Just when I think I’m getting pretty good at guessing what kind of gauge I’ll get with a certain combination I find myself confounded again. I’m trying to experiment with varying the pattern stitch for accomplishing size changes in a sock pattern I’m working on – my Hildegard pattern. So I grab a pair of circular needles in the same size as the sock I’m working on, pick up some yarn that I think is very similar in weight to what I’m using and try out the stitch pattern I had pegged for the medium size and work a while. The original sock is 78 stitches; this version is 84. So that should be about a 7% increase in size.
Well, maybe not. Half the original sock is just over 3 inches – the variant is 4 1/4 inches. I guess the difference in weight in the two roughly “fingering” weight yarns is more than I realized – I should have hunted harder for the original yarn, but I’m not sure I have any. But this stitch pattern definitely doesn’t shrink up as much as the original. So how much of the change is from which cause? Plus there’s the possibility that maybe the swatch is just too short to show the true effect. Clearly, I need to knit multiple swatches in the same yarn on the same needles with the different versions of the stitch so that I can get a decent estimate of the effect of each of the versions. Fortunately, I don’t dislike swatching, particularly of variants of patterns. I love discovering the effects of all the variables. This one just surprised me.
From this photo, it looks as though the change in the stitch could be the major factor – but I have got to change only one variable at a time! Well, once I finish sock 2, I should have enough yarn left for some experimenting with the variants in the original yarn. Inquiring minds want to know!