In keeping with, seemingly, the majority of knitters, I usually don't bother with gauge swatches. All that knitting, and what do you end up with? A square. How exciting! But most of my reluctance to toil away at gauge swatches (have you read this Knitty article on gauge swatches? Now that is dedication!) has been based on the fact that, to this point, I've primarily been knitting items for which gauge is largely irrelevant--one of the best things about a scarf is that it can never be the wrong size! But all that is about to change.
I am embarking on my first "real" sweater, Brooklyn Tweed's Cobblestone, a Christmas gift for hubby. And I want it to be perfect (ha ha! fat chance!), so that means I actually have to care about gauge. Sigh. I already know I'm a tight knitter, so I vaguely considered just jumping straight to size 8 needles. But I really want to commit myself to doing this the "right" way, so I threw that idea out the window and knit a dreaded gauge swatch last night. As suspected, knitting the swatch on 7s produced a square about a half inch too narrow. So tonight I will try again with 8s and see what I come up with. If I can't get gauge exactly, I certainly want to err on the side of too large--I've never heard a guy complain that an article of clothing was too big (as evidenced by the hordes of teenage boys roaming the streets with the crotch of their jeans at their knees--very attractive gentleman!).
I'm knitting Cobblestone with Knit Picks, of course, Wool of the Andes in Pampas Heather. My first choice was Camel Heather, but when I went to order it, it was on backorder, so I opted for Pampas and now I'm a little concerned that it's "too" green--I want something with subtle color, or he'll never wear it (except on Christmas day, when I make him. Hah!). I do like the name though. One of these days I will make it to the pampas myself, I hope.
On Saturday I got my yarn store gift certificate from my sister, so of course I went to spend it right away! I got 2 skeins of gray bulky alpaca (Dad's scarf?), 1 skein of a purple-ish fingering weight alpaca (hopefully for my own Chapeau, one of these days), 2 skeins of white merino wool, and a skein of Cascade 220 in a mottled green/blue for a scarf for MIL. I'm really starting to amass quite a stash! I feel like a real knitter. :o) Now, I really need somewhere to keep it. My husband doesn't seem to appreciate my current storage method: leaving the yarn in cardboard boxes on the floor of our office . . .