The need for this blog post arose as many of my shawl patterns are written for multiple weights of yarn... some astute participants knitting Trapeze noticed that I stated that to get blocked gauge with a lighter weight yarn one needed to go DOWN a needle size. Frankly, this doesn't make sense, even to me.... how the heck did I come up with that? It stands to reason that a thinner yarn would need a larger needle.
I decided to do an experiment, I knit stockinette stitch samples of fingering and lace weight yarn. First I laid them out flat UNBLOCKED without stretching and measured them:
|Fingering Weight Yarn, Size 5 [3.75 mm] ndl, UNBLOCKED- 11.5 sts/2 inches|
|Lace Weight Yarn, Size 5 [3.75 mm] ndl, UNBLOCKED- 12 sts/2 inches|
But wait, what about blocking? I then soaked both my swatches in warm water, layed them out flat and smooth, and measured again!
|Fingering Weight Yarn, Size 5 [3.75 mm] ndl, BLOCKED- 11 sts/2 inches|
|Lace Weight Yarn, Size 5 [3.75 mm] ndl, BLOCKED- 10 sts/2 inches|
Do you know what the moral of this gauge story is? You need to do your OWN gauge swatches when getting ready to work a pattern, your yarn, your tension, and your needles are going to affect YOUR GAUGE! And the only way to make SURE you are on target is to work it yourself !