Posted by: Kate | May 10, 2008

High in Fiber

Warning: if knitting holds no personal relevance to your life, aside from perhaps being a drain on your joint checking account, then this isn’t the post for you.

I haven’t had much to say in the realm of knitting lately, because I’m in the middle of several projects and I don’t typically post until I get to the end of something. I’m working on the Pearl Buck Swing Jacket by Kate Gilbert, for my mom; it’s slow going because it’s in comparatively thick wool (Cascade 220) on comparatively small needles (US size 3), so I can’t do more than an hour or so at a time before my wrists start to moan out loud. Which can get disconcerting.

There has been some hot needle-on-yarn sock action, but I don’t have much in the way of completed pairs. The one set I did finish hasn’t yet reached its destination, so I’ll hold off on posting the photos and pattern.

Meanwhile, there was a recent discussion on the knitting message board I frequent, regarding knitting needle sizes in the US and Europe. This is the sort of topic for which I have a passing interest but not the energy to do further research, but fellow knitter Dave had a definitive answer:

American needle sizes are based on American drill bit sizes. Who knows why? There isn’t an “official” European 11mm size either so you really aren’t missing much. The difference between 10mm and 12.5mm (US 15 & 17) isn’t much to worry about in relation to the overall diameter and the end knitted result.

A US 15 coincides with a US drill bit size of 25/64″. A US 17 is 13/32″.

I’ve spent some time checking all of the sizes out through various publications and personally measuring various needles and have built up a pretty detailed chart that I refer to. It ranges from US sizes 8/0 to 50, correlates to several other common (now and then) sizes and also gives sizes in decimal inches, fractional inches, mm, wire gauges (for 8/0 – 0) in Washburn & Moen as well as Roebling and American Wire Gauge sizes.

I don’t have anywhere to put this, but if someone has a space for it, I can get you a PDF of it. It’ll print onto a single page of 8.5 x 11 paper.

Well, guess what? I have space for it. Here. How amazing is this guy? Please don’t give me credit for this; I’m merely the messenger. Dave Bennett from Kansas did all of the work.

Last but not least, Gretchen and I took the kids to the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival in Contoocook this morning. I wore my Clapotis, she wore her Odessa (you probably have to be a member of Ravelry to use that link). There is something inexpressibly awesome about having someone else not only notice your knitwear, but recognize the pattern.

The festival itself was just fine, lots to see. There wasn’t a ton in the way of child-directed entertainment, but my kids behaved beautifully and were perfectly happy patting sheep and alpacas, and rediscovering the joy of eating a soft-serve ice cream cone outside when it’s warm enough to make ingestion speed an important consideration.

I came home with a sweater’s worth of natural alpaca yarn, each skein of which is tagged with the name of the specific animals that donated it. I think that delights me a little more than it should. I know, a whole sweater of alpaca will be really, really warm; this is OK, since I am usually cold.

So, indeed, my diet has remained high in fiber. Life is good.

P.S. I am missing several neurons, specifically those which allow me to look at a real-life person and know whether I have seen them in a photograph before. Nikkiana, if you were wearing brown and standing by the 4H building, I totally saw you, but self-doubt at my own recognition was too great to allow me to introduce myself.


  1. How cool are you? I read that discussion about US needle sizes, but I didn’t get to the part with Dave’s uber-list. Thanks for storing it, and thanks to Dave for compiling it.

    I love when yarn has the name of the animal on it that it came from. Makes the fact that wool yarn comes from sheep a little more real.

  2. Wishing you a happy Mother’s Day!!!!

  3. your page is so cool my do

  4. […] Back in May, we had attended the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival.  This one is… bigger.  Ridiculous, hugely, much much bigger. […]

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