Many of you will be familiar with the aphorism that the definition of madness is doing the same thing time and again while expecting different results. I would like to amend that slightly to create a knitter’s version: the definition of madness is knowing that you aren’t getting gauge on a project where gauge matters, and carrying on anyway.


The beautiful Suvi Simola “Baby Cables…” pullover was going along nicely, with the body nearly finished, when I decided I’d measure it. I didn’t have a very good idea of how big it actually was because I haven’t been able to get my hands on a circular needle with a long — 80 cm — cable, despite having visited four different knitting shops. (This in the capital of a developed nation. And my friends here wonder at my willingness to mail order craft supplies from the U.K.!) The result was that I knew I had a ton of stitches, but they were so bunched up that I couldn’t really tell how big around the beast was.

So I measure it and discover that it’s 130 cm at the bust. My bust, if you’ll pardon the sharing moment, is 110 cm. Room for company!

It took me about half an hour to frog the sweater that had probably taken 20 hours to make, up to that point. The yarn is neatly wound into balls and back in my work bag. I don’t have the next smaller size needle. I don’t have time or the mental energy to do the rounds of all the knitting stores in Madrid just to not be able to buy one.

I think I need to have a lie-down. Someone please pass the smelling salts.