Swatching for Gauge

Why do a Gauge Swatch?
What's all the fuss about doing a gauge swatch?  Well.......

If you find you are always running out of yarn, or you always have yarn left over, it's probably because you are not knitting to the prescribed gauge for the project.  Does it matter?  Well, yes.......and the more accurate your gauge is, the more likely you are to be happy with your finished project.

Projects knit in flat pieces -- knit a large enough swatch, back and forth, to accurately measure your gauge.

"Circular" gauge swatch for a project knit "in the round"

  • if knitting your project "in the round", you must do a "in the round" gauge swatch -- if you don't want to knit a hat as a gauge swatch....knit a "round" gauge swatch by using dpns or a circular needle, cast on the number of stitches you need for your swatch and knit every row (break off the yarn at the end of the row, slide your stitches back to the right end of the needle and knit the next row, repeat)  
  • doing your gauge swatch this way simulates knitting "in the round" and gives you the most accurate prediction of gauge
Needles -- use the needles you intend to use for your project, when knitting your gauge swatch - changing brands or finishes (turbo versus bamboo) of needles can affect your gauge.

Measure your gauge swatch carefully - before and after washing - yes, you SHOULD wash your gauge swatch the way you intend to wash your finished garment.  You need to know if your knitting will grow width-wise or stretch length-wise.

If you knit a gauge swatch, and it just isn't right - do another one.  Use fresh yarn.  Using yarn that you have already knit with will affect your gauge.

It's worth buying an extra ball of yarn (or two) to use for your gauge swatch.  

Use your gauge swatch to get used to a new stitch, a new technique, the feel of the yarn for your project.  As you get more comfortable with the new stitch, the new technique or the feel of the yarn, your gauge may change - so do gauge swatching until you are comfortable - and then keep checking your gauge throughout your project.



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