OK, how many of you have ever done this?

I was doing a gauge swatch last night and the instructions specified stockinette stitch. I had already purled half a row where it should have been knit, so there was this weird rib where it should not have been. Watching TV then, I purled an entire row that should have been knit. I guess I just get into things and forget where I am.

So I pulled out that row and tried to reinsert my needle, but I dropped a stitch about halfway across, and got frustrated and frogged it all back to the beginning and started over. If it had been further along a major project, I probably would have messed with reinserting the needle and picking up the dropped stitch and stuff, but it seemed like less work to just start over at that point.

Now seriously, it was a gauge swatch. A row of bumps would make no difference at all in measuring how many stitches or how many rows. It's just that that half row rib had bothered me every time I came to it, and I knew I wouldn't be able to stand another whole row in addition. Am I just too obsessive or what?

Tallguy's picture

I have done that too, of pulling out the needle (for a variety of reasons) and then trying to insert it back into the stitches. I never bother about the mounting (the direction the stitch faces) and if I do drop a stitch, I just pick up the stitch wherever I can find it, be it two rows below.

When I then work that row, I will fix the mounting of the stitch as I come to it. With the dropped stitch, I will then latch it back up when I get to it. It's not as difficult as it seems. That way, I don't have to rip it all out (I have a great aversion to doing that!) which saves me some time, and with not worrying about the mounting or if I get the stitch on the right row, I save myself a lot of frustration. It all seems to work out just fine in the end, without having another grey hair to show for it! It's all good.

As for that errant rib... why sweat it? It's just a swatch after all, and it doesn't matter that much in the greater scheme of things. It's good to introduce disharmony in your life now and then, just to keep you on your toes! Gotta flow with the punches, as they say. LOL

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

My first problem would be convincing myself to do a gauge swatch. However, I don't blame you for ripping back and restarting since it was the easier way to solve the issues you were having. As long as you are happy with it, I say , "Go for it...It's your knitting."

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Bill's picture

It's YOUR knitting, Michael!
...you may do whatever your little heart desires!
(...and we're proud of you for doing a gauge swatch! )

scottly's picture

I can be way OCD sometimes as well. Some days I can say it's just a swatch and let it go, other days I feel absolutely compelled to fix it. I knitted two extra inches on a head band last night so I just pulled the needle out frogged the excess and reinserted the needle. I pretty much do what TG does and fix what I need to as I go after that or sometimes I tink back a row just to make sure all the loops are twisted in the correct direction and nothing has been dropped. That's a particularly helpful method with lace.

CLABBERS's picture

I have done something similar to you. I've even gotten so absent minded while watching TV that I picked up the swatch and began knitting in the wrong way...a common mistake for newbies and dyslexics. I did that to a hat I was knitting in the round as well...while watching TV...and realized it a few rows later. I got to the end of the round, reversed direction again, knitted a few rows, then repeated the mistake for a few rows, and then back to correctly knitting. It actually made for a pretty fun little tactile design. Hey, if Madame Curie and Alexander Fleming can mistakenly discover radium and penicillin respectively, we can certainly make something fun out of knits and purls that have taken on a life of their own. Even though I really dislike ripping anything out, it does tickle the little boy in me who liked to unravel things when I was about 4 or 5. I hope that whatever you were making the swatch for has turned into a nice project for you.

You are to be commended for actually knitting a swatch!

michaelpthompson's picture

Thanks for all the support guys. A gauge swatch is important on this project because I'm not using the same yarn as specified in the pattern. Often I'm of the "hat as swatch" school, or I make a scarf and follow Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's admonition, "Gauge, what gauge? It's a scarf."

Brings up a question though. Which affects gauge more, the needles or the yarn? I'm using the specified needle size, but not the yarn.

"All knitting is just one stitch at a time."

scottly's picture

I think the most significant differential is the tension of individual knitters. Once I first started knitting in continental I had to use needles to sizes smaller the suggest in order to get the suggested guage. I've tightened up my tension a bit but I still use a needle as least on size smaller then suggested. I hate doing swatches and only do them for things that have to "fit". But when I do them I knit a nice big swatch, at least 8" wide, then wash and block it.

I had been working on the lace vest for my sister when I pulled the needle out. From that point on, my eyes were just attracted to that spot where I had to fix the knitting. In my mind, it was a huge and glaring mistake. Everyone who saw said I was just overreacting.
I agree with Scottly, when I started using continental, I noticed my knitting is tighter. But I always struggled with even gauge when i was throwing yarn. Atleast i have even gauge now. And also like Scottly, I find that I have to use needles 2 sizes (though) larger when I follow the pattern's yarn suggested weight.
As for swatches, I swatch all the time. I can't just knit and have my work fit. The only time I don't swatch is when I'm using a favorite yarn with a favorite needle size. but I do cheat though, I do about 2 inches and call it good.