I have a place I discover size ahem issues with carry around projects. The chair at Oriental Tea House, 604 MacArthur Blvd, San Leandro CA where I sit waiting for my dim sum to take out, seems to inspire disillusion.
Many months ago, the last time I worked on the Estonian mittens for my brother, I decided to check gauge because they were maybe a little large. I haven’t knit any adult mittens, living in the SF Bay Area as I do, so I wasn’t sure if they were too big or not. And my brother’s hands are in Colorado. I pulled out my TB skin test measure. (Some public health nurses carry 60 centimeter measuring tapes for baby lengths and heads. Some public health nurses carry 60 millimeter measures for skin test results.) Luckily, I only need 50 mm to do a quick gauge check. Unluckily, my gauge was definitely off, even working on 1.75mm/00 needles, and the mitten was definitely bigger than the pattern mitten. My brother does not have huge, giant hands. I sat in despair and resignation. Then my dim sum was ready, so I took it back to the office and ate lunch. And I have yet to continue the gauge swatch mitten. (It grew nicely back in June. See here, and here, and it’s even longer now! But it’s a big gauge swatch, not a mitten.)
Yesterday, as I sat waiting for my dim sum (I really don’t go all that often), I decided to count the stitches on the Kid’s rainbow hat. It just seemed a little large. I had 114 stitches, instead of 104. I checked the gauge later, with my handy dandy TB skin test measure, and it’s just under 10 stitches per 50 mm (= 5 centimeters = 2 inches). So I had cast on for two inches extra, and my gauge is off by about 1/2 stitch. Teach me to cast on a project after a very full day of knitting retreat, to ease the mother guilts. I took it off the needles this morning, and, yup, it’s loose on my head.
If you ever find yourself avoiding that not-quite-right size feeling, and determinedly thinking about something else as you knit on, I suggest you sit in this chair waiting for dim sum and face up to the real size. Disillusion hurts, but better now than after you cast off.