Thursday, December 06, 2007

SWATCH! measure... then CAST ON (now I get it!)

I am a bit frustrated with getting halfway through a project only to realize that it's too small... so I am trying hard to get gauge right this time... which leads me to what I have learned: The first step... whether we want to acknowledge it or not.... to a nicely completed project... is t swatch... and from what I am learning, making a 4" x 4" swatch in pattern isn't always enough - there's a great podcast called knitscience that had an episode about swatching and she suggested, after combing through everything related to swatching she could find, to create a swatch just over 8" x 8" - and measure your gauge swatch FLAT on a table (not on your leg, or on your bed) - with a RULER not a fabric tape measure - and to measure in MULTIPLE places (not just one) and to count stitches in a number of places, and take the AVERAGE of those measurements. THIS, I am learning, is the BEST way to get gauge...

Why 8" x 8" - because if we're knitting just a 4" x 4" swatch, we're probably hurried - and the cast on edge is part of our calculation - and we just wanna start... the 8" x 8" makes me slow down a bit - to relax; and knit the way I knit... and hopefully it'll be a better indication of what my knitting will measure in the final product.

With all of this in mind, I cast on my swatch for the snowflake sweater last night...
it's 45 stitches across - and so far, I'm getting 20 stitches/4 inches... right on gauge... but I must knit more - to measure my row gauge and to make sure I'm getting this stitch count consistently! :) Here's the sweater I'm hoping for-

it's a gorgeous sweater that Gregg wants me to make for him - from a book by Patons #500993 "Indigo Days" that I picked up at Bishops this past summer... I'm using Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran yarn - and it's sooo nice to work with!
I also got my scarf from my Ravelry Scarf Exchange pal - it's a beautiful entrelac blue and grey scarf that she made for me - using a knitty.com pattern - I have looked at trying that pattern but (like her) I have never done entrelac; and since I have such a limited attention span lately, I haven't found myself hankering for a project requiring that type of concentration.. constantly picking up stitches...
Last news - I finished the free and easy pie shawl a few days ago - I haven't blocked it yet (I actually haven't even woven in the ends; even though there's just two of 'em!) - and I'm a bit suprised that it's so small... I like it; but it has no home yet.. so for now, it'll go in my FO stash...
Happy Knitting Everyone!

6 comments:

Wannietta said...

I love that blue!! A bigger swatch is definitely going to be able to give you more accurate information than a small one. I also block my swatches - not necessarily pinning it out to the measurement that I want it to be, but definitely wetting it up and laying it flat to dry. Measuring it dry then after blocking will give more information - does the yarn/fabric change - stretching or shrinking? This is especially helpful if the intended recipient plans on washing the garment.

Have fun with it!!

Opal said...

I applaud you for battling the Swatch Monster. It means everything when it comes to knitting a fitted garment. Ask me how I know. :)

That sweater is gorgeous and I think all the hard work you're putting into it will be worth it in the end.

loopykd said...

First, how do you get the guy in the picture! Holy smokes!

Next, some people say you should block the swatch also to get accurate measuring. I have also realized that swatching is very important. It has become habit for me at this point.

knitseashore said...

Congratulations on finishing the pie wedge shawl! You must be glad to have that off your mental list of UFOs. Can't wait to see it!

The snowflake sweater looks like a great next project. I agree that a swatch is the way to go to make sure after all that work that it fits. I usually do the 4 x 4 one, and last time the LYS advised me to wash it (cotton) to see what I ended up with before I started the project. You might want to try that too.

Eric & Tony said...

Someday I'm going to learn that gauge lesson myself.

I look forward to the FO.

Judy G. said...

"Swatch"? What is it, this "Swatch"? Can you drink it?