Gauge and blocking


I’m new to this board and pretty new to knitting, too. I’m glad I found you all!

Anyway, I’ve only knit a couple of small things that didn’t require gauge. Now I’m attempting to knit a baby sweater (Knitting for Baby by Melanie Falick and Kristen Nicholas) and I bought only the required skeins of yarn to make it (dumb, I know). It’s asking me to do a swatch gauge and block it; it should be 18 sts and 36 rows= 4". It’s in garter stitch and I just finished my swatch (but did not bind off or block it, since I don’t want to waste yarn!) and my 4"= 44 rows! Does this mean I knit too tightly? Do I really have to bind off and wash/block the swatch? I really don’t want to keep making swatches and waste all of my precious yarn. I’m using Classic Elite Waterspun 100% felted merino wool, if that makes any difference. Should I just switch needles sizes until I obtain the gauge without blocking it? Help!

Sorry if this is so long-winded… I just don’t know what to do! Thanks for any help!

I don’t know anything about felting and how it effects the final guage, so I can’t speak to that. But I can tell you that if your swatch has more rows per inch, then you likely knit loosely. If you knit tightly, your swatch would likely have come out smaller.

Is your stitch guage correct?

I’m sure some of the felters here can help you out concerning the felting/blocking question. :??

Oh, I don’t want to felt my project/swatch. But the instructions are telling me to wash it in mild soap by hand, then squeeze it dry and pin and lay it flat to block, then measure my gauge.

My stitch gauge is not correct. I’m getting more stitches per inch (22 as opposed to 18 per 4" gauge). So, I’m knitting too loosely? Hmmm. That means I need to go down in my needle size? I’m currently using size 8, so I need to go to size 7, right? Then gauge it again with that size to see if I now have the correct size needles to obtain gauge?

Thanks again!

Yep, try the smaller needles. :slight_smile:

ek’s on the right track, but if you’re coming out with more stitches/rows per inch, then you’ve knit too tightly (due to personal style and needle size). Since the rows are smaller, more fit in the inch…

And the row gage may be off, but how’s your stitch gage (sideways vs. up and down)? If the pattern calls for you to work so many inches long, then row gage isn’t usually as important ans stich gage. Your stitch gage will give you the propper side to side measurement, and if you’re working so many inches long, then the row gage shouldn’t matter too much unless there is a color pattern/shaping feature that is row dependent.

I really never wash and block my swatches though I should, technically, do it :slight_smile: One of the reasons for washing and blocking is to get it flat and even so you can take true measurements, rather than trying to flatten out, say, curling stockinete stitch to take a measurement on while you’re ruler is in hand. Like I do :slight_smile: One of the ways to minimize curling is to put a garter stitch border of 3-5 stitchs/first rows around the edge it helps keep it flat for you. When you take measurments, you have to carefully spread the stitches on the needle so it lies flat without streatching or bunching the fabrick, and that’s kind of trial and error art.

As for the washing bit, remember that washing yarn/fabric will invariably change its properties a bit as it interacts with the yarn. However, as long as you wash your finished product per the instructions from the yarn manufacturer, things should more or less work out all right wihout too much alteration to the finished product.

The felted marino shouldn’t affect things too much, though I have never worked with it so I can’t say that for certain.

I reccomend knitting swatches and switching needles until you get what you need, then unravel and resuse. The way I do it to keep from butchering the yarn too much is to knit with the reccomended needles for several inches, measure my gage, and if it’s wrong, switch needles on that same swatch and knit a few more inches, test gage, etc. This gives me a long swatch, but allows me to only unravel once instead of many times. You just have to make sure you knit enough inches to let the new gage fully take affect; an inch with new needles may still be affected by the gage just below it. I just pick up the new needles, and knit from the old with the new.

Of course, you could always get more yarn too… even if you have to order it and it will take a while to arrive, you can start with what you’ve got and use the new stuff to finish up with…

:oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:
That’s what I was [color=red]thinking[/color]; I totally wasn’t paying attention and reversed the numbers 18 & 22. :??

Sorry … :cry:

Bad ekgheiy! slap :lol:

Okay, just measured my row gauge and I’m getting almost 4.5" (but I think it’s supposed to be 4"). So, I am knitting too tightly, then… I thought this was the case, since my yarn has a hard time moving on my needles. Now I’m not sure if I should try knitting a little more loosely or if I should go up a needle size. I’m doing a baby sweater that has three colors every two rows, so I guess the stitch gauge is important for this project.

I really want to get started on my project, and trying to obtain the right gauge is a bit frustrating! But I guess that’s all part of knitting…

Thanks again for your help!

I have always been told that you should never try to adjust your gauge, you should only increase or decrease (depending) on your needle size.

Your knitting is supposed to be able to slide around a bit on your needles. I think Yellowness pointed out the other day for someone else that most new knitters work too closely to the end of their needles. Try to work about an inch back from the end of the needles and that will reduce the tightness. Look at a couple of Amy’s videos to see how it works. Good luck!

I do have that habit of knitting close to the tips. I started knitting a little looser, but my stitches look a little uneven now. Some are bigger looking than others.

I realized that my row gauge is probably correct, since the swatch gauge asked me to cast on 22 sts instead of 18. It’s 18 sts= 4", and I have 22 sts and it’s 4.5". I’m going to knit a bit more on this swatch with the same needles, just positioned differently, then I’ll try going up a needle size.