Why does THAT work? Some notes about quirky shawl construction.

Posted on October 11, 2017 by Catherine Gamroth


Do It Up by Tante Ehm

I have these new colourways that I sent off to test knitters to play with. One intrepid tester, Tammy aka Tante Ehm, sent me a few pictures of a gorgeous shawl and casually mentioned that she had designed in on the fly and was thinking of writing it up as a pattern (which was just published last week, go take a look!)

Do It Up by Tante Ehm

Yeah. It's fantastic. Relatively simple knitting but stunning results. Here it is in the Sweet Baby James and Margaritaville colourways. 

The construction begins with an arrowhead-shaped increase section and then begins shifting and decreasing to create an overall triangle. 

Tammy mentioned that she switched from one section to the other when she had used half of the yarn. Which is cool and also WHY DOES THAT WORK? It that a fluke that is approximately true when you're using the exact amount of yarn Tammy was using (about 170 g)? Or is that always true no matter what size? And anyway, WHY?

I'm a lot of fun at parties, can you tell?  

Right. So. I drew some pictures and I've got an answer.

Geometry of Do It Up

First of all two notes: The shawl doesn't use the entire skein of yarn. In this colourway the final two stripes aren't used (so good news, there's no worry of running out of yarn during the bind off). 

Second, note that the picture I drew doesn't look like it's the same shape as the shawl - the first section is a triangle rather than an arrowhead, but the geometry is the same. Each row in my sketch is a row in the shawl, even though the actual knitted fabric will be distorted by the placement of the increases and decreases and look much cooler. 

The cast on is at the top of the shawl I've sketched, and increases symmetrically for a while before decreasing asymmetrically. The bind off is the final row of stitches at the bottom. I treated each box in the grid as being X stitches wide and X rows tall, so I can easily draw lines at the appropriate angles to represent, for example, increasing one stitch every second row. It also means this works regardless of how big or small I do my sketch.

Once I'd drawn the two halves of the shawl, all that's left to do is calculate the areas. If that makes your palms sweat, don't worry. You just have to find the cosine of the length of the hypotenuse divided by the shortest line segment and...I kid, I kid. Just count the squares. 

72 squares in the first section and 63 squares in the second section means that my sketch matches reality and the first section uses just slightly more yarn than the second. By following the pattern and starting the decrease section when you've used half your yarn, you'll end up with about 6% of a skein remaining. Tadaah! 



UPDATE: My excitement about this whole thing was to be able to take advantage of the self-striping yarn and use as much of the skein as possible. You could, of course, also make a smaller shawl by starting the section section at any time before you've used half the yarn. Or if you want to use much more than half the yarn for the first section you'll need a second skein. 

Oh, and since someone is bound to ask, my notebook is a Kyokuto Expedient notebook with 5 mm dot grid and it is perfection. 

Posted in Case Studies

We're back!

Posted on October 06, 2017 by Gauge Dye Works

Knit City Booth Day 1

Random update for ya:

We're back from Knit City! Here's a little peek at our booth from the weekend. Not a fantastic photo, but I always love seeing other people's booths, so it seemed fair to share too.

(Fellow vendors: if you're wondering, nearly everything I've got in my booth is either gridwall or IKEA. I got a lot of questions about the lights - they are IKEA Hektar lights that we've attached to those gridwall faceouts.)

I'm taking a few days off this week, but will be back at it next week - dyeing again and restocking the shop with everything that came home with us from Knit City. 

My dyeing queue the next couple weeks includes: 1. your Knox Fade pre-orders, 2.  Summer Nights collection and Knox Fade for the shop. 3. Weekend and Phi have been the most requested lately, so those too! 

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See you at Knit City!

Posted on September 11, 2017 by Gauge Dye Works

Knit City Vendor

We are busily preparing for Knit City in Vancouver. Our shop will be sold out until we return in early October. 

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Call for test knitters

Posted on July 06, 2017 by Catherine Gamroth

call for testers

I'm working on some fresh, summery colourways and am looking for some intrepid knitter/photographers to help me test them out! 

