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Old 12-27-2005, 07:33 PM   #20
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Wow Hildie, what an exciting KAL!!! You are such a motivator!!
This sounds great!

Hmmm, now might be a good time to slip in some advice about Gauge, since I don't think I have a video on this important subject. When working on something as large as a sweater, gauge becomes very important. 1/2 stitch per inch off, and suddenly your sweater is 4" to wide or too small.
Soooooo, here are my tips for getting your gauge right...

1) You need to do your gauge swatch in the same way you'll be working the garment. Most sweaters are worked flat and require seaming. So, work your swatch flat, like a scarf. If you'll be knitting the sweater in the round, you need to do your guage swatch in the round, or cheat a bit, and simulate knitting in the round: details on that here.

2) Do a FULL size gauge swatch for your sweater, cast on enough to generously measure 4 inches of knitting. It's a lot of knitting, I know, but it's worth doing it right! Save it to use in case you run short on yarn; once you know you don't need it, you can do what you like with it. Felting them can be fun, then you can cut them into circular coasters or flowers to embelish a bag, or whatnot. Anyhoo....

3) Do your swatch with the same yarn you'll be using AND the same needle type. I've found I knit at different tension with bamboo than I do with aluminum needles, and you don't want to realize this in the middle of your sweater as I once did.

4) I recommend working on your swatch only when you're warmed up from knitting something else for ten minutes or a half hour if it's been a while. Gauge can change dramatically when you're warmed up. It can also change dramatically if you're a new knitter, just getting the hang of things, so best for newbies to complete a few scarves (or equivalent) using both knitting and purling before doing a large fitted object, IMHO.

5) Once you've knit your swatch, this is how you measure it: measure out four inches of the relaxed knitting, and stick pins in to mark the start and end of those 4 inches. Mark those points first, and then count. This is how you get an honest reading. If you count as you hold up the ruler, it's tempting to stretch the knitting just ever so slightly to get the gauge your aiming for, and that's bad news. Your resulting number will be gauge over 4". If your gauge calls for stitches per inch, divide your results by 4 to get guage per inch. If you're off by 1/2 sts./inch, change needles by one size, if you're off by 1 st/inch, change by two sizes, etc., and THEN reswatch. (Ahhh, the joys of swatching! Don't hate me! )
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