What's your gauge swatch method?

I absolutely hate swatches!I hate them with a passion, but when I was still learning how to knit basics last year, I realized they were a must.Drag. This is strange because I absolutely adore repetitive tasks.I’m probably the only person who would be content finding a needle in a haystack.The thing is, I only love repetitive tasks with results.It makes me feel all sorts of angry knowing the little square I’m knitting up won’t go into making something, just testing out if I’m using the proper tools.

I still glare as I knit my gauge swatches, but now I use a shortcut. I only do about 5 extra stitches than the 4x4 area is supposed to be, and instead of doing the entire 4x4 square, I only knit for 5 or 6 rows.When I’ve knit all those rows, I slide it off the needle and lay it flat, then do my measurements. I do this so that I only get the stitches per inch and not the rows; the rows tend to come out all sorts of odd sizes anyways but can be easily remedied by adding another repeat or not doing one somewhere in the pattern.prepares for tomatoes to be thrown at her >_<

You know, I think I almost cried of happiness yesterday when a gauge swatch came out completely perfect for the first time.

I recently swatched for the Drops Alaska 109-3 cabled cardi!

Gauge requirements: 16st and 20rows = 4" square.

I cast on [B]18 [/B]stitches, and worked st st for the middle 16st, but the end stitches are garter stitch, that is to say “knit” on both WS and RS. I knit for about [B]24 [/B]rows. That gave me a great [U][I]field[/I][/U] to measure the row gauge.

Row gauge isn’t as critical as stitch gauge most of the time. Especially if you are substituting yarn, you might have to decide upon the best needle to get perfect stitch gauge over perfect row gauge.

If you intend to knit garments, [B]a good swatch[/B] is the only [B]‘tool’ [/B]
or ‘indicator’ that tells you the garment ‘will fit’!

Here are 2 photos of my swatch:

For the Drops ALASKA cabled cardigan, accurate ROW gauge is
more critical…and if the row gauge isn’t right, I would have to
make some modifications to certain parts of the design.

I also knit [B]3 ribbing/celtic cable swatches[/B] (in another color of the same tweed yarn)…to tinker around with [I]the look of a longer ribbing[/I] than called for, [I]and to see how tall MY celtic cable would be.[/I] The Celtic cable is a 16-row repeat, so I wanted to know FOR SURE how tall it would be. I used 3 different needle sizes & combinations for these 3 swatches, but finally settled on US9 for ribbing, and US10 for body! [B]Now I am sure that my Alaska 109-3 cardigan will fit![/B]

The fronts and back are all knit on one long needle (no side seams) …and almost 300 stitches wide…and [B]that is too many stitches to ‘practice’ on[/B]…only to find that the sweater is too narrow, and having to frog miles and miles of work! Oy! It is better to practice on a good swatch. Then implement your results on your real sweater!

Here is the ribbing/cable swatch that I settled on!

And here below, I pinned the swatch around my arm…to see if I would like the 3" ribbing for a cuff! (I do!) The pattern only asked for a 1.5" cuff. (It looks lame. Don’t like it at all!)

I didn’t take these photos for this POST. I took them to memorialize my work on this cabledcardigan in my Ravelry folder!

If you are a Raveler, you can follow along here! I am almost done with theMISS BBcardigan, but took time out to tinker around with the pre-work for the “Alaska 109-3”! Fun stuff!

I’ll be casting on for the Alaska while MISS BB is blocking! She is almost completely knit up…just the sleeve cap for the final sleeve, and off to the spa she goes! (blocking: full bath, rinse, pat dry, block)

:OOO That looks amazing!! I guess you’ll probably forget my SN by the time you’re done knitting, but I would love to see it so pretty please post the finished product on here somewhere so that I might drool at it from afar.

I’m going to have to get one of those notched rulers. It’s easier to see how many sts/inch when you have the inches marked off like that.

I’m inspired by this lengthy description. And the photos of the guage with notches, and the horizontal pins to keep the row count straight, are very helpful.

Artlady is an inspiration, isn’t she?

As far as guage swatches, I once read (probably on this forum) a suggestion to save all of them and then later sew them all together for a sampler afghan / throw. You could crochet a little border around them and have a reminder of all of your projects.

Another suggestion would be to use them as coasters.

I work out the required number of stitches for the specified gauge, then double it, so if it says 20st to 4 inches I cast on 40. This is because even a tiny amount out doesn’t show up on such a small swatch. This has bitten me before on large objects as that quarter of a stitch out on 20 stitches can turn into extra inches over 200 or so stitches. However, I only ever make them about an inch or two long (so as the true width isn’t being distorted by the tightness of the cast on or the needle gripping the stitches) as depending on the project the row gauge can be modified as you go. I admit I never wash or block them, I frog the wool and use it in the project

I don’t frog them, [I]unless [/I]I need the yarn at the end of the project. I like to take the swatch to Joann’s when I chose the buttons. I toss the swatch in my handbag…then I always have it when I’m ready to shop for buttons. If I don’t need the swatch for the project, then I pin a note to the swatch, saying what needle size I used. I also pin a yarn label to the swatch. Toss all swatches in a small hat box type thing. They are good for coasters…and also, you could seam 3 sides and use it for your ipod or cell phone. One side would be a different yarn than the other side, prolly!

I read a note by one of our knitters that she like to give the swatches to her DGD’s. The little girls use them for miniature dolly blankets! Cute idea!

Hi! :waving:

I, too, am not the greatest fan of swatching and one of the things that irritated me no end was that I would unravel the swatch to make sure I had enough yarn for whatever I was knitting. And I hated reworking that swatch yarn. Somehow it always looked a bit more worn than the rest of the yarn.

Then it occured to me that if I was working from a center pull ball, why not unwind the yarn for the swatches from the outside of the skein? I almost always have some yarn left over but if I did run a little short, THEN I could unravel the swatch to finish the project. Otherwise I could keep it as a swatch and label it the way Dollyce recommends!

Hope this helps!

Ruthie :waving:

PHEW! I’m not the only one that does that!

Alright guys…you’ve convinced me.I’m saving the swatches and pinning descriptions.When I get too many of the same yarn, I’ll sew them into a blanket…or something for my cat to mangle.At least then it will be put to good use XD

I don’t usually wash/block my swatches either. But sometimes I do when I need to know if I can successfully sssstretch the length a teensy bit, to conform to row gauge! And make it stay put!