What’s in a gauge?
During the Cherry Tree Hill January Sale, there was lots of knit talk at Potluck Yarn and lots of it centered around gauge. Several knitters inquired whether some of our lace knitting yarns were actually lace weight. One of the questions came from one of our own test knitters, Mary Stewart who knit both the Frost Flowers scarf and La Waytacha shawl samples for Lavish Lace.
She asked about the new hand dyed 8/2 mill ends that recently arrived from a dye house in California. Although the yarn is described as fingering weight due to the yardage, the designation of 8/2 would indicate lace weight yarn. However, no matter what the gauge happens to be this yarn can be used for lace knitting which is characterized by openwork and sometimes literally defies gauge.
Another question came from Beverly Reeves, an accomplished lace knitter, who asks if the new Glitter Alpaca yarn is really fingering weight as the ample yardage of 980 yards per 4 ounces would indicate something much finer. Strangely enough, it was Mary Stewart who knit our sample with this new yarn and the loft does provide a designation of fingering weight, yet this yarn is also used in lace knitting.
Sometime gauge cannot be defined by yardage or weight–fiber content and pattern stitches also play a role in the yarn’s designation.