Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Gauge Swatch

I am SO ready to start on a sweater. This Silk Cocoon Cardigan in the Spring 2010 issue of Interweave Knits will look lovely on my daughter.  If it fits. Which brings me to my point, a confession.  I have never knit a gauge swatch.  I have a beautiful Beaverslide sweater that could fit two of me to prove it.  So  I am ramping it up and following all of the rules. My sister (rejoyce on ravelry) is a great knitter.  She always makes a gauge swatch and her garments are customized to the wearer.  I am turning over a new leaf. I want to be more like my sister.  If you read this sis, I dare you to comment.  I see you lurking...
I'm inserting a cute button I found here.  I think it's funny.
Sorry, I couldn't resist.  

Now back to gauge sister turned me on to this nifty tool.

You line up your swatch on the right end and read the measurement on the top line to get your gauge.  Now, the first time I did it with the recommended size needle, my swatch was too big.  I have discovered that I can tend to knit loosely.  I said to myself, "This is huge!" and ripped it out and went down a size of needle.  Then I knitted that swatch and said, "This is just right!" I started knitting my sweater and after four rows, my sister called.  "Did you wash your swatch?"
"NO, " I said.
"Well, you'd better."
So I did.  Well, Mr. Perfect-sized Swatch shrunk a little.  Which would mean that my sweater would fit my daughter's old American Girl doll possible better than it would fit her.
So last night I knit the swatch AGAIN with the original sized needle, washed my swatch ( a good soak in tepid water), squeezed it out, laid it on my table with a fan blowing on it. And guess what?  It is perfect.

I learned a couple of things here:
1.  Measure and record the size of swatch BEFORE and AFTER washing.  You will learn something about the yarn that you should tell your friends on Ravelry.
2. Listen to your sister if she knits better than you.


  1. Ahhh I never swatch but you may have talked me into it!! Guess we will see!

  2. I dont knit up a swatch either... but I'm making a sweater soon & if I'm going to put that much time into it, I want to make sure it fits... so yeah, I'll do it too...

  3. What is it about that gauge swatch that we hate to much? There have been times that I really didn't want to do it but did, and found that if I had kept knitting the garment would have fit the neighborhood giant better than me! They are a good thing, even if we hate them!

    xo Erin

  4. great lessons learned and shared! you've convinced me. next garment, I'll swatch too. I love the color of yarn you chose!

  5. I knit a greatdeal of baby things so gauge is not that big a deal but I have been checking for the past few years. I have never washed the swatch but I will from now on.

  6. Ah, I have SOOO been there! I learned to knit a gauge swatch long ago probably after many more bad experiences than it takes for other people. Great post!



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