Saturday, 16 April 2011

on gauge swatches

Someone, somewhere, at some time, worked out that before a knitter starts a project, he/she would be advised to knit a "tension square", the name Australians use for a "gauge swatch".

Most commercial patterns, especially those for articles where size matters, strongly recommend taking the time to knit a tension square.

As a knitting tutor, I wholeheartedly agree. Why spend hours knitting something only to find that after all that "work", the article is the wrong size!

Why then, did I spend five days knitting exclusively on my stealth project only to decide on Day 6 that it was too big? Because, as usual, I was in too much of a hurry to get started on my latest Great Idea. I had all the confidence of a New Project and the fumes of Pure Wool Yarn urging me to just get knitting! I did take the time to prepare a chart for my Great Idea. I knitted and ripped and knitted and ripped; sometimes it felt like I was taking two steps forward and one step back.

But, folks, it wasn't worth it. Late on Day 5 I weighed my yarn. I had 98g left of a 200g ball. What I had knitted was close to the right length I had hoped it to be at this point. At bed time I lay my knitting on the footstool. It was one of the first things I saw on Day 6. And I had to admit, it was just too wide! I wanted something narrower and much longer than I was going to be able to knit with the number of stitches I had!

And so I frogged. This is not the first time I have said it - a gauge swatch is Really. Important. (especially when designing your own knitting) *sigh*


  1. It's funny isn't it how we ignore our own best advice sometimes when it comes to knitting!

  2. Like most important lessons...we have to learn it more than once! It is going to be a beauty if the little glimpse is any indication of the final work!

  3. I have, as yet, never knit a swatch, and luckily they turned out the right size. Don't know but I never thought about gauge


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