So, yeah. Gauge. It's never really been my friend.
It's just like Time - I get it, in principle, and I can compute the most basic of necessary calculations. But there's some elusive factor in the grander scheme of things that I just can't seem to grasp. Some hidden component that I'm missing.
Right when I think I've got things all figured out, and I'm being so careful and precise in my planning, the mystery wrench is thrown and all calculations are rendered invalid.
This problem stands in the forefront of my mind because of a project I started a few days ago, but I'm afraid I'm not ready to talk about this project today. I'd like to do a little more tweaking first. However, I did work on a project recently that can certainly serve as a decent example of how I convince myself that no such wrench exists and that I, my dears, am the master of the yarn and can force it to do my bidding.
I have a real-life friend (unlike Time and Gauge, those foul-weather foes) and this friend needed a hat. A pattern was found, a yarn was found, and both suited the friend nicely.
Of course, as is my way, the yarn I picked was not the weight called for in the pattern I picked. And, of course, as is my way, I was convinced I could make it work nonetheless.
Long story short...yes, I did make it work. But not without a few fingertip calluses and pep talks of perseverance from other friends along the way!
The pattern is the Kim Cloche by Kim K. (a free Ravelry download), and the yarn is Patons Divine. I've used this yarn before and have found it to be very soft and snugly and warm - the ultimate goal for this hat.
Unfortunately, to get the fabric I liked I had to use a size 5 needle. This was all well in good in the straight stockinette of a gauge swatch, but to do increases...with the bulkiness and the fuzziness of the yarn and the tendency for me to knit even tighter on double points...
I wouldn't recommend the combination. At all. To my worst enemy.
Lesson learned? Just because you want to knit a particular yarn in a particular pattern doesn't make it a good idea! Think long and hard about the properties of the yarn and test all potential trouble-spots of the pattern before committing.
Stubbornness won't always pull you through.
Twice I tried to scrap it and start all over with size 6 needles (which would have called for a re-print of the pattern because I'd made so many notes of re-calculations on the one I had in front of me), and twice my friend convinced me during Open Knit to stick with it because I would be glad if I did.
And I am glad. The finished product is pretty much what I had pictured, except for the fact that the double-thickness of the brim inhibits the flipped-up-and-buttoned-look, but maybe that will change as the fabric softens over time. All in all, it really did come out rather cute and the friend I knit it for was happy with it.
And that matters a whole lot more than a few fingertip calluses.