View Full Version : Gauge swatches

05-15-2007, 10:35 AM
They are a necessary evil. :grrr: Hate them, can't stand them. It goes against my natural instinct to dive right into a project. I know how important they are, but I can't help also feeling like I'm wasting my time knitting one! :wall:

Anyway, that's my knitting rant for the morning.

05-15-2007, 10:55 AM
I agree.
The existence of the theoretical knitting the arm as the swatch method really irritates me too. It's like hanging a ball of yarn right where the cat can't get it, since you know you are going to have to wash it anyway - right out the window, thank you!

& even don't get me started on the whole is the pattern talking now about how much it's supposed to measure after blocking, or before question! :!!!:


05-15-2007, 02:20 PM
I've only ever finished one project, and the gauge has already gotten me. :doh: I decided to make a baby blanket for my first project (because last week was far too hot to think about scarves) I figured it was just a big square and it wouldn't much matter, but I was so wrong. What was suppose to be 36"x36" turned out to be about 18"x 30". It looks more like a cat beach towel than a baby blanket. :crying: Thankfully I got some help (http://www.knittinghelp.com/knitting/forum/viewtopic.php?t=31597) before I put anything else on my needles.

05-15-2007, 03:01 PM
I hate them, I hate them, I hate them, I hate them, :!!!: :!!!:

I feel like I am wasteing yarn. and my time. But I know they are good for you. I made a sweater and it turned out toooo big.

05-15-2007, 03:32 PM

I kinda like swatches.

If you find a yarn that you really like to work with a lot (for me it's mmmmalabrigo), then it's worth the time an effort to make several swatches. I used to felt my swatches and use the for coasters, but now I take a permenant marker and write ON the swatch the sz needle I used and the gauge. That way when I want to make something later, I can just refer to my swatches to determine what size needle I need to use for what yarn... and it helps, too, because I can see right away if I like the fabric that the gauge produces... for instance, I get 4.25 sts per inch uing malabrigo with size 10.5s (i'm a tight knitter)... but I don't especially like the the looseness of the fabric. When i come across a pattern that calls for that gauge, I'll know that #1 I can get gauge with 10.5s, and #2 that I don't like the fabric. So I'll choose another yarn.

Swatching is one of those things you can do while watching TV since you don't really have to concentrate. It's nice to work on swatching in the middle of a larger project (for me) because they're quick, and I know that I will refer to them later.

05-15-2007, 03:55 PM
may I ask - how long did it take for your gauge to get consistent?

it seems like mine changes even just from the swatch to whatever I'm knitting.

05-15-2007, 03:59 PM
well, generally I only do watched after I've been knitting for a while... at least 10 minutes. Then i know I've gotten in the rhythm of thngs, and the gauge swatch will most accurately measure my "consistant" gauge.

It isn't uncommon for your gauge to change in the middle of a project. Just check it every couple of rows... if you notice a difference of more than a third of a stitch, I would change needle sizes.

05-15-2007, 06:09 PM
is this why people knit all those things at once?
are you supposed to start with something it doesn't matter on?

05-18-2007, 06:59 AM
how do you knit swatches??? do you use garter stitch or stockinette??? i am confused.....also, how do you figure how many stitches to cast on? thanks so much for your help!!!!

05-18-2007, 10:19 AM
I don't love swatches, but I know first hand what can happen if you don't swatch, so I make swatches. But I don't swatch every time. I don't swatch when the sizing doesn't matter, when I'm not too picky about the fabric weight, or if I've knit the item enough to not have to swatch anymore, like socks.

If you don't want to make a swatch, then don't. And when your sweater turns out 4 sizes to large, don't complain. :lol:

how do you knit swatches??? do you use garter stitch or stockinette??? i am confused.....also, how do you figure how many stitches to cast on? thanks so much for your help!!!!
Read this (http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEspring03/FEATswatchout.html) :)

05-18-2007, 11:58 AM
A swatch is a sample of the pattern you're going to knit. It's usually in stockinette so you know how many sts and rows per inch your yarn and the needles you use will produce. Sometimes patterns will give the gauge for ribbing or for the stitch pattern, so you'd do your sample in that stitch.

And no, syndactylus, people knit all those things at once because they just want to get started on something different. It's not the same project.....


05-18-2007, 05:55 PM
thank you Kristin....that was just exactly perfect for me.....i printed it out for my notebook!!!