Would you like to test knit? I'd send you yarn - you choose the pattern and keep the finished item. What I want in return is photos. Lots of photos! I'd like you to share your progress on social media as you knit (#gaugetestknits everyone, keep an eye out for it!), and take some good quality shots of the finished object. 

I will have yarn in the mail by next week, and you would have four weeks after receiving your yarn to do the knitting and have FO pictures ready. 

The picture above shows the three colourways, and a glimpse at the sock I'm testing out. As you can see, I've done simple two-colour stripes but played around with value - darker and lighter versions of the two colours. There will also be shawl versions of the same colourways. 

I mentioned test knitting on Instagram last week and got an enthusiastic response (yay, thank you!) so I suspect I will face the difficult task of having to choose between many talented volunteers - I've only got six skeins to give away, so please understand I won't be able to say yes to everyone! 


UPDATE: Test knitters have been chosen and you can see their work here

Posted in shop news

Yarn + Pattern Club Signups open now!

Posted on May 10, 2017 by Catherine Gamroth

Summer Yarn + Pattern Club

Come join us for a summer of yarn and patterns inspired by outdoor adventures. 

We’ve teamed up with designer Andrea Rangel to bring you a collection of three knitting projects to keep your needles happy this summer. Each month we will send you an exclusive colourway and a perfectly coordinating pattern that lets the yarn shine.

All the club colour palettes are all drawn from nature: the deep greens of foliage, the earthy greys and browns of a rocky shore, the subdued blues of mountains in the distance, and, here and there, a bright burst of autumn leaves.

The patterns offer an adventurous twist on basic designs, with classic shapes and comfortable knitting occasionally giving way to a more challenging moment of intarsia, short rows or stranded colourwork. It’s a great chance to learn a new technique or two, with well written instructions and plenty of support in our Ravelry group.

For more details or to sign up, click here. 

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caterpillargreen is now Gauge Dye Works

Posted on February 16, 2017 by Catherine Gamroth

Welcome to Gauge Dye Works!

My husband and I have spent quite a while searching for a new name and overall look that would be a better fit for who we are as people and as a company, and where we see ourselves going. If you've ever written a social media profile for yourself, you'll know how awkwardly challenging it can be to condense the very essence of your being into 140 characters or a 100x100 gif.

But I feel like we really nailed it. Gauge Dye Works. It's classic and memorable, knitting-related but also science-y.

Our designer, Aleya, did a fantastic job of capturing that clean, nerdy aesthetic by drawing inspiration from old pencils, wooden rulers, and scientific manuals. 

Nailed it. 

I'm so excited to finally finally be able to share this with you!

I'm rolling out the new website this week and will have all our new branded stuff to share soon. The full transition will likely take at least a few weeks; please bear with me as I work my way through all of these updates! 


Posted in shop news

Rising Dawn Kit

Posted on January 25, 2017 by caterpillargreen yarns

After sharing a picture of this stunning shawl on instagram and being inundated with customer requests, I've created a two-skein kit so you can knit your own Rising Dawn!  

This is a pre-order: I will start dyeing the yarn first thing next week and should be able to ship within about 2 weeks (although I always officially quote 6 weeks for a pre-order because I'm a one-woman dyeing operation and sometimes life is unpredictable!)

Already have some yarn in your stash you want to use? Here's the details: the shawl pictured above required about 700 yards of our classic weekend colourway - one full XL (170 g/6 oz) skein plus about a quarter of a regular skein. The pattern can be modified to use less yarn (either a single 115 g or 170 g skein) by working the final edging sooner than directed. 

ETA: Both skeins in this kit are dyed with an orange-to-blue gradient; the effect in this shawl comes from casting on with the orange end of the first skein, knitting the full skein, then joining the blue end of the second skein and knitting "towards" the orange. This is different than our classic weekend yarn, where each skein has orange at both ends and blue in the middle, allowing for a matching pair of socks.

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