Blocking and needle sizing redux.


Here is Mary’s wedding shawl, blocked basically following the same method as in Eunny Jang‘s tutorial, only I used the measurements on my contact-paper-covered cardboard quilting folded thingy. Pattern – Flower Basket Shawl by Evelyn Clark from the Fall 04 Interweave Knits.

And the bad over-the-shoulder shot.

The blocking stretched it out to what seems like twice its unblocked size. But when I pulled the pins out, there was still some shrinkage. The consistency of the shawl has completely changed, though – there is drape where before there was snuggly elastic pull. The latter is nice but you can’t see the lace design… (Can you see that there is nearly 1 1/2 inches between the unpinned point and the hole where the pin was? I pinned the shawl to 25 in. in length and it is now 23 1/2 in.)

OK, on to needle sizes.

So, Andrea posted this for me, which is a comparison of her needle sizers. And I took this photo, which says that my #3 needles ought to be 3.25mm, but had different mm measurements for #4:

And Ann commiserated but confused me more by telling me that she has two different mm gauges for size #2…

It seems that some real answers were beginning to be revealed with Kanuck‘s link to a table of “observed diameters” for various US sizes, which was very enlightening.

The Craft Yarn Council of America has designated industry standard mm measurements for knitting needles, but this doesn’t solve the problem of European sizing (Addi Turbo, anyone?) or European designations in patterns (*cough*DaleofNorway*cough*).

ps. The shawl is the second FO of 2007. This pair of socks is the first. I promise that they are for someone with two feet that are the same size, even though they look a bit wonky in this photo.


11 thoughts on “Blocking and needle sizing redux.

  1. The shawl looks beautiful! A friend of mine is working on that pattern — I need to send her over here to take a gander at yours.

  2. It’s beautiful! I’m almost to the final section of the shawl, where it’s been languishing in my stash for several months now. You’ve inspired to finish and keep going:)

  3. Yep, I have two needle gauges for a reason. And I cast on some socks the other night after spending at least 20 minutes searching for some 2.5MM DPNs, indicated in the pattern but nowhere in my needle box. (I plan to find some–I think they should be called 1.5 US–but went ahead with 1s.)

  4. Your shawl is gorgeous!

    That needle gauge info is terrifying.

    Let’s not speak of Dale of Norway right now. I’m having my own problems with them and their “charts”.

  5. Thank you for all the compliments! I love this shawl – I will probably knit it again, and if you use the yarn mentioned, it is very cost-efficient as well (around $11 retail).

    Daphne – yes 2.5mm is #1.5, which I recently bought, but on which Crystal Palace only put the US size, not the mm, even though it is indicated on the outer package.

  6. i like it that different nedles brands are diffeent sizes; sometimes, especially with sox, i want the knit to be just a tad tighter or looser, and i know that my inox needles fall between the sizes of my bamboo needles, so i switch back and forth to get just the fabric i want.

  7. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to read your whole knitting blog which I did yesterday. WOW! You have accomplished a lot in one year – a Knitting Speed Queen. Impressive! And so much variety – you’ve really learned Mucho!

    The knitted “thingy” you saw on a tree branch, according to SpinOff Magazine, Winter 2006, p. 12, is now known as “knitfitti” from graffitti. Apparently, it originated Houston, Texas, started by an anonymous group know as Knitta.

    I wonder if they do it in the dead of night! Having become involved collecting Arborglyphs – names and pictures carved on trees 30-50 years ago, i think I’d rather coin the term: “Knitglyphs”! They are left on tree, poles, parking meters, etc., presumably near knit shops!

  8. When I knit the shawl for Grandma I didn’t have to bock the way you did. How did you make the blocking board – with a dressmaker’s cutting board and contact paper?

    The variability in needle size is interesting. When I worked in a shop the owner knew the differences and could clue in the customers. The best bet is to do swatches, if fit is really important, to get the gauge called for in the pattern. And the best way to determine size is to measure a favorite sweater you already own of the same weight yarn, and pick the pattern size which equals or approximates your garment. Do not go by dress size!

  9. Lovely shawl! I’ve been seeing that pattern everywhere and now I really want to make it! I’ll keep an eye on the Red Scarf Knitalong and probably join in, especially if you all start working on hats for the Children’s Hospital 🙂

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