Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Saturday Six

Six Swatch Suggestions

Swatching before knitting a fitted garment is essential in determining the size of the finished garment. Remember that you are not only looking for the appropriate stitch and row gauge, but are also ensuring that the density and drape of the knitting fabric is appropriate for your garment.

Here are six tips to make your swatching go quickly and easily:

1. Make the swatch as large as you can stand to. The more you have to measure, the more accurate your calculations will be.

2. Check your pattern for swatch instructions. The gauge will usually be given in stockinettte, but sometimes you will need to swatch in pattern.

3. If you want to swatch with different needles sizes, you can knit them all on one swatch. With the first needle size, knit in garter stitch for a few rows. On the first row of the stockinette, YO and K2Tog once for each size of the needle. For instance, if you are using size six needles, YO, K2Tog six times. This will leave six little holes in your swatch to indicate that you used size six needles for that portion of the swatch. Knit in stockinette for three or four inches, do a row of purl bumps, then switch to a larger or smaller needle. YO, K2Tog the appropriate number of times, and knit on!

4. If the garment is knit in the round, swatch in the round. If knit flat, swatch flat. Most people purl at a different tension than they knit.

5. Always wash and block your swatch. Some fibers (Hellooooo alpaca!) stretch quite a bit when wet. Note the before and after gauge of your swatch and compare it to your garment in process.

6. Keep a journal of your previous swatches to see if you knit consistently loosely or tightly.

No comments: