Monday, August 15, 2011

Mis-measured Measurements

Working on my cat toys brought my attention to a certain, lets say, irregularity in my crafting tools that I had noticed a long time ago. It wasn't until recently that I realized how irregular they are. Quite a while ago I got some large crochet hooks in size L, M, and N. For those of you not familiar with crochet hook sizing, hooks get bigger the farther down the alphabet you go. Therefore an A is smaller than a G is smaller than a K. It didn't take long to see that there were some pretty big differences in size, and not the way you might think. The L claims that it is 8.0mm in diameter, but them M and N hooks both claim to be 9.0mm. This alone is rather fishy, but what really got me is that the N hook is obviously SMALLER than the M hook and is about the same size as the L hook. That didn't bother me so much when I was just crocheting because I hadn't yet comprehended the might of the great god Gauge. With knitting came an awe for the wonder of Gauge and its incredible helpfulness. So when I dipped back into my hook book my normal yarn working joy was gradually interrupted by a nagging feeling that something was horribly wrong. My mind wandered back to my awkwardly sized big hooks. Then I wondered, how many of my faithful tools are horrible liars? Enter the knitting gauge. These handy little tools have holes of varying diameter that you can put knitting needles (or crochet hooks) into to see what the diameter actually is. I decided to test my erring hooks and sure enough, the L and M measured up with their stamped diameter but the “9.0mm” N hook came in at only 8.0mm. Intrigued and mildly annoyed I started measuring my other crochet hooks with shocking results. Virtually all my hooks are not the size they claim to be nor are they off by a constant amount! Within the same brand hooks were both larger AND smaller than they were labeled. Slightly obsessed at this point, I moved on to my knitting needles and found another surprise. My needles are all the size they say they are. Each and every one of them. Even the ones from the same brand with the horribly irregular crochet hooks! Now I understand why I had such an incredibly hard time getting my crochet work to come out at the required gauge for any given project. With inconsistent inconsistencies it's amazing that I was able to get close to the gauge at all.

Having found out all these things, I have two questions for everyone.
Does this sort of thing only bother the OCD crowd, or does it annoy everyone?
What do you do about it?

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