June 23, 2013

Why You Should List a Gauge For Your Pattern

I seem to have a knack for finding the patterns that don't give a gauge.  It annoys me.  I usually use the pattern anyway, but it still annoys me.

Granted, this tends to happen on free patterns, so you would think I shouldn't complain.  However, as someone who also has developed free patterns, I know how easy it is to get and list the gauge for most patterns.  Yardage missing?  Sure, that's pretty hard to guess at and you need a ounce scale to properly calculate it (and I know I don't own one of those).  Gauge?  No excuse.  None.  I behove anyone who's releasing a pattern to the world to give the gauge, and here's why (and why it shouldn't be an issue):

  1. It allows the user of your pattern to make sure they'll get the same product you did. People knit and crochet differently and have different tension.  That means while you got an adult sized hat using size 6 needles, someone who knits/crochets tighter than you could end up with a child sized hat following the same instructions.  If you don't give a gauge, there's no way for the user to check to make sure they're going to get that adult hat without following your pattern and ending up with disastrous results.

  2. It allows to user to adjust the pattern themselves.  Sure, if it's a free pattern, you could be lazy and only give one size.  That's ok; we understand.  But when you do that and don't give a gauge, the user will be left either wondering what to do to adjust for, say, using a different brand of yarn (which will affect gauge even if the same weight) or how to adjust for their particular size (after all, why go through all the work of making it if it's not going to fit right?).  A stubborn yarn crafter like me may reverse-engineer it, but that's asking a lot from your users just to make sure they get what the picture shows.

  3. It's not hard to calculate and list.  This is the crux of the above.  Sure, there are many useful details that can be in patterns, but some of them require special equipment or some major calculations.  I understand if you don't want to go through that.  But gauge is not one of them.  You did a swatch and/or created the item you wrote a pattern for, right?  You may have winged it and wrote the pattern later, but that means you have the finished item.  Get a ruler out and measure your gauge.  If you're simply writing the pattern, you either got the gauge from a swatch or you're using a set gauge to calculate out your pattern.  Show you work; list that gauge!  There is no excuse not to know that information.  List it on the damn pattern.
So, yeah, you get what you pay for.  But if you have any ounce of kindness towards those you wish to use your pattern (or don't want a flood of emails from the users), list the gauge.  You should know it, so let your users know it too.  Yes, I know that some items it doesn't matter so much (like, say, blankets), and it's not so bad seeing no gauge listed there.  Still, it'd be nice to let you users know because they may end up with a lap blanket when they were trying to create a full one.  Anything wearable?  List gauge; no excuse.  It's needed. Socks are one of those items.  Hats are too.  Some people have big/small heads or big or small feet than 'average'.  Even if the pattern is 'one size', list gauge.  Give your users the tools they need to make your pattern work for them. It'd make everyone happy in the end.

June 3, 2013

I Have No Excuse

Actually, I do have a few excuses.  They're just not very good, so I'll save the hee hawing about how I haven't done anything with this blog in more than a month and just catch up with the projects I finally managed to have time to sit down and start.

First off, though, do you remember these socks I made?

Yeah, I don't expect you to.  Anyway, they were my first pair that I knit up using a skein of
Fiber Optic Yarns Foot Notes that I randomly bought the first time I went to Rhinebeck. Just so you know, they made one tough pair of socks.  You see, they're the only wool socks I own at the moment.  Any of you in the northeast on Memorial Day weekend know that it was cold and rainy that weekend.  I went camping in it, well, until the wind broke most of our common tents on Sunday and we had to pack up and call it a trip.  However, the worst of the rain and cold was Saturday, and I wore those socks throughout most of that day (because who cares if they're not period when you're getting rained on all day).  They got wet, muddy, and absolutely trashed, to the point that they were so soaked I had to take them off because my feet were going numb from the wet and cold. 
Because they were so messed up when I got back to my parent's house, I decided to throw all caution to the wind and run them through the washer (well, that and my parents don't have a good place to handwash things.  And I already had asked them if I could wash my boots in the kitchen sink).  And taa da:

They look just as good as they did before the camping trip.  Granted, this was after I washed them again in my sink so I could block them properly (I noticed they bled somewhat when I did that, which never has happened before I machine washed them.  Luckily, I washed them alone in the sink, and with dark clothes in the machine).  But I have to say, not the softest or warmest yarn for socks, but pretty tough. Which is good.

So, now that I have more time, I've finally set down and started designing the tank I wanted to do.  Did I ever mention that before?  Anyway, I've wanted to do a purple and silver tank for awhile, though the design in my head has changed every now and then.  About a month or so ago, my knit group went on a field trip to WEBS, and I got a lot more yarn (<sarcasm>because I don't have enough of it at the moment</sarcasm>):

There, I managed to find a cotton yarn that wasn't Prima Cotton for once:

I then changed my whole idea of what I was doing and stopped there because I had other shit to do.  However, this weekend I managed to finally sit down and calculate out the measurements and stitch counts I needed to at least start the tank:

Hopefully it doesn't become a wreck.  If I'm really lucky, I'll be able to size it and have a new pattern!  Honestly, writing a shirt or sweater pattern has spooked me a bit, but that's another post.

Also, I started swatching for a baby sweater:

Because as luck would have it, right before I went to WEBS I found out another cousin of mine is having her second child.  So I bought yarn to do a baby sweater, which of course ended up being a sport weight yarn despite the fact that half the patterns I have are for worsted.  However, it turns out that my gauge isn't too far off for this sweater, and I just have to go a size up from the size I want to do to get that size.  It should also make a nice, lightweight cardigan (since most of my cousins live in warmer climates...boo...).

Finally, I'm still working on those other socks:

One and a half done, another half to go.  A good, easy, project with some yarn from Rhinebeck.  I tend to buy sock yarn at Rhinebeck, don't I?

Anyway, I should get back to actually getting some knitting done.  Or maybe other things done.  But knitting's better.