the gansey conversion. I agree with Anne about measuring the components--but you might as well take the next step and design your own. I know you can do it! Your swatch looks great.

Posted by: Janine at December 16, 2004 04:50 PM