Sunday, June 2, 2013

Swatching: Who Needs It?

Well, it seems that I need it.  I was so excited, after making things for other people for the past few months (which I loved, don't get me wrong), to be making a sweater for ME.  The Abalone Sweater.  Very simple.  All stockinette and garter stitch.  It would be PERFECT.

Until... it wasn't.  Apparently, I knit more tightly than the person who wrote the pattern and the sweater ended up too small. (For the hordes of readers that I have who are non-knitters, you're supposed to check your gauge, which means knitting a test swatch to see if you have the right number of stitches per inch.)

Wait - don't close this browser window!  It gets more interesting!  ...  Ok, no it doesn't. 

Did I check my gauge?  Do I even know how to do that?  No. And No. So now I have a gorgeous sweater made with about $60 worth of fabulous yarn that doesn't fit.  Luckily, it looks great on my daughter as an oversized sweater.  She actually looks super cute in it and can't wait for fall so she can actually wear it.  And she's very happy.  Which is worth $60 and ten or so hours.

This church dress isn't the best choice for showing off the awesomeness of the sweater, but if you have a seven year old girl, then you know why I chose not to fight this battle.


 Moving right along! I am planning my next project which is the most gorgeous sweater I have ever seen: Opposite Pole by Joji Locatell.  I love everything about this sweater.  The cables, the shape, the flattering waistline, the soft, squishy Malabrigo merino worsted that it's made of, even the color she chose: Simply Taupe, which is also the color I'll be using.

I know you're wondering if I'll be swatching for this sweater.  I know the question is just looming in your mind....  Um, YES.  I researched how to make and measure swatches, how to count stitches, and even how to adjust the pattern to fit the gauge you naturally knit with.  (Did I just blow your mind?  Because it kind of blew mine. And let me just take this opportunity to say that the reason for this blog is that when I get super excited about something like adjusting a pattern to fit my gauge, my husband's eyes glaze over faster than I thought eyes could do that.  So, thanks for reading this far.)

I have finished two swatches.  I like the way the size 10 needles make the fabric look, but the size 11s get me the gauge the pattern calls for.  So, what will I do?  I'll leave you on the edge of your seat...


  1. Um, I'd vote for going with the needles that get gauge. BUT! write down the info you've gleaned from the other swatch, 'coz maybe you can use it for another garment. I had to go up two needle sizes for my niece's sweater, due to knitting a lot tighter than the designer. And how did I know that? I swatched with 3 sizes of needles, baby! And then took apart the swatches, b-coz I can't waste any of the yarn.

  2. P.S. Abalone looks great on your girl! And it'll be a terrific layering piece for fall & winter, and she'll be able to wear it for at least a few years -- you're such a good Mom!