Monday, January 28, 2013

Swatching To Get Tension/Gauge - My Way....

There are many different ways to get a good tension/gauge  swatch.  "My way" works for me and I just passed it on to a dear friend as I mentioned to her I was laundering my swatch to start a raglan v-neck sweater.

I always swatch in the pattern I am going to knit.  My method takes into account the ends of the knitted fabric (they knit a bit differently than the center of the swatch).  Most methods only measure the center stitches and rows which are framed by a contrasting color yarn; that makes it easy as you don't have to count stitches and rows.  My method is the same but no markings!  It has not failed me yet for a perfect fit.

Bulky - Cast on for two full pattern repeats (if you are knitting a pattern of any kind) including different colors yarns, tuck and etc. or for stockinette/rib on 40 needles.  Closed edge cast on and knit the swatch for 60 rows; last row (61) at least 4 tension settings higher, loop through a loop cast off.  Set stitches and launder as you plan on doing the finished project.  Then once all dried and blocked, measure the entire swatch and divide the inches by the stitches and rows!  Done.

Standard - Same method except I cast on 60 stitches then knit 60 or 80 rows (depends on the yarn thickness).  Treat the same was as the bulky for measurements.

I like to record the yarn type, gauge and project on a tag which I tie on the swatches.  When making more than one swatch at a time I make overhand knots on the yarn end for the tension setting.  If I am using a T5.2, I make 2 knots at the end of the yarn tail (seven knots on the yarn tail with a large separation and the whole number knots are always closest to the knitted swatch).

Now, if this scares you a bit then try Diana Sullivan's technique (below is her YouTube video) which is perfect!


  1. Tom, I want to give an award!

  2. Anna, the same to you. You are a treasure to our craft, your work is beautiful and photographs amazing! So nice to have a machine knitting friend so far but so close.

    Thank you.