Friday, April 13, 2012


I've been preparing for a class on gauge and couldn't resist this goofy little sign for the shop I thought I'd share it here, too. 

                                                       Plan ahead
                                                 Knit a swatch

Sometimes, customers just want to be told which needle size to use and don't want to bother with a gauge swatch. I think that it comes from a lack of understanding about gauge, being able to accurately count stitches and knowing what to do with the information when they have it.
When we understand what we are doing, we can make adjustments that will pay off in the long run. When we simply plough ahead, "because I just want to knit," then sometimes the results are a bit surprising ...and disappointing.

To help explain the concept, I knitted up a sampler swatch this week.  Using Galway, I started with a 2.0 mm needle and went up to a 9.0 mm.
Amazingly, we could think up a purpose for every tension of this swatch, but obviously, some areas were more desirable than others!  When Sue saw it, she insisted that we keep it downstairs to help customers understand the effect that needle size has on the fabric size ...and drape. 

And now I'm on a mission to come up with more swatches. 
  • How about one using different needle compositions, all with the same size needle? 
  • What if several of us knit up the same swatch?  Will our gauge be the same? 
  • And then we'll need one made up of different stitch patterns.

Because, after all, an educated knitter is a happy knitter!

(Interestingly, as I wrote this blog and tried to get consistent font sizes, the program kept hanging up on me.  It looked a bit like my swatch ...with tiny stitches and huge stitches ;)

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