Gauge is still a thing

I bet, if I told you that I was going to knit a tiny snowflake, that you’d think that was no big deal. You’d think that, wouldn’t you? I mean, I can knit, and I’m getting pretty good at the tiny things. The main barrier to knitting a snowflake would be (you would think) that it might be a little fiddly… and you would be right. It would take a little time, you might suppose, to muck about with wee needles and wee yarn and what proved to be a teeny little chart, and all those things are true, and I saw them coming, and so on the weekend, when I was alone, and I’d already knit a few tiny things and was working up a good head of steam, wait… here’s the tiny things I knit to get warmed up.


That’s a tiny sock, and a tiny mitten (I faked it, using these and the sock charts)  and a tiny bluebird.  (The bird still needs eyes. Overlook it for the moment, will you?) I tossed a quarter in there for scale.  So I was feeling pretty good, and I found patterns for snowflakes – and I got to it. I got my tiny needles (2mm) and some white laceweight and with very little fanfare, I knit a snowflake, and blocked it. Now, while I was knitting it, I thought it wasn’t all that tiny. In fact, it seemed sort of big, but by the time I was blocking I’d committed to the thing (and I guess there was a part of me that thought something might change, though blocking lace never makes it smaller.) When I was done it was perfect….


and too big. A lot too big.  “Gauge, you bastard” I thought to myself, and looked around for what I could do to make it smaller. Smaller needles, naturally – and I went into my needle bin and came out with a set of 0000 DPNs (1.25mm) that I’ve been saving for a day I was feeling particularly lunatic.  An hour later, I’d thought of wonderful new ways to combine filthy words, had wept some, had loudly and bitterly complained to the cat about the difficulty of a central double decrease on needles that size, and had a much smaller snowflake, but I had a feeling it still wasn’t tiny enough.

As I walked to the kitchen to block it, I made a decision. I decided that this had gone far enough. I can get a little weird about the knitting, sure, but there’s a line and I was perilously close to it.  If it was small enough to fit in the pocket of the advent calendar I was stopping, I told myself.  I had a little chat with myself about perfectionism and how the pursuit of same isn’t always totally healthy, and as I took out the pins I congratulated myself on letting go. It isn’t totally characteristic of my nature. I may have even thought something about how glad I was that the snowflake interval was over… and then I started to block it.

The first few pins went fine, and then as I stretched one of the points out,


I found a dropped stitch in the worst possible way – as it sprung loose, and ran.  Now, you would have thought that I had invented all the way to put swearwords together while I knit that, but you would be wrong. Very wrong. I thought about getting a tiny crochet hook and trying to fix it, and then I got the bourbon out of the cupboard.  At the last possible moment I remembered that attempting to fix knitting problems with hard liquor doesn’t work.  (It’s not a moral problem, just one related to accuracy.)

I went back into the living room, swore one last time, admitted that I probably didn’t get gauge that time either, and since I was already using the smallest needles I had… I got smaller yarn.  This time, success was mine.  I won’t pretend that there wasn’t bourbon after though.


Gauge. It’s a thing. Same pattern, the first on  2mm needles, the second on 1.25mm, with cobweb instead of  laceweight.


The pattern is here, if you’d like to fall down your own little rabbit hole of neurosis. (Buy bourbon.)  After that, catching up was easy.

A flower – the recipient loves flowers. (This one is from Knitted Embellishments)


A little Christmas tree, complete with beads for ornaments. (Cast on 28 stitches, work garter in the round, decreasing  two stitches at each side every sixth row for the tree, then cast on 8 stitches for the trunk, and work garter for six rows. Cast off, sew up in the important places, and sew on beads. Voila.)


A little Christmas light


and finally, a wee bell. (Because someone will ask, yes, it’s hanging off the spindle of my walking wheel.)


For the bell, by the way, you may ask yourself “Can I buy a little bell to go in this at the dollar store?” The answer is:


No.  You can only buy a hundred.  I’m set for life.

Two more tiny things to go.