Monday, May 15, 2006
An Answer from the Guru
On my KnittingGuru website I have a feature called Ask the Guru. I answer knitting questions by email and then gather them together in groups and publish an article that answers several questions together. This is in the section of the site called Knitting Tip of the Week.
Of course, to avoid frustrated readers, I always send an email to the questioner giving at least a get-started answer. Recently I decided to use this blog to answer knitters' questions rather than send isolated emails. I let the questioner know to come here for their answer. This allows other knitters to also read the answers.
Here's the first installment:
"The bamboo needles that I have purchased through the years are not the same gauge as my bone, plastic, metal needles. Why is that? They are smaller. They throw me way off ..."
You are absolutely right, Marcia. In fact, in my experience, the difference in needle size is not just limited to bamboo versus bone, plastic, wood, or metal.
When you use a knitting needle size gauge, you will often find that some needles fit through the hole snugly, while other needles of the same size fit through more loosely.
The most important thing is to knit a swatch. If you read KnittingGuru, you know that I have several articles on Swatch Knitting and that I also sell Knitting Swatch Cards. I cannot emphasize enough how important swatches are in order to knit properly fitting garments.
Marcia, if your bamboo needles are thinner and do not knit true to the gauge you want, just size up to a larger bamboo needle. That should work out. Another thought is: perhaps you knit more tightly or loosely when using bamboo needles. Different knitting needle materials will cause you to hold your yarn and needles differently and that will result in a different gauge. For example, if you use Addi Turbos, you will naturally knit more quickly and that will result in a different gauge for sure than if you used wood needles which cause you to slow down.
Try out this experiment: Knit a swatch with the same yarn on slick metal needles and another on wood needles in the same size. Let the knitting rest. Now measure it. How much difference, if any, do you notice. Write back and let me know!