Friday, April 22, 2011

Stitch Rebellion

Sometimes, you have to wonder what people are thinking when they choose needles for yarn patterns. This seems totally opposite to an earlier post in praise of designers, but hear me out on this.

I finished knitting a wrap the other night. I washed and blocked it yesterday and took it off the board this afternoon. It feels good to get it done, though I'm thinking it might be the last project I make with thicker yarns until the fall.

It's based on a free pattern by Brenda A. Lewis called Cable Knit Throw, and it's available through the Coats & Clark website. I was totally smitten by the stitch pattern, but I knew I didn't want to make a blanket of any type, so I modified it to be a wrap instead.

When I started studying the pattern, I was stopped in my tracks by the recommended needle size: size 10 (6mm) needles with worsted weight yarn. Whaaaa? Really?

I'm of the school that believes that all yarn has a gauge that works best for it, for large projects anyway. Knit loose stitches with thin yarn, and you'll get a fishing net. Knit tight stitches in super-thick yarn, and you'll have a sweater that will stand up on its own. My gut told me that I tried to make this project with size 10 needles with the Cascade 220 Heathers I planned for it, I'd end up with big, big regrets.

So, I dove into Ravelry and looked through the projects made from this pattern. All used the recommended needle size except one who decided to make it with smaller needles. That was enough to validate my rebellion: Get out my size 6 needles!

Size 6 (or 4.0mm) is my favourite needle size. Seriously. That probably sounds weird to any non-knitters out there, but there's something so perfect about those svelte 4.0mm pointy sticks. They are my go-to size for projects of most yarn weights between lace and worsted. It seems to be the needle size that is the great equalizer. A 4.0mm hole is a good hole.

I just try not to say that kind of thing out loud in public.

Anyway, it's finished, and I love it. It's pretty long, but it's not quite long enough to wrap around my ever-so-wide shoulders in an entirely flattering way. It's still long enough to drape across my back and fall down my sides, stole-style.

I don't have any pictures of me wearing it, mostly because today is the first day of a four-day weekend for me, and frankly, I'm just too sloppy and lazy to make the effort to make myself presentable. I do plan to bring it along with me for a quick trip into the mountains tomorrow, where we will stay until Monday. I plan to enjoy the views, watch for birds, go for some walks and visit a yarn store. I'm hoping I'll meet some other knitters who are of the same stitch-rebellious nature as me.

Watch out, mountains... my pointy sticks and I are on our way!


  1. I had to read "A 4 mm hole is a good hole" to my husband. He laughed to but even married to a knitter he did not really get it.
    That is a beautiful shawl, I really love how the color brings out the stitch pattern. You get another knitting A!

  2. Woohoo! Knitting A!

    Yeah, that's a funny sentence... I giggle to myself when I read it. At least your husband got a kick out of it, even if he didn't quite understand. I'm glad you do, though!