Getting the gauge right

With well over a year’s worth of sleeping mats, shoulder bags, and sitting mats, I find that I’ve been making certain choices for each project: hook size, strip width, stitch tightness … so it’s time to write it down.

Before I start though, a couple of notes to read:

a. Getting the most from the plastic milk bag

b. Thickness of the milkbag plastic itself

Sleeping mats

I’ve been using a no.8 hook. For the strips, I make only 10 cuts into the bag, which yields a strip that’s about 1.5 inches wide. The stitch itself is really really loose and pouffy.

Shoulder bags

This is where I’ve made the most changes: I started with my bought-in-France `no.8′ hook from Phildar but it eventually turned out that it was more like a no.7 hook. At that time, I’d read that 12 cuts per bag was the way to go so my strips were probably only just 1in in width. My first bag was done without having anyone else to work with so I didn’t realise that not only was my hook a bit small, but my gauge was really really tight — I’d done the same on my very first project, a 3×5 sleeping mat, and that one has to be a really hard one to lie on! Wow …

However, having eventually done a bag with a no.8 hook and strips that were well over 1in in width, I ended up with a very floppy and pouffy bag which stretches too much. So that’s definitely not good!

In sum: the shoulder bag should be done with a smaller hook (no.7), a narrower strip (about 1in wide), and a tighter gauge. You’ll end up with a really sturdy bag, with the double-crochet stitch pattern very visible.

I still have to revise my shoulder bag pattern (see earlier entries) to incorporate these observations. I’ll post an update note here once that’s done.

Sitting mats

These are back to the sleeping mat specs: no.8 hook, only 10 cuts per bag for a wider strip, and a very loose floppy stitch.

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