Monday, March 14, 2011

On swatches

     I released a document so you guys could knit a swatch for the Birthday pi, even though I don't believe in gauge when it comes to lace.  Why did I do it, you ask?  Well, since you guys will be blindly following me, I thought it would be a good idea for you to try your hand at it.  Doing a swatch also helps you decide if the yarn/needle combo works for you.

     Don't get me wrong, swatches are important - for a number of reasons, not only gauge.  When it comes to lace, gauge might not be so important, but a swatch is still recommended, as by knitting one you can figure out if you like the fabric you're getting.

     For most people, when we talk swatch and gauge what comes to mind is counting how many stitches/rows we have in a predetermined measurement - like this:
  That is all fine and dandy, but sometimes it's not that easy to count stitches/rows - think lace, novelty yarns, felted items...  How do you know if your gauge is right when you can't count?  Here is a little tip: count the stitches and rows before you knit.  Choose a number that will give you a good sized swatch (the bigger the swatch, the more accurate it will be) and it's easy to work with ( I personally like multiples of 10).  Knit your swatch and do whatever you have to do with it - block, felt...  After it's dry, measure the entire swatch.  Since you already know how many stitches and rows you knit, all you have to do to find the gauge is divide the length of your swatch by the number of stitches to get stitch gauge and height by number of rows knit to get row gauge.

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