Gauge swatches R Us

Lucky for me that I spent the time to do them!  Most of the spinners in our spinning group are attempting a knit-along sweater of their choice, and most of them are already into the project.  I dyed the yarn for my cardigan with some variation in color, but I tried to keep it fairly well within the same color ranges.  Over the weekend we had our grandson for Saturday and part of Sunday, so it wasn’t until Sunday night that I got some gauge swatches knit up.

The first swatch I did was a small one.  The gauge is supposed to be 16 stitches to 4″, so I cast on 16 stitches and knit about 4 inches in length.  The pattern calls for number 9 needles, but I am quite a loose knitter so I tried number 7s with Addi Turbo needles instead.  The swatch came out way too big.  So I went to a size 6 needle, but of another brand (ChiaoGoo).

Size 6 swatch #1

That swatch came out 1/2 inch too small, which multiplied over a whole sweater would spell disaster!  So I did another small swatch with size 7 needles and got the perfect swatch!  Exactly 16 stitches for 4″.  Sounded good, looked good, but for the ultimate decision, I decided to do a large swatch.

So with the size 7 needles I did a double sized square, starting with 32 stitches cast on.  During the Super Bowl I knitted away while watching a movie, and when I figured I had enough of a large square, I cast off and washed and blocked my large square.  Hmm.  Not the result I had expected!

Size 7s don't do it :*(

I again had another result.  Not the one I was hoping for!

As long as I was this invested in the project, I thought that I would do another large swatch, but this time with the size 6 ChiaoGoo needles.

Last swatch

Well, after the second swatch was done, I was really in a quandary.  The size 7 large swatch was too big, and the last swatch on size 6s was a teeny-teeny bit under.  So I had the choice:  use the size 7s and knit the sweater one size under my target size, or use the size 6s and do the larger size.  Sigh!  So I used the tried and true method:  waited until our friend Pam came over and showed them to her.  The fabric of both swatches was very nice, and I think we now have agreement, that I will use the size 6 needles.  Who knew that different makes of needles would have such different results!

(And I really have The KnitMore Girls to thank for embarking upon the “large” gauge swatch.  I love their podcast, and they always talk about the importance of doing a large swatch.  I think that I am a convert!)

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