Daily Knitter Blog

Making a 4in x 4in/10cm x 10cm Swatch Gauge by Terrie Sewell

April 6th, 2018

Hey Knitters,
Every individual who knits completes their craft differently than another knitter. For instance, some knitters might knit more stitches and rows when making the garment than another knitter when following a pattern. This can cause the garment to be knitted too big, lopsided or too small. That is why it’s important to knit a swatch gauge.
A swatch gauge is used to figure out how many stitches and rows a knitter needs to ensure the garment resembled the pattern used. Regardless of how you complete your knitting project, do not forget that the type of knitting needles used is also an important factor when making a swatch gauge.
How to Make a Swatch Gauge
1. Knit a 4in x 4in swatch, or square, using the same yarn that you are going to use for your project. For example, cast on 20 stitches on an empty knitting needle and knit approximately 10 rows in the stockinette stitch. Stockinette stitch consist of knitting one row and purling the next.
2. When you are finished, dampen or wash your sample swatch.  Do this according to the manufacturer’s instruction on the label. Pin the swatch on a clean surface and allow the swatch to dry. The clean surface can be a drying board, cushion or cardboard.
3. Count the stitches and rows on your swatch.
4. Look at the label on the package of yarn to match the stitches and rows per inch recommended for the yarn that you purchased (instructions). If they match your stitch and row count then you are ready to start knitting.
However, if they do not match, and you have too many stitches and rows, then you are knitting too tightly. For those who knit tightly, you will have to use a larger knitting needle to get the correct gauge. On the other hand, if you have fewer stitches and rows then you are knitting too loosely. You have to use smaller knitting needles.
Tips:
If you are knitting a garment in stockinette or cable stitch you need to block and stretch out the swatch before measuring.
Wash the swatch like you would your finished garment.
If you do not want to count the number of stitches and rows, you can purchase a swatch gauge counter at your local craft store.

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