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Old 11-29-2006, 01:24 AM   #1
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knitting a swatch to guage tension--it's not the right size

I was hoping someone could help me. I'm a fairly inexperienced knitter, trying out a sweater that a friend recommended to me (I've knit sweaters before so I'm not totally new to it). Anyway, I was supposed to knit up a swatch and when I did I discovered that the width was fine (8 stitches should measure two inches and they did) but the length was off. I knit 11 rows (should be 2 inches) and it came out to 2 1/2 inches. Do I worry about this? What can I do? Should I reduce the number of rows, and if so, how do I account for the arm holes?

I would so appreciate any help or advice that you might have.


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Old 11-29-2006, 01:31 AM   #2
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It is best to make your gauge swatch much larger than the suggested gauge measurements. So if your pattern says that your gauge should be measured over 2"x2" you should make your swatch at least twice as big as that so you can measure the stitches in the middle of the swatch and avoid the edges in your measuring. This will give a more accurate measurement.

If after doing that your measurements are not right, you'll have to change your needle size.

If you have too many stitches per inch you will have to go up in needle size.

If you have too few stitches per inch you will have to go down in needle size.

Hope this helps.

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Old 11-29-2006, 12:57 PM   #3
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I would say that row gauge is not always as critical as stitch gauge. Many patterns tell you to knit a certain length and so it doesn't really matter how many rows you have to an inch as long as you get the right length.

However, there are patterns written by the row assuming that you are getting the correct gauge. There you have no room to play -- if you don't have the right row gauge your pattern will be off.

So, the answer is, it depends on the pattern.

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Old 11-29-2006, 01:57 PM   #4
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Even if a pattern specifies to knit X rows for the length, I look at their row gauge and translate that into inches and knit according to measurement.

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Old 11-29-2006, 03:19 PM   #5
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It's not unusual for the row gauge of your finished piece to be different from your swatch because the weight of the sweater will cause the rows to lengthen -- because of this, you will ultimately end up with fewer rows per inch in the FO than in your swatch. Since patterns usually give row gauge based on the finished piece, a good way to estimate your final row gauge is to hold your swatch upright, and add a little weight to the bottom of it. Hanging a ball of yarn from the bottom seems to be the commonly suggested method of weighing your swatch down, but I find it's a little awkward. Just use whatever's handy.

There is no right way to knit; there is no wrong way to knit. So if anybody kindly tells you that what you are doing is "wrong," don't take umbrage; they mean well. Smile submissively, and listen, keeping your disagreement on an entirely mental level. They may be right, in this particular case, and even if not, they may drop off pieces of information which will come in very handy if you file them away carefully in your brain for future reference. ~Elizabeth Zimmerman
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Old 11-30-2006, 01:30 AM   #6
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knitting a swatch to guage tension--it's not the right size
Thank you for the helpful responses. I really appreciate the suggestions and ideas.

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