Whether you are here for the Sheep Camp Sweater KAL or because you want to work up a good gauge swatch, this is the info for you. First, gold star for caring about that swatch. Here are some tips for swatching success:
When your project is knit in the round, swatch in the round for accuracy. I use the Brooklyn Tweed tips for swatching in the round so that my swatch is accurate. We all purl at a different gauge than we knit so if we swatch flat for a project knit in the round then we are not going to get an accurate gauge.
Cast on 4 to 6 more stitches than the gauge, so that when you do measure your swatch the messy edges don’t distort your stitch count. For example, the gauge for the sheep camp sweater is 22 sts wide, so cast on 26 stitches so that you have more elbow room to measure your swatch.
Block that darn swatch. An unblocked swatch is not to be trusted! Some yarns bloom, some yarns relax and stretch, some yarns puff up and shorten, and you don’t know what you are going to get until that swatch has been gently washed and left to dry. Here is how I block a swatch: fill a medium/large bowl with room temperature water. Add a teeny bit of Soak or other wool wash and then submerge your swatch. Let it soak for 20 minutes. Gently squeeze out the excess water and lay the swatch flat to dry. I don’t pin my gauge swatches (except for lace knitting, I pin that to open up the piece and see the lacework) I just usually push around the swatch so that it looks neat and even and walk away. Once that swatch is dry I measure it to find out what’s really going on.
- My gauge is too tight/ too loose! If you have too many stitches per inch, then go up one needle size. If you have too few stitches then go down one needle size. Sorry to be a bad news bear but you need to knit another swatch to make sure you are getting close to where you want to be.
We hope that this info is helpful! If you swatch it up and are stumped regarding your results, drop us an email, give us a call, or pop in and we will do our best to help you out.