You have bought the yarn, have chosen your pattern, and are
excited about starting your project. You sit down to begin, but
STOP! You have to make a gauge swatch. You hate having to check
your gauge. Thinking about by-passing this step?
You will be spending as many as 30-50 hours, perhaps more,
to knit a garment. Isn’t it worth less than an hour of
your time at the start to make sure that it will be a success?
Establishing the same stitch count that your pattern recommends
will guarantee that your project will have the correct dimensions
- and will fit.
on enough stitches (between 20-40) to make sure that you will
work a swatch that is more than 10 cm./4 inches wide. Knit in
the stitch pattern you will be using for more than 10 cm./4inches
in length. End with a few rows of Garter Stitch and bind off
Then wash and block your swatch. DO
NOT SKIP THIS STEP. You will need to see how your
fabric behaves under normal circumstances. That includes washing.
When dry, measure your swatch with a ruler, marking out the
10 cm./4inches with pins. Count the number of stitches between
the pins to get your stitch gauge.
Repeat with the ruler along the length of the swatch to determine
Getting gauge is a lot more than simply determining your stitch
count. It will teach you everything you need to know about the
fabric you will be creating. How does it look? How does it feel?
Does it have drape? Is it too stiff? Does the stitch pattern
work with your yarn?
Hold it to your face. Do the colour and pattern suit you? This
small swatch can help you understand how the final knitted garment
will look. Isn’t that worth the effort at the start?