Gauging Your Boredom

It's time to admit that I'm an incredibly inefficient knitter. It's a wonder, actually, that I've really even claimed progress on my Norwegian Stockings, given the number of times I've ripped back, switched needles, experimented and the like. You are too nice to say it, but you are sick and tired of reading about these stockings. You are.

But, it's time now for me to torture you some more. Since this is my "learning fair isle" project, it's just moving really slowly. You see, after several try-ons, I decided that (a) the stocking you saw in the last post on this was really too loose to prevent slumping later on and (b) part of the problem was that the floats were actually too loose, which also contributed to increasing funkiness in the evenness of the stitches. Plus looking back at Eunny's stockings, I couldn't help but notice how much more uniform her stitches were in comparison to mine. Unlike Eunny, it will take me about 5 years to attain such uniformity, but one can aspire, right? So I wanted to try my hand at doing the fair isle right-side-out, rather than the inside out I was using, with what I consider a relatively normal, even a little bit tight tension... just to see how it turned out. I ripped back the first stocking I'd started (on the DPNs) to the bottom of the first motif, and proceeded with normal / tighter tension on size 1s using magic loop.

Here we have a comparison between the first stocking (R), done with relatively loose tension, inside out, on size 1s, and the second (L), done right side out, with tighter / normal tension, also on size 1s:

norwegian stockings gauge experiment

There's a substantial difference in circumference - 2 inches! The stocking on the right measures 11" and the one on the left measures 9". The widest part of my calf is just over 12.5", so I think the ideal circumference for me is going to be about 10". The 9" stocking fits, but it's somewhat snug and the pattern is stretched a bit more than I'd like.

The result suggests that right-side-out and normal / tighter tension is okay for me. I was overcompensating for float-paranoia on the first stocking, but the stitch pattern actually looks better and more regular with tighter tension. The next comparison goes out to all you gauge junkies out there:

Stocking A
norwegian stockings gauge 1
7.5 st = 1"

Stocking B
norwegian stockings gauge 2
10 st = 1"

Big difference, huh? According to my calculations, going back up to a US 2 needle, with magic loop, right side out, and similar tension to stocking B above should yield a stocking that's just the right size. Just call me the Goldilocks of Norwegian Stockings.

I've come to accept that these stockings are an experimental project, and are destined to be ripped back, redone, fiddled with, and possibly burned at the stake in time. But the romance never seems to go out with this pattern - progress is relatively fast and still fun. They're the perfect project for this kind of back and forth. (And goodness knows, after the Colchique and USMP debacles, it feels good to just focus on getting it right). Still, in keeping with our Goldilocks analogy, I won't bore you with Norwegian Stocking updates again until I've tasted the porridge, slept in the beds, and been discovered by a family of angry bears. Promise.

Posted by jess at November 30, 2005 9:45 PM

It is fascinating really. And the socks are so *darn* cute. (darn, socks, sleepy) I can see why you're having fun with this project; looks like you're learning a lot!

Posted by: Julia at November 30, 2005 11:52 PM

Before you start with the 2s, do you think the yarn will bloom after you wash and block them?

Posted by: Angela at December 1, 2005 12:02 AM

Who cares what you say about these stockings, I think they are looking great and you are an amazing knitter. I haven't visited your blog in a long time and before I read this post I scanned over your pictures and was thinking "she's so good!".

I started knitting in the spring and have yet to complete a piece. I don't think I'll ever be past knitting scarves or ponchos!

Posted by: claudia at December 1, 2005 1:22 AM

Slept in the beds. Discovered by angry bears. hehe You say such clever funny things. Must be 'cause you're a college student - sharp mind. It goes away later. You're at your prime mental sharpness right now baby! heh

I've been enjoying watching your learning process, reading every thought and trial and error and seeing all the photos. You're not boring ME with this stuff! Keep on with it! I wanna see these when the bear family discovers you! :)

Posted by: Laura at December 1, 2005 3:23 AM

You're not boring me at all with the Norweigan stocking talk. Its interesting to hear about your trials and errors with them. The 10sts/1" version looks great - all the stitches are even. Its great you're doing these experiments, the final product will be stellar. (and do tell more!)

Posted by: Diana at December 1, 2005 8:35 AM

You may think you're boring us, but I've been riveted to your stockings adventure. I'm about to attempt an Icelandic pattern for the first time, and I've learned a lot from your posts. Thanks so much for taking the time to share!

Posted by: kim at December 1, 2005 8:54 AM

I agree, this isn't boring at all. The stockings are really, really cute. And if people saw them right now they wouldn't notice the circumference difference they would be too impressed because those stockings are damn pretty. You keep inspiring me to try fair isle. thanks!

Posted by: Cathy at December 1, 2005 8:59 AM

Totally not bored! I think of you as the canary down the minshaft for those of us who haven't yet gotten around to trying fair asile. Lucky for us (and you!), you keep coming up alive and kicking! ;-)

Posted by: Sneaksleep at December 1, 2005 9:13 AM

As the other readers, I am not bored by the stockings! Quite the contrary.
I'm also on my first fair isle project, but I took the easy route and am knitting mittens. Much smaller than stockings, and if they turn out big, they will be gifted to a large-handed friend; if small, to a small-handed friend. A win-win situation!

Posted by: Veronique at December 1, 2005 11:16 AM

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