Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Teeny, Tiny Hat (or the importance of checking your gauge)

Last night I finished knitting a teeny, tiny hat. Regardless of the size, the hat is quite nice. I used Noro Silk Garden yarn which is a blend of lamb’s wool, silk, nylon and kid mohair. While I intended to use the yarn for socks, it is a bit scratchy so I thought it was better suited to a hat. The pattern is the Truffle Hat Pattern, found on KnitPicks.

It wasn’t meant to be tiny, but I didn’t bother checking my gauge and now I pay the price by having a hat that is too small for my average-sized head.

The importance of checking your gauge

Gauge is the number of stitches per unit of distance (ex: 5 stitches = 2.5 cm). Knitting patterns will specify the gauge you need to achieve for the finished item to be the right size. Wise knitters do up a test swatch, prior to knitting a project, to check if the needles and yarn selected will result in the correct gauge. If the test results in too few stitches, you can switch to a smaller needle to make smaller stitches; and if there are too many stitches you can switch to a larger needle to make larger stitches.

In the case of this hat, I knew my yarn was the right thickness and I decided I would just wing it and guess at the best needle size (or to be more accurate, I selected one of my favourite Addi Turbo needles not caring what size it was) and silently hoped that the gauge would be close enough – it wasn’t.

Plan B

I could have ripped the hat back and started over with some bigger needles, but that didn’t sound like fun so I finished the hat knowing that I would likely be implementing plan B – finding a person with a teeny, tiny head that would want a new teeny, tiny hat.

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