Sweater knitting requires careful swatching for gauge planning. Every single time that I skimp on this step or skip important parts, I end up ripping out four inches of sweater because it's either going to be too small or huge.

I knit a not-huge swatch, but big enough that I can get a good four inches of width to measure my average gauge. Remember, the gauge gods will lie to you and try to get you to talk yourself into mistakes.

“Oh, sure, I'll just knit for an inch or so, squint sideways, and it will work. If I just scrunch it together a bit, I can make that look like 22 stitches in 4 inches!”

Rip. Rip. Rip.

So here's my gauge swatch for my new sweater, unwashed and unblocked, with four inches marked off by the pins. 24 stitches. Drat.


But let's wash it and see what happens. Do this just like you would wash and block the real thing once it's done. Let it dry before you measure again (you're not going to wear it wet, are you?). Here