When that fails, have someone else read it for you.

I’ll start where I left off last night. My gauge was crazy short compared to the length that the pattern said I should have. This was not shocking, since I often have to increase a couple of needle sizes to match gauge. What was shocking was that my size 5 knitting was half what it was supposed to be. This seemed odd.

I went out this afternoon (as soon as the knitting store opened) and bought some size 6 Addi’s. They don’t come any bigger than that in lace, so I figured I’d just have to make due with the Pryms if the 6’s weren’t big enough. I cast on again, and worked through to row 18 of the shoulder increase section. I figured that this was more than enough swatch to figure out if I had the right needle size this time, at least. Well, I didn’t. Going up a size increased my row gauge by about 33%, which meant that I was a lot closer, but nowhere near close enough. This is a picture of the two pieces side by side.

The piece on the needles is 18 rows plus edging, and the one off of the needles is the one that’s 28 rows plus edging. You can see that I was at least catching up.

The problem is, that with this gauge I would still only make 5 inches, and I was heading for 7.5. This seemed crazy. I was knitting as loosely as I possibly could, and there was no way I was going to make 7.5 inches with this. I switched to the Prym 6’s for a while, to see if maybe I could increase the size by going back to the typing with my elbow method. Since my original swatch had shrunk when I switched to the Addis, it seemed to make sense that the piece should get bigger if I went back to the Pryms. It made a tiny difference, but not much. It wasn’t really even measurable, so I think the original swatch shrinkage probably had more to do with me getting used to the Addis than anything else.

Well, if the Pryms wouldn’t do it, I’d have to go up in size again. Judging by the fact that one size change had gotten me 30% increase and I needed another 50% increase, it seemed that two sizes were the way to go. So I switched to 8’s. At this point, it was really stretching my credulity to think that Anne could possibly have gotten this gauge on size 4 needles. I mean, really. The world’s tightest knitter couldn’t cut the gauge in half, could they? Especially not just the row gauge?

I reread the part where it talked about the measurement. I was certain that she meant the same measurement that I was taking, and it very clearly said that it should be 7.5 inches. I sat back and thought about this while knitting with the 8’s. At 28 rows plus 5, say, for the edging, 7.5 inches for the final piece would have to mean between 4 and 5 stitches per inch. Now, no matter how loose you knit, that’s just crazy talk. 4 stiches to the inch with laceweight on size 4 needles??? No way.

So I gave Branden the pattern to read while I continued incredulously knitting along on my size 8 needles, and thinking how there was no way in heck I was getting 4 stitches to the inch. He noticed a subtle little point that I saw when I first read the pattern but had forgotten while working through it. See, I’ve worked the shoulder increase section. But the measurement was given after the instructions for the shoulder drop section. I distinctly remember looking at this and telling myself to be careful not to confuse these two terms. I also distinctly forgot by the time I got to that part of the pattern.

Guess how many rows are in the shoulder drop section? That’s right…28. Precisely twice the number that I had at the end of the shoulder increase section. Ahhh. My gauge was precisely half of 7.5 because that’s what it should have been. Fancy that.

I’m still not quite over laughing at myself for this one. At least we caught it before I worked the whole section on size 8 needles. And, I decided against frogging the original swatch because of you. That’s right. I wanted to take a picture to compare the different gauges I was getting as I went along, so I just ran a lifeline through the last row and put it aside. Which means that it’s sitting next to me ready to go back on the needles now that it has been redeemed. And, I am now still finished with the shoulder increase section, and apparently ready to move on to the shoulder drop section. A happy ending, I think.

Edited to add: I now notice that Anne had kindly caught this error for me before I went on a gauge-testing foray. Unfortunately, I have been so caught up in knitting all day that I never turned my computer on and saw the comment. Thanks for trying to save me from myself, while I blissfully wandered off in my own little world. =)