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Old 10-28-2006, 10:07 PM   #1
Lousli
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What is the deal with my gauge swatches?


I've been knitting for nearly 2 years and I've gotten pretty decent at it. The problem is my gauge swatches never seem to accurately reflect what my finished guage ends up being! I have no idea why.

For example, I just got a worsted that says 4.5-5 inches on a 6-9 needle. So I started with a 6 and got 6.5 stitches per inch. An 8 gave me 6 stitches per inch. I'm currently working some up on a 9, but it still seems like I'll get 5, and any bigger than that and my knitting will be a loose sloppy mess. The thing is, usually even after I've done this, I find that when I actually start a pattern, my swatch seems meaningless, even with the same yarn and needles. I can pretty much guess that even though my swatch was 6=1'' on the size 8's, that a size 8 or 9 is going to work out fine for the sweater. What am I doing wrong?

And btw, it makes it sound like I knit really tight, but I don't. And my mother who has been knitting for 50 years, says I have good even tension.
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:02 PM   #2
gardenmommy
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Could it be the weight of the item you're knitting changes your gauge and tension once you are into the project? :thinking:
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:04 PM   #3
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I believe that the gauge on the labels is to inform you what weight (as in thickness) the yarn is. Theoretically, yarns with the same label gauge will knit up similarly. Pattern gauge is something else and that's what you should be more concerned with. Many times a pattern using a particular yarn will call for needles larger or smaller than those used in the label gauge. Go for the stitch gauge used in a pattern and you'll be fine.

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Old 10-28-2006, 11:40 PM   #4
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Okay, I understand that the label guage might not be the same. That makes sense the way you explain it.

But what I'm not getting is how I can get 6 stitches per inch in my swatch, but something different, like 5 or 5.5 in the actual garment.

For my current project, a size 9 needle gave me 5 stitches per inch, the pattern gauge is 4.5. I really don't want to mess it up, but I think a size 10 needle would be humongous on this yarn, so I need a 9 tops. It is killing me because it looks beautiful knit on an 8 , a little drapey on a 9. Why am I getting so many dang stitches per inch in my swatch? Would it change if I made my swatch bigger? I made it 4 inches wide but only about 2 tall, since it seemed like enough to get the idea..
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Old 10-29-2006, 09:36 AM   #5
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It is recommended to make the swatch a bit larger than 4 x 4, though I have to admit that I rarely do, either. This way you're not measuring the outer edges as part of your number of stitches per inch.

I can't really say why your swatches are different than the actual garment, unless the sheer number of stitches causes you to knit at a different tension.

You might want to start your next project where you love the drape of the fabric but just make a larger size. There's no guarantee that it would be the exact size you want, but once you get started you can measure your gauge again and do some math to see how large the final product would be.
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Old 10-29-2006, 10:23 AM   #6
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Could it be that you are making a flat swatch for a project knitted in the round?
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Old 10-29-2006, 10:26 AM   #7
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Yeah, like Ingrid said... make a different size than you normally would. I don't get gauge in patterns because I always use a different yarn and needle size, so I figure out my st/inch and how many inches I need to go around me and see if there's another size that comes close to that number.

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Old 10-29-2006, 12:54 PM   #8
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Thanks for the ideas. In this case, I'm making a flat swatch for a flat pattern. I already know my gauge knitting is the round is so ttally different that I just have to guesstimate.

I'm thinking of knitting the pattern on a 9, and I did get 5 stitches to the inch. The pattern calls for 4.5 It is a kids' sweater, so the different sizes only seem to have about an inch of difference for each panel of the sweater. So for the back, the smallest size (4-5) I'm supposed to cast on 72 stitches. The next larger size says 76 stitches. My daughter is wearing a size 5 currently, but always growing, of course. If I cast on 80, and get 5 stitches to the inch, it would be the right size, but if I actaully get more like 4.5 stitches to the inch, it will be huge. Should I just try the middle size, 76 stitches and knit a couple rows and see how it looks?
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Old 10-29-2006, 03:37 PM   #9
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That's what I usually do. Only it takes more like a couple inches to get a true measurement. The first couple rows can be very stretched out and more rows help form the shape more.

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