Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Less Stress

The first time I remember hearing someone tell me that I needed to decrease the stress in my life was my therapist when I was 10. When I was in high school, my dentist put caps on my teeth because I was grinding them in my sleep (again, stress). After nearly every finals week that I can remember, I would come down with some nasty bug or another, due to stress supressing my immune system. When my doctor took my blood pressure during the term that I was working on my dissertation, she would just shake her head as she wrote it down. I quit worrying about decreasing stress, it just was part of me.

A nice, predictable consequence of this was gauge. Yes, gauge. I am a tight, tight knitter. I could take whatever needle size recommended by a pattern, go up one and be fairly sure to get gauge. Sometimes I'd have to go up two. It's part of my plan whenever I start planning the modifications I'm going to do for a pattern. This week I cast on two sweaters, worked several inches and have had a realization...

But, first, a digression. Casting on two sweaters in a week sounds a little indulgent, but it's an easy rationalization. I finished two sweaters! Well, one is totally finished, blogged, ravelrized and sent off to my mom who is loving it. The second is a Ski Jacket (lovely pattern by Veronik Avery) with every knit stitch finished. Ends, blocking and a fastener remain, but I can't bring myself to touch the several pounds of snuggly sweater while it's almost 90F out. So, I have cast on two more to take there place.

Digression over! Time for the realization... Graduation has decreased stress in my life. Even though my kids drive me insane sometimes, they're a million times better for me than school. Or, if not entirely decreased stress, my gauge knitting has totally changed. I cast both of these on with a size larger needles and, you know what? They're too big. Way too big. I went down to the right needle size and, lo and behold, sizing is right on.

Now, a sample size of two doesn't really tell you much. So, I dug out my in-progress Muir (which is sitting in time out for being boring) and took a good measure. I didn't do a gauge swatch or anything (since it's a stole), so I never really measured it, but I did go up a needle size. It's a significant size bigger than the pattern states.

More on the two new sweaters later. I'm not stressing about getting their pictures taken :)

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