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HomekeepingGran

Musings On Gauge

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Isn't it odd how hard it can be to get gauge sometimes? I bought several wonderful Magic Crochet magazines and am loving the wonderful designs (and the charts!). Glendola Hodges often has projects I think are just gorgeous but oddly, I can tell even looking at them that she crochets much looser than I do. So then I think, "No problem, I'll just use a bigger hook." — Well, certainly gauge doesn't have to be dead on to complete a project successfully but I happen to be one of those who wants flat doilies to be flat, not gently ruffled. Sometimes it is so hard to come close to gauge I become discouraged before I begin. The Yarn Harlot (I think it was she) commented about knitting gauge that those directions at the beginning of the pattern are the needles and yarns that designer used to get that particular end product. If you buy the identical yarn called for you can't guarantee that the way you hold the needles/hooks and the way you move your hands remotely approximates the designer. In knitting I go down, down, down on needle sizes because I knit loosely. In crochet it is absolutely all over the board. I used to think I was pretty close to crochet gauge targets, and with yarn I usually am. But with thread, all bets are off. Those nice Glendola Hodges patterns are so loose that I will go waaaaayy up on hook sizes. But just last night I started a piece by a different designer and I am absolutely on target with her recommended gauge. Looking at the picture of her finished piece I can see that she doesn't work so loosely as Ms. Hodges does.

 

Lest you think I am just being picky this past summer I started a doily which had no gauge specified. It was supposed to be a flat doily and I crocheted many rounds of it (hello, silly-head!) before giving up and admitting it was not only going to be far, far smaller than the given size, but it also would never, ever lie even a little bit flat. My husband tried to talk me into going on with it but I didn't want a ruffled doily, I wanted a flat one. Sometimes it's just not close enough.

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It has been my experience that sometimes a design will tend to ruffle until later rnds are done and pulls it all together were it lays flat.

Some designs do require blocking to make them lay correctly.

It is especially true in doilies where we are using so many various stitchs within a piece to get the look we want. I know I try to work my designs where they lay flat without blocking but some designs it next to impossible and still achieve the desired look.

Edited by Katchkan

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Yes, Kathy, designs do sometimes ruffle early on then smooth out flat later. The one I frogged this summer would have ended up at less than half the projected size and was so seriously ruffled there was no hope for it. Actually I tried again with a much, much larger hook and still decided it was going to ruffle. Some designers just have such a loose hand that I, at least, find it hard to match the look they achieved. Others I have no problem with. If I am fairly close to gauge I call it good and go ahead, usually, as long as there is not a pressing need to end at exactly the size the designer gave. It is when I can see things are not going to end up even a little like the lace I thought I was making that I give up and frog.

 

When I finished my Between Meal Centerpiece it didn't lie perfectly flat until blocked. Some are just like that.

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I usually don't worry too much about doily gauge (actually so many very pretty patterns are larger than I'd like, so I'd be happy if they worked up smaller), but I agree about ruffling.

 

I had one pattern that I really wanted to make and it ruffled worse and worse, I kept hoping it would straighten out but by the time I was 3 rows from the end I finally gave up, ripped it out, and remade it in TRIPLES instead of doubles--it not only didn't ruffle at all but came out the finished size the pattern stated. So, it may not only be the hook size and tension of the designer, but maybe the height of her stitches [versus yours]that makes the difference.

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Homekeeping Gran, I know exactly what you are talking about. I crocheted the pineapple doily titled Pineapple Blossom on the front of Leisure Arts little books and I never thought it would lay flat. I persued through 25 rounds and although it took quite a bit of pressing, stretching and ironing, it eventually did lay flat. However, anyone as an experienced crocheter, would be able to tell that it was a task to accomplish. It is one that I will NOT be making again even though it is a gorgeous piece. It now resides with a friend!

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Homekeeping Gran, I know exactly what you are talking about. I crocheted the pineapple doily titled Pineapple Blossom on the front of Leisure Arts little books and I never thought it would lay flat. I persued through 25 rounds and although it took quite a bit of pressing, stretching and ironing, it eventually did lay flat. However, anyone as an experienced crocheter, would be able to tell that it was a task to accomplish. It is one that I will NOT be making again even though it is a gorgeous piece. It now resides with a friend!
I hope she never needs to wash it! She may not understand what you went through to get it flat!

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