Gauge swatch question

I have always avoided patterns that required a gauge but now find myself in the position of wanting to make a sweater that actually fits.

My question is, when doing a swatch, do you wash and dry and block it before measuring, or do you just finish the swatch and start measuring? For that matter, do you pin it down on something like an ironing board, and how accurate do your measurements have to be? When do you know it [B]doesn’t[/B] make the gauge? 1/2 a stitch? a whole stitch? 1/4 stitch? Just how finicky is this gauge swatch business?

Thanks bunches

The recommendations are usually to measure the stitches over 4 inches so you usually cast on 30 or so stitches. Depends on your yarn though. Fingering would require more, bulky less.

It is also generally recommended that you wash and dry your swatch. A lot of people don’t do that though. It could make a difference if your yarn is something that stretches out easily or might shrink.

You need to come as close as possible to the gauge recommendations for the pattern. 1/4 stitch off every inch is 1 inch extra every 4 inches. Do the math to figure out how much it is over your own measurements.

Here’s a good info page about the whole thing.

Okay. I’m getting some of the picture here. My pattern says that the row gauge is equally as important as the stitch gauge in this pattern. I am not finding any information anywhere that tells me what to do if my rows are off. Any sage advice?

I know exactly what you are talking about.
And I’ve been in your shoes many times!

If the pattern says that [B]row gauge is equally critical,[/B] then you must trust that information.

The only thing you can do at this point is try other needle sizes. You didn’t say if your row gauge is too tall, or too short…but use a size up or size down depending.

If you can’t find a needle size that will achieve the required stitch & row gauge with the yarn you are using…then you will either have to sack the pattern, or, find a different yarn that WILL conform to gauge.

You won’t be the first knitter that has had to give up on a pattern using an unsuitable yarn. I’ve had to face it many times.

I want to commend you for taking the time and care to check your gauge!
It’s the most important “beforehand work” you’ll ever do when knitting garments!
[COLOR=Black]The Knitters’ Three-Step![/COLOR]

  1. swatch[/B][/COLOR]
    [B][COLOR=Blue]2) knit[/COLOR][/B]
    [B][COLOR=Purple]3) block