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Archive for October 2nd, 2008

After a big ship has rotted away, there still remain three thousand nails.

Chinese Proverb

What, did they count them? The nails, I mean. Three thousand sounds like a number that has been rounded. It’s too nice; too easily divisible by more than one number. Two, 3, 4, 5, and 6 divide nicely into three thousand. They don’t leave messy remainders over which a knit designer must agonize.

When I begin a design I swatch. I need to know how many stitches per inch and how many rows. Row gauge can be less precise at first when you are knitting to a length. “Knit until piece measures x inches / centimeters from the beginning.” If you have to make a second knitted piece — sock, sleeve, front or back, whatever — that needs to come in at the same measurement then row gauge is important. To get the same length and have it all even I count the number of rows it takes to get the “x inches / centimeters.” I write down the number of rows on the pattern so that I can duplicate the exact length for the other sock, sleeve, front or back, whatever.

The numbers game in knitting gets challenging when both stitch and row gauge need to come into some agreement with the knitting stitch pattern as well as the size of the piece.  In an ideal world the multiple of stitches needed to complete a knitting stitch pattern would divide evenly into gauge for all sizes. But who lives in an ideal world?

In my next few posts, I am going to show you the behind the scenes stuff that goes into designing a knitted sock pattern. Til then, have a good one.

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