Does anyone remember the movie “A Fish Called Wanda”? Remember Otto and Ken and how well they got along? Otto, played brilliantly by Kevin Cline, eggs on and torments a stuttering Ken (played by Michael Palin) until finally Ken has had enough. He is going after Otto, and Otto utters a famous line.
“It’s K-k-k-Ken c-c-c-coming to k-k-k-kill me!”
What in the name of all that is woolly does this little tidbit have to do with knitting, you may ask.
Cameo. Will. Not. End. It is c-c-c-coming to k-k-k-kill me.
I have something like eight rows left on it. At this point, it’s like a rancorous marriage approaching its 65th wedding anniversary. It’s been a gritty, rocky road, but dang it, the end’s just got to be in sight. The urge to walk away is getting to me. But I can’t let eight smarmy little (200+ stitch rows) rows best me. But geez oh Pete that is really going to be a happy day when I bind off that project. I will probably get it done, block it, put it on and then spend the rest of my days in it, telling everyone who will listen about how much I loved knitting it. But not today. So sorry.
In desperation, I reached deep into the stash and found a gem. A gem that could be easily finished, and was. A pair of socks!
These are Regia superwash socks. I’ve lost the label, unfortunately, but I recall that this particular colorway was meant to call to mind the color bands of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. They are a little loud up close, but after finishing them and wearing them, I love them! My feet seem to be throwing some kind of interplanetary party every time I’m wearing them. Nanoo Nanoo.
I’ve been so good for so long, in the face of such monotonous, trudging humdrum (ahem Cameo ahem) that I felt like I was entitled to winding up my skeins of Cascade 220 that I was going to use to knit up the Katie pullover sweater I’ve been dying to knit.
I knit up a swatch, and the pattern told me to aim for 4.5 stitches to the inch. Since I have knitted in Cascade 220 many a time on US size 8s and I get 5 stitches to the inch with it, I got out my US 9s, knit my swatch, and measured. I got 4 stitches to the inch. Uh oh. They do not make US 8.5s. I toyed with knitting up or down a size, knitting with a needle of each (don’t even try it), trying to tell myself I could totally knit a sweater in a super-relaxed or super-tense sort of way (again, don’t even try it), but I was stumped. How the heck was I going to counter this problem? What to do?
I called the store and asked The Brilliant Knitting Goddess Mary what she would do. Her answer intrigued me. She told me to knit a larger swatch in the size 8s. That the larger swatch would affect my gauge and bring it down to the correct stitch per inch gauge I was aiming for. I was a little skeptical. I mean, I’ve knit Cascade 220 in US 8s a bajillion times. It’s always 5 stitches to the inch…but wait a second…knitting another swatch….ugh…don’t want to do that…hey! Eureka! I have the perfect swatch!
I dug out my Elizabeth Zimmermann Seamless Yoke Sweater and my measuring tape and checked the gauge on it. I felt very clever. I mean, how can you get a larger gauge than a freakin’ SWEATER!! And I was so amazed to see that Mary was totally right (but of course she was!!). My sweater, thanks to gravity and all 487,000 of its stitches, had adjusted from my assumed 5 stitches to the inch and was actually, truly 4.5 stitches to the inch. A half a stitch in an inch may not seem like a lot, but that’s two whole stitches over four inches…which piles up. That somewhat fitted sweater you were hoping for might end up being a whole lot baggier than you thought it was going to be. Gauge: do not blow off swatching! A swatch might save your life/sanity/marriage/time/diet/chocolate/Saturday night. And don’t be like me, kids…knit a larger swatch.
I have also cast on another project. A good top-down sock knit up in beautiful Noro. My last pair of Noro socks bit it with holes in the soles, and I will be happy to have another pair to grace my feet. If you haven’t knit a pair of socks in Noro, you really should. It is a fun experience, especially if you tend to want your socks to match, ’cause that is probably not going to happen with Noro, but it’ll be so pretty you won’t care! I’ll get a picture up here next time.
So now I’m off to the mines again. So help me, I don’t know what I will do if I do not finish that Cameo this week. That thing better be stunning on me. Like wow-you-look-taller-and-now-you-resemble-Anne-Hathaway-stunning. Stay tuned!