This is why we swatch.

See this?

Looks reasonably unassuming, doesn’t it?  It is roughly one half of a mitten, knit all the way through the thumb gusset, with a few rounds knit past where the thumb stitches are put on scrap yarn to wait for a thumb to be knit.  I was trying to make a pair of Mrs. Roosevelt’s mittens out of some Three Irish Girls’ Springvale Sport, a club offering from this past spring.  (The color is Cherryblossom.  Isn’t it pretty?)

The pattern called for sport weight yarn, and the gauge listed was 24 sts/36 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch in the round.  I grabbed the needles I usually use to knit socks from sport weight yarn, which are labeled as US2s, but which I have recently discovered are actually closer to 3.25 mm than 3 mm.  So, yeah.  Big size 2s.  I should have stopped to think about how the Springvale Sport is kind of a thin sport weight yarn, and even the thicker yarns have knit up a little loosely on those needles, but no.  I cast on, thinking that certainly I didn’t need to knit that yarn on size 1s, and merrily knit away.

I realized partway through the cuff that maybe the fabric wasn’t as dense as I would like, but I tried them on and they seemed to fit okay.  They were a little large, but I have slender wrists and small hands and they weren’t for me, so I knit on through the cuff and into the thumb gusset.  I was starting to get seriously dubious about the fabric, and wondering if the mittens would even be warm, but I kept on going, straight through the end of The Sound of Music, finishing the gusset and moving the thumb stitches to scrap yarn and knitting even a few more rows before I finally admitted it.  The mittens were big.  Really big.  Way too big for any reasonable hand to fit in to.

I mean, seriously, what is that?  Like, two inches of extra fabric there on the left of my hand?  Ridiculous.

I let the mitten sit for a day to think about how it had let me down, and then I fully admitted defeat.  In case you were curious, this is what five hours of wasted time looks like:

I’m going to knit a sweater soon, and this time I’m playing by the rules.  My swatch has been washed, and its pinned out and drying on the dining room table.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pia
    Dec 30, 2009 @ 21:35:11

    I just had the same issue knitting these mittens! I ended up actually knitting the whole mitten in a rib so they pulled in more.


  2. pdxknitterati
    Dec 31, 2009 @ 03:41:37


    I still don’t wash my swatches. I should…


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December 2009
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