A Lesson in Gauge (again!)

Sunshine socks from Sock Innovation by Cookie A
Kathleen's Sunshine sock
Seaweed Cardigan stitch detail

There's a stitch pattern that I've knitted several times. It's a wavy, lace and cable pattern that doesn't have a name that I know of, so let's just call it "wavy lace," okay?

The Seaweed Cardigan by Cecily Glowick MacDonald uses this pattern, and it was one of the Knitting Daily Knit-Alongs last year, and I knit a scarf using the wavy lace pattern, too. I really love how it looks, so I thought I'd do Cookie A.'s Sunshine sock pattern from Sock Innovation, which uses a very similar wavy lace pattern.

When I wear my Seaweed Cardigan it's really loose and stretchy, so I didn't think twice about knitting Sunshine with my preferred needles Addi Turbo size 2.5 mm 32-inch circulars and some really neat yarn, Berroco Sox Metallic. I did my gauge swatch and got gauge in stockinette stitch, which was 40 sts = 4 inches. Good to go, right?

Wrong, but I didn't know it until I was almost done with the sock. My gauge was WAY TOO TIGHT on the lace part of the sock. There's a gauge measurement for the lace pattern, but I skipped that swatch. Big mistake, because I can't get the sock over my instep.

Even after rather severe wet blocking, the sock is way too small. So, these beauties will be for my Gramma, who has size 5 feet.

The big question here is, When will I learn? If I had done my lace pattern gauge swatch, which would probably have taken about an hour max, I would have realized that I needed to go up a needle size for the leg portion of the sock. I probably could have gone all the way up to a size 3mm for the leg section, which would have made it nice and stretchy.

This makes sense to me now, although I was pretty shocked when I first tried to try on the socks, because the cable lace pattern is much tighter than stockinette stitch—ten more stitches, in fact, the 4-inch gauge for stockinette is 30 stitches and the 4-inch gauge for the wavy lace pattern is 40 stitches. Hence the smaller leg.

It could also have something to do with the yarn. It has a metallic content that might make it less stretchy than other yarns. I've used it before on a pair of fingerless mitts, though, and I had to go down a needle size, so go figure. I'll just have to make sure I get both gauges when I try this one again. I may still decide to go up a needle size on the leg, but at least I'll be starting off with the right needle size!

If you'd like to knit something in the wavy lace pattern, try the Seaweed Cardigan or the Sunshine socks from Sock Innovation. Both products are on sale now!


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