Once upon a time, on the great Mt. Fiberous (just to the left of Mt. Olympus) there was a Knitting Goddess. She oversaw knitting of all kinds, giving perfectly even stitches to those who honored her, and knotting up the skeins of those who didn't. She was bored one day and decided to walk down to the village at the base of the mountain. There, she came upon an engineer (the exact math kind, not the train kind). He looked a lot like Matthew McConaughey
, had a voice like Sean Connery
and wore a kilt. Yeah, he was hot. The Knitting Goddess thought so too and eventually they had a son (this is the G rated version, you don't want to know what
the other version involves). They named this son Gauge. Now Gauge wasn't quite mortal, but he didn't have all of his mother's powers either. He did have powers of math (wouldn't those have been handy in Pre Calculus?) and an eye for precise design. He also had a huge ego. Gauge quickly learned that most knitters ignored him and paid homage only to his mother. This was very upsetting to him. He realized that with his limited powers, he couldn't thwart all of the knitters all the time, but he could strike randomly and without warning and wreak far more damage. Now, since Gauge is partly mortal, he can be defeated by the particularly observant knitter. The knitting of a Gauge Swatch is the most common offering to salve his ego and deflect his wrath. He has a small following who run around saying things like, "Take time to save time, check Gauge," but many knitters ignore these fanatics, knowing that the odds are in their favor and Gauge can't get them every time. When Gauge does strike, he is swift and merciless. This weekend, I was a victim of Gauge's wrath.
Above, you see the two finished sleeves and partial back of Caleb's navy blue sweater. As I was knitting the back, I realized that it looked a little large. Now, this is a Debbie Bliss pattern and anyone who has knitted a child's pattern by Debbie Bliss can verify that Ms. Bliss is a huge fan of "growing room." I had heard this before and had chalked the immensity of the sweater up to growing room. Saturday, as I was working on it, I wondered, "Hmm, I wonder what my gauge is?" Well, let me tell you guys, it wasn't pretty. I was supposed to be knitting at 4 1/2 stitches per inch. The knitting coming off of my needles was 4 stitches per inch. This meant the sweater would be 40 inches around at the chest. Caleb is not yet 5. His chest measurement is in the low 20 inches. My downfall? I usually knit the sleeves first as a sleeve shaped gauge swatch. This only works however IF YOU ACTUALLY CHECK THE GAUGE OF THE SLEEVES AS YOU KNIT THEM. You shouldn't just happily knit away, never going near a ruler during the entire sleeve experience and then start the back of the sweater and still not check to see what your gauge is. This is really just asking to be smote by the wrath of Gauge. I frogged the sweater and have put it away for a little while (everytime I look at the yarn I think, "Oh Crap" and I refuse to knit my son an Oh Crap Pullover).
By the way, Gauge, I did this just for you. See the pretty garter stitch border? I even blocked it nicely and remeasured. Please go away now. Thank you.