Thursday, March 01, 2007

Crochet Academy

Last night I participated in part one of a three-part online seminar offered by Josi Hannon Madera at her Crochet Academy. This Academy, along with Josi's incredibly innovative designs with her custom pattern generator, is part of her newly launched website, the Art of Crochet. The series is entitled Yarn: Gauge, Drape & Substitutions, and as you can guess, last night we covered gauge.

Our homework was to crochet 3 swatches of a DK weight yarn using 3 different hook sizes - 4.0mm, 5.0mm and 6.0mm. I used Sirdar Salsa DK, left over from my Floral Fantasy Sweater. The yarn label recommends a 4.0mm hook or knitting needle. The knitting gauge listed is 22 st x 28 rows for a 10cm (4") square swatch. So, here are my swatches. Although I ran out of yarn halfway through my 4.0mm swatch, I can extrapolate the results (not the best idea when swatching for real, but it will work for this exercise). Also, while confessing my shortcuts, I should add that I had to photo my swatches side-by-side instead of stacked in a pile because when stacked there was no edge definition with this pink fuzzy yarn.

Our intial assignment was to measure the size of 20st x 20rows inside our swatch. Then we were asked to count how many stitches and rows were contained within a 4" x 4" area. Here's my results.

20 st x 20 rows4" x 4"
HookW x HHookS x R
6.0mm6.50" x 4.75"6.0mm12 x 17
5.0mm6.00" x 4.50"5.0mm13 x 18
4.0mm5.25" x 4.25"4.0mm15 x 19

It was interesting to see the different swatch sizes result. Josi did another variation of this assignment. She made 4 swatches using a 4 mm hook with 4 different yarns DK yarns - 2 Debbie Bliss yarns, 2 KnitPicks yarns. All listed a knitting gauge of 22st/4in. Even within manufacturers the resulting swatches were different!

This class was reaffirming for me. It's no secret that I personally love the math of crochet. I make mostly garments for me & my kids (ok dh gets a few) and I almost ALWAYS swatch, measure and swatch again with mulitiple hooks and multiple yarns. The timing of this class is cool for me too, after my gauge problem with dh's sweater (and yes, for the first time in history I didn't swatch... grrrrr!), and as I've been proofreading and testing patterns for some designers lately and realizing the importance of checking the math of their gauge and final garment measurements.

On a related sidenote, I watched an Uncommon Threads episode on DVR the other day where Lily Chin recommended measuring a "hanging" gauge for garment swatches. Something to think about... I'm looking forward to the the next two classes to learn more about drape.

1 comment:

sammimag said...

Count me in as a crochet math geek too. I wish more books shared this aspect of crochet. It seems to me there are so many crochet tips out there that need to be uncovered and shared. I wish I'd signed up for that class now, sounds good. I hope she does it again.