I’m not usually the type of knitter who takes the time to knit a gauge swatch, but let’s face it, when you’re mostly knitting scarves and such it really doesn’t matter. My first difficulty with gauge came when I made my first hat for the girls. The pattern was for a ‘one-size-fits-all’ ADULT hat, but when I’d finished it according to the pattern directions, it was too small to fit my (then) 6-year-old, whom I’d made it for. It did, however, fit my 4-year-old almost perfectly.
Which is I guess one reason why I haven’t worried too much about sizes (yet). With 3 daughters, there’s a pretty good chance that whatever I make will fit someone. But that doesn’t always go over very well, especially when I’ve made a point to tell them who’s supposed to get what I’m knitting at any particular time.
For example, when I made the shrugs for my older girls, I initially started with a size that I thought should fit my oldest. But knowing that I tend to be a tight knitter, I figured that if it was too small, then it would fit her sister – for whom I was going to be making a second shrug anyway. When I started knitting that first shrug, I was worried that it would turn out too big for my oldest – but then my initial fear came true and it actually ended up fitting her younger sister perfectly. I then made the next size up – and it fit my oldest. Phew!
With my current project (the smock top), I’m starting to get a bit worried again – but this time that it’ll end up too small for my youngest, whom I’m knitting it for. The pattern designer is apparently a tight knitter too and I’ve read on her blog that she does recommend making a size larger than you need, or adjusting your needle size. I initially started with the second smallest size for my 4-year-old, but thought that it looked very large, so when I had to pull everything out and start over, I moved down to the smallest size. As I get into the actual shaping of the top, it’s appearing that it’s going to probably be too small. And for the first time, I’ll have nobody younger to pass it on to instead.
Which is I think, the biggest reason why I’ve suddenly lost most of my interest in finishing this project. Oh I will finish it – and at the current size. I figure if I can’t find someone with a daughter small enough to wear it, then I can probably sell it somehow, if it turns out well enough. In any case, it’s good practice and then I can simply make another (bigger) one for my daughter. But I’m suddenly seeing the definitely need for making a gauge swatch to determine the best size to make next time.
I guess I had to experience something like this before I could ‘see’ why knitting a swatch is so necessary, even though I’ve had several people telling me that it is. Next time, I will – and hopefully the sizing will work out much better!