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Ashley’s Adventures in Knitting: The Nijo Uh-Oh or How I Got a New Infinity Scarf

So I’ll admit, I was feeling pretty smug going into our Nijo Knit-Along. It’s been a while since I’ve had any major knitting uh-ohs and honestly, I wasn’t sure what I’d write about. Yeah, I’d have a few dropped stitches, but Emily’s quick fix video would help with that.

I knit up a swatch, did some sloppy, unblocked measuring and cast-on. It was smooth sailing…full steam ahead! And then at about 9 inches in (in the round, no less), I started to realize it was looking a little big.

How big, you ask?

I should have paid more attention to my swatch :(

I should have paid more attention to my swatch :(

Approximately 24. 5 inches (front and back), which meant I was looking at 13 extra inches of ease for my size (36 inches).

It was sad, but it was also Friday afternoon – hours before my road trip to New Hampshire for the Squam Art Fair and a visit with family – so there really wasn’t any time for tears. I was now nearly a week behind and starting over was the only logical option.

In between shopping, hiking and playing with my niece and her new puppy (who was convinced that my knitting was his own personal chew toy), I started swatching again, going down a needle size and concentrating on my tension. It was still too big.

 

When I got back to work on Monday, I went down another size (US 6, for anyone keeping score) and finally got a something that resembled 4 inches.

 

Swatch - not blocked

swatch – not blocked

Then I wet blocked it overnight…it grew nearly an inch in length and a half inch in width. Much more manageable!

swatch - blocked

swatch – blocked

 

My new Nijo is already underway and I’ve even learned some tricks from my first attempt. I’ve started counting my stitches on every row 5 of the pattern stitch because it’s just stockinette stitch, which makes it easier to keep track. This has helped me find a few forgotten or dropped yarn overs, before they cause any problems.

Nijo 2.0

Nijo 2.0

Do you have any tips or tricks for lace knitting? Or any of your own swatch-related disasters?

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Purrlie #

    Unless you insisted this was a disaster, looking at it I would never guess and I’m an experienced knitter.

    I’ve found that swatching is never critical for things such as afghans, bags and purses, scarves, shawls, stoles, rugs, dishcloths, etc (unless you’re more OCD than I am).

    Swatching really matters only for things such as clothing, hats, mittens, gloves, socks, pet attire, etc. where fit matters (who needs a hat falling into their eyes or socks that can’t fit a human foot?).Other than for these, I simply never stress about swatching for gauge and adjust my knitting as I go along.

    June 11, 2014
    • I’m with you when it comes to items where fit isn’t an issue. I’ll usually only swatch those if I’m comparing colors or want to practice the pattern stitch.

      June 11, 2014
  2. Jen #

    I am so glad for this post. I am doing my first sweater and swatching was a never ending event trying to get gauge. Fingers crossed I think I have it but this sweater thing is a whole new world to me.

    Thanks for being real. I guess from your experience I am a real knitter too!. :)

    June 11, 2014
    • Definitely! Gauge is something been I’ve struggled with even as my other knitting skills have improved. Every yarn, and the fabric it creates, is different. So I don’t think we’re the only ones!

      June 11, 2014
      • Jen #

        On the bright side, my needle inventory is growing! I am considering purchasing a set of needles just to make life a bit easier. What brand of needles do you all use at Berroco?

        June 11, 2014
      • We have have a lot of straight needles, mostly bamboo and rosewood from Clover and Lantern Moon. Personally, I prefer metal and circular. I’ve been using a set of ChiaoGoo interchangeables for the past year and I love them. There are a lot of great options out there, it just really depends on your preferences.

        June 11, 2014
  3. Afton #

    I’m finishing a sweater for a friend (long story) and I am so glad I swatched first! We evidently knit very differently and if I had gone a needle size that second sleeved would have had been way too bog.

    June 11, 2014
    • That’s so true! My mom and I worked on a blanket with lots of little motifs last year and there was a bit of stretching required when we seamed them together. I can’t imagine trying to do that with a garment, though. Glad it worked out for you!

      June 12, 2014

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