The front and back of the Fire and Brimstone are pinned out and blocking. Coffee was drunk, toast was eaten. I’m tired and sore now so it’s time to just sit and knit..and possibly time for painkillers.
I knit and blocked a swatch of the Heb yesterday, the gauge is pretty good (half a stitch out, which will only make a difference of about two and a half stitches across the back, and the rows were spot on).
The fuzziness of the yarn and the dark colour made it pretty hard to see the stitches to count, but I got there eventually.
The Katarina or as mine is called Kataranarina will be more of a jacket than a cardigan as the Heb has knit into quite a dense springy fabric. I do love the dark bitter chocolate colour of it though and the natural subtle variation of the undyed yarn is lovely.
For the second time although my swatch has been the correct tension – even when washed – the garment will end up rather larger than anticipated. I guess this is what happens when you use a different yarn sometimes, or maybe I’m bad at washing the pieces.
I’m confident that the Surf the Waves will still be gorgeous, it will have drape… just a little more than I’d originally planned and I may never see my hands whilst wearing it…
Once it’s dry I’ll finish it and take a picture.
I swatched earlier.. both to find gauge and to see what the Manos looked like in the stitch pattern. I got gauge with 6mm needles and wow, this cardigan is going to be amazing! The chevron pattern looks fabulous in the Manos and to add to the excitement IT’S SNOWING! Not only is it snowing, but it’s actually lying on the ground!
Once your swatch is competely dry, unpin it, it should now sit flat. Take a tape measure and insert pins across the fabric to show the distance shown for your pattern’s tension (for my swatch 10cm) . Remember to use pins with large ends, normal dressmaking pins will disappear through your knitting.
Pins showing 10cm
Count the stiches between the pins, I have 14 which is the correct tension.
Then measure your distance again, this time vertically up the fabric, and put in your pins.
Pins show 10cm
Count the rows between the pins, – again I made tension with 20 rows over 10cm (*is a smarty pants*).
I now know I have gauge and can cast on with impunity. I will also probably recheck the tension on the actual garment once I get past the first bit just to make sure.
I know swatching is boring. Why should you waste time knitting and possibly reknitting a square when you could be getting on with knitting your sweater or hat or whatever? Well what if the sweater doesn’t actually fit you after you’ve spent weeks working on it, or if your hat could be mistaken for a full body condom?
Knitting to gauge means that the finished item will be the size you want it to be and it will use the yardage the pattern says it will use. You can correct a little with blocking if something is a little small, but if it’s too big, or tiny… it’s going to be frogging time. Even though I know that using the recommended needles for a yarn I usually get my gauge right, I still make a swatch just to be sure. Swatching also gives you a chance to see the yarn knitted up, to see if you like it or, if it’s over a pattern, to get a little practice in before you start the project for real. These are all good things. Remember you need to treat the swatch in the same way you’re going to treat the finished item, so block it, that way you should have a good idea how things will turn out.
Ask yourself “Would I rather knit a small swatch or reknit the entire garment?” I know which I’d prefer…
*Before you knit a garment, you make a test piece of knitting. Your pattern will give the recommended tension you are looking for. If for example the tension guide says 14 stitches and 20 rows = 10 cm in stocking stitch, you knit a square in stocking stitch maybe 20 stitches wide then you count the stitches and rows you have over 10cm of the fabric, if you have fewer stitches than the tension guide you reknit it using smaller needles, if you have more stitches you use larger needles. Even half a stitch out can make a difference.