Casting on

I cast on another project tonight.  I know, I know…I have other things I need to be doing.  Things with deadlines.  Like cleaning my apartment for Passover.  And cleaning my car for Passover.  (Well, and cleaning my car for my neat-freak foster daughter who doesn’t like that the car smells.  It’s not my fault that she put a half full milk box on the floor and let it spill.  Oh, wait, I’m the one who left the half full milk box in the car for four days.  Okay, it is my fault.)

This:

is the tail that remained after my long tail cast on of 106 stitches.  I could practically have cast on another 100 stitches!

I made the tail so long for three reasons:

1. I have no idea how long a tail to leave for a long tail cast on.

2. The yarn isn’t so fun to work with so the though of getting to stitch 95 and needing to rip the whole thing out because the tail wasn’t long enough was even more daunting than usual.

3. I tried to make a 21 stitch swatch to check my gauge and only managed to get 17 stitches out of my tail.  So I was particularly nervous.

A cautionary tale about the gauge swatch.

In my earlier projects my gauge swatches showed me to be a tight knitter.  More recently I have been able to use the needle size called for in the pattern, though I don’t know what has changed in my knitting.

I’m knitting along and my swatch is only three and a half inches wide (or a bit less).  But the stitches just feel to be the right size, and like if they were bigger, the fabric would be too loose.  So I’m a little panicky.  I’m thinking that maybe I’ll have to use the yarn for dishtowels for a housewarming present for some friends.  (A nice alternative, but the dishtowels I am imagining for them will be a deep purple, not the not-terribly-attractive-but-oh-well sage green that I have.)

I measure an inch and have 5 stitches per inch (the pattern calls for 21 stitches per 4 inches).

So how is it that the swatch is SO MUCH SMALLER than four inches?

Yes, see above.  I only cast on 17 stitches.

So folks, before you go panicking, recount your stitches.

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