Gauge does matter.....

I can hear you now...oh no! She's on about GAUGE again!

Yes, there has been quite a lot of discussion on the Mystery Afghan Threads on Ravelry about I have to get gauge...does it matter?

Weeks 1 and 2, my "off the needles" squares were wider than 8" and shorter than 8"....but with a wash and a block, they happily stretched up, and therefore make the required 8" square (or 40 cm).

Week 3 threw me for a loop!

Using my 4.5mm needles (as per Week 1 and 2) I cast on and finished a block in Apple!  It came out absolutely  square...and seemed to me to be somehow "large".

So, being the intrepid knitter that I am, I immediately worked another square in Buttercup with 4mm needles...some somehow it seemed to be "small"

Both came out totally square!

Shown here on my blocking mat which is marked in 1" increments -
the Apple block is 8" square right off of the needles!
the Buttercup square is 7" square!

So, I washed and blocked these squares to see what would happen!

The Apple square grew, as super wash yarns are known to do....
but with a bit of coaxing,
patting and tweaking....I pinned it out to my 8" square.

The Buttercup square blocked out comfortable toalmost 8" wide
....and it grew a little in height...
but to block it out to the required 8" square
 would have stretched it SEVERELY!

SEVERE blocking in this case was not the answer, so I stuck with my 4.5mm needles!

I have gone back and washed and reblocked ALL of my squares.

My original blocking routine:

Wash by hand in Soak, Dry on Low in the Dryer, Pin out to size and cover with a wet cloth, remove after 1 hours or so and let dry.

I find that these squares are reverting to their rectangle shape...and I want 8" squares!

NEW blocking routine:

Wash by hand in Soak, Pin out to size on the blocking boards and let air dry!  

This results in squares that STAY square!

So I can hear you long as the squares are the same size, it doesn't matter, does it?

No, not really for things like afghan squares.....

but if you think of your afghan square as a SWATCH....

Week 6 "Little Doughnuts" using a simple cable stitch....
What's this!  Morna!
from "The Pure Wool Worsted Collection"
by Martin Storey

That knit fabric looks familiar, doesn't it?

Yup, that's Week 6!
So, you could be swatching for a sweater!

I LOVE everything about this sweater - the knit fabric, the length, the big pockets and the turned back cuffs!  So I'd better get swatching, err knitting my Week 6 blocks!

Lackie said I was using too much valuable play time with this "blocking" stuff.  

I have to thank Julie (Sewknitful) on Ravelry for sharing how she used masking tape on her large mats to mark out 8" squares to make it quick and easy to block.  Although I love my little square, one block at a time mat....for my marathon reblocking quest, I wanted speed and quantity!  

Thanks Julie! 
(a fellow Canadian from British Columbia!)

#RowanYarns #RowanKAL +RowanYarns 


  1. This is really interesting Anne to see what a difference the two needles sizes make. You wouldn't believe it could be so much! Yes, guage does matter ;)

  2. Anne, I have been pinning my squares dry to the individual blocking squares, the green puzzle shaped ones that everyone has. Then I spray them with the hose to get them good and wet and let them air dry in the shade. They will, for the most part, stay square. I've continued to use size US 6 needles throughout and my squares block to 8.5 inches. You have inspired me to get cracking and knit some more so I can block some more! haha


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