Knitting Mondays: What’s on our needles

A few of you blog readers have shown curiosity about what the Knitty staff is knitting, so we’re adding a feature to our Knitting Mondays called What’s on our needles. Literally what we’re knitting, or have finished knitting, dream about knitting or are struggling with knitting.

First up is Jillian, with a cautionary tale about gauge.

Thanks to a friend who is about to have her first granddaughter, I got to knit Joelle Hoverson’s Baby Bonnet from her newish book More Last Minute Knitted Gifts. It’s an adorable vintage-y knit , and a quick  3.5 stitches to the inch. I chose super soft Saphira, a superwash merino yarn from Southwest Trading Company. I swatched, got gauge, and knit the hat in just a few hours.

About halfway through I started to get that nagging feeling that I love to ignore. Something wasn’t right, the hat seemed really big for a newborn baby.

It was true. I had relaxed while knitting and my gauge loosened to 3 stitches to the inch. The hat was big. Before I show you just how big. I will say I knit another bonnet, with the right gauge, with needles two sizes smaller, in under two hours.

Let this photo be a warning, my knitting friends and neighbors, always check your gauge.

I call this photo Bad Baby:

No bad babies were forced to smoke cigars for this photo.

(542 Posts)

Jillian is the​ author of the best-selling spinning book Yarnitecture. She is the editor​ of Knittyspin and Developmental Editor for PLY and PLY Books. She kinda loves this spinning thing and wants everyone who spins to love it too, so she teaches and writes a lot. She knits, weaves, and stitches and tries to do as much of it as she can with handspun yarn. She's always cooking up all kinds of exciting and creative things combining fiber arts. She likes her mysteries British, her walks woodsy, and to spend as much time as she can laughing. Spy on her on her website

50 thoughts on “Knitting Mondays: What’s on our needles

  1. Seanna Lea

    Wow. I know that even a half stitch makes a huge difference, but knowing it is still different from seeing it! Hopefully your Bad Baby will be willing to wear such a smashing bonnet.

  2. Shelley

    So funny, but so true! I’m afraid I try to ignore that feeling, too, and have had similar results!

  3. Dani in NC

    My knitting daughters and I got a kick out of Bad Baby. It was especially funny to me because it hit home. I never have luck when knitting hats. I have gone so far as to knit a swatch that meets the gauge and then start the project with a needle one size smaller than I used for the swatch. I still end up with big floppy hats. The only saving grace is that my girls all have BIG hair so the big hats end up working on them.

  4. April

    LOL!! Love the Bad Baby photo…

    I had this same problem with a baby hat I knit to match a sweater for a shower gift…but I had run out of time and gifted the hat anyway. It fits my friends 2 year old, which works out, although baby will not have the opportunity to wear the matching sweater and hat, unless of course it’s born with a head much bigger than mommy would EVER want!

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  6. Carole

    Outstanding! I love it! I would totally wear that.

    For the first two years I was knitting, I thought, “Gauge? Meh. I don’t need to know no stinkin’ gauge.” I have a lot of odd-sized hats as a result. Good thing I know lots of people with all different sizes of heads. When I started learning socks–that’s when I learned just how important gauge is. Unfortunately, I know no one with wookie-feet for the first gigantic pair I knitted. They’re even too big for my son who has size 12 1/2 feet!

  7. Daffinie

    LOL – for me, the pic is below the fold – i read the blog entry, took a swallow of soda, and scrolled down to the pic. That pic needed a “spew” warning – I’ve just spewed soda all over my monitor!!! And, I am choking – thanks for the laugh!!!

  8. Vic

    Lol… I did the same thing knitting my first baby booties.. Did the first one and it was big enough for my husb, then fixed my guage and made the second perfectly.. I keep them as my reminder.

  9. Bonnie

    Bad Baby! hahahahahahahaha!

    I’ve been cold this winter so started a sampler shrug yesterday and will finish it tonight. Then I have a basket FULL of project on needles that I have vowed to whittle down month by month.

    But I found this fabulous yarn that I just HAD to buy…

  10. Julie G

    LOL Too funny! I have to admit that the baby bonnets I’ve knitted have been the same way. Yet, my guage on other projects have been fine. Wonder why.

    BTW… Bad Baby could TOTALLY be a mascot. 🙂

  11. Tami

    Thank you for the addition of new on the needles Monday post. [I had the exact same problem with the same pattern (look on Ravelry — you are not alone with the pattern….) I switched to a DK weight yarn and reduced the needle size and it’s still too big for a newborn (maybe for a 9 month – 2 year old)…. The end result is very cute — I’ve made it five or so times….]

  12. AlisoninOZ

    That post was soooo funny, and the picture just set it off beautifully. I have had a totally craptastic morning and it cheered me up no end.

    BTW Bad Baby is still kinda cute…

  13. Jamie

    I know this pain too well. I had to frog a couple of inches of the eunny jang v argyle vest because my gauge was so off in the round from flat . . . SIGH – it was in the instructions, I read it, I didn’t have the needles yet, I said “oh, it won’t be that big of a deal . . . ”


    Hilarious pic, tho

  14. Gail S

    Hahaha I did the same thing on the first pair of sox I knit, for my husband. I gave them to him for Valentine’s Day, didn’t mention that he could put 2 feet in one sock, and he never said a word about how huge they were (didn’t want to hurt my feelings.) He wears them around the house at night pretending they are perfect, hahaha..I guess he’s a good baby 🙂 hahahahaha

  15. Allie

    Just finished an ear-flap hat for my daughter that, thanks to bad gauge, looks like a floopy striped football helmet. For Bad Baby’s Older Brother, perhaps???? Thanks for a truly wonderful laugh over something we’ve all winced over in our knitting!

  16. Michelle Bingnear

    Oh, that’s funny! I hate to swatch – but I knit loose, so I gotta. I got that nagging feeling knitting socks on Saturday, and for the first time ever, I didn’t even question it. Just ripped it out and started over. Maybe I’m finally getting better??

  17. Kae

    The worst is when you’re working on a sweater and realize the first 7″ you knit is in one gauge and the second 7″ is in another.

    As for socks, I’ve only made footies, and when they’re too big I slightly felt them and then they fit.

  18. Leeann

    LOL! Love Bad Baby. When I knit bonnets and they come out too big, I just throw ’em in the washer a couple of times and say, “Look at this beautiful felted bonnet I made for your baby!”. Works every time.

  19. Gamermom

    I have not seen a mug like that since “Baby-faced Finster”, from Bugs Bunny’s foray into childcare! Remember?

  20. Brenna

    I feel you! Once I knitted a newborn hat–spent hours and hours cause I was just learning–and the hat was so big it didn’t fit a human of any size and ended up on a huge stuffed lion.

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