Helene Hunter, Executive Chronicles |
When knitting, it is expected that you would use knit gauge swatches to ensure you get the accurate stitches per inch that a pattern requires. If you don’t check the gauge and you end up having it off the pattern you want to make, then you’ll make something bigger or smaller than you desire. During knitting, it helps to begin with a yarn that you choose and needles that are appropriate for the pattern you want.
Once you have this in place, you can knit the swatch that you feel is big enough to allow you 6 inches or 15 centimeter square. Your swatch needs not be perfect though many gauge measurements are designed to fit 4 inches or 10 centimeters. But even with this knowledge, it can be a challenge to know what you need to do to set or change your gauge. Here’s what you can do if you use your knitting machinery to knit your swatch and it fails to turn our right:
- Increase the Needle Size
If you notice that you are having more stitches the pattern you want requires per inch, then you need to go for bigger knitting needles. With bigger needles, you’ll be able to make bigger stitches. This means that you will have fewer stitches per inch.
- Try a different Needle Type
Though you need to use same needle size during knitting, the various needle types in the market are not exactly the same. They vary in size, an aspect that can change the way you knit quite significantly if you change from one needle type to another. However, it is advisable to pick a different type of needle when you are not getting a row gauge but a getting a stitch gauge. Though row gauge is not considered important all the time, it is necessary especially when you are knitting garments sideways.
- Reduce the Needle Size
This works when the stitches you are having are fewer per inch compared to those that you need to create the pattern you want. By opting for smaller needles, you will be able to make smaller stitches. This means that you will have more stitches per inch.
- Change your Method of Knitting
If you are good in different knitting styles, then you can apply this option to fix the swatch. By changing your method of knitting, you will definitely get a different gauge. As you change your knitting method, keep looking to see how your swatch is turning out. If you are happy with the way it feels and looks, then you can proceed. In some instances, having a gauge that has a smaller needle can make the fabric feel too stiff. In this case, it is better to opt for a different pattern or yarn rather that proceeds to make a fabric that will ultimately not make you happy.
- Avoid a Gauge Swatch
If you are fixated on how big your final garment will be, you can proceed to skip a gauge swatch. This works best when you are knitting items like throws, scarves, shawls and baby blankets that do not need to have exact measurements. However, if are knitting items that require some exact measurements like baby booties, sweaters and hats, it is advisable to invest time on making a gauge swatch to ensure perfect sizing.
As a general rule, it is important to begin knitting with the appropriate needle size and yarn. You need to use a swatch that is large enough to allow you some 6 inches or 15 centimeters square. Once you are done, bind the swatch and wash it by hand or machine. This is good because knitting yarn reacts differently when put in water. Leave it to dry and lay your finished swatch on a flat surface so you can compare the number of stitches. You’ll know you got it right when the number of stitches on your swatch matches those that you have listed on the pattern you chose. In the event that your swatch has more stitches per inch compared to those on your desired pattern, then there is a high chance your stitches are small and you need to knit again with a bigger needle.