I recently got back from The Knit and Crochet Show and CGOA/TKGA Conference, where I taught 7 classes in 4 days, went to a CGOA board meeting, attended the CGOA members' meeting, went to the Fashion Show and dinner on Saturday night, visited with lots of friends, and had an all around wonderful time! Read more about it on my blog: notyourgrannyscrochet. I'm back now, and trying to get my act together for the next conference, in less than 3 weeks! This one is in Portland, Oregon - I've never been there, and I'm excited about going. I'll be teaching 7 classes again - one of them though, Crocheting on the Edge - may not have enough students before pre-registration is over (August 21). So if you're planning to go to the TKGA/CGOA conference don't wait to sign up for classes. Sign up now, by Thursday afternoon at 4:30 Eastern time!
I did promise you that I would tell you more about what affects gauge. I had an interesting discussion about that this morning in the class I teach at a lys. One of my students made a very pretty vest - that was humongous on her. She checked her gauge with one yarn, then decided she didn't like that yarn, changed to another yarn, and thought that it was the same weight, so she didn't check her gauge again. She learned! If you're going to change yarns, even if it is the same weight, or same yarn but a different color, check your gauge! Repeat - check your gauge!
Another student, who came back for her second lesson, said she was really nervous and tense for her first class. And her crocheting was really tight. Today, I showed her how to relax, how to make her stitches higher, and her crocheting loosened up a bit. (To make your stitches a little higher, lift the hook above the top of the row you worked into. Just a little, maybe 1/8 of an inch. But that will help if your row gauge is off - if you have too many rows to the inch. I do this at the end of the stitch - just pull up on the hook.)
The first baby afghan I made for my son was a nice ripple pattern. I started out really tense, but loosened up as I figured out the stitch pattern. I had never worked a ripple stitch, nor had I ever made an afghan. (This was MANY years ago.) The sides of the afghan slope out. The bottom is narrow, the top is wide. Because I got more relaxed as I went on.
So gauge is affected a lot by your tension. If you're mad at someone, your gauge might be off - too tight. If you're really relaxed, your gauge might be off - too loose. And if the designer crochets tight (she or he might have been tense, trying to meet the deadline!), and you're relaxing out by the pool, your tension might be loose and your gauge may not match the designer's gauge!
That's the story about gauge. And that's one reason I started designing my own fashions. I could never meet the designer's gauge! :-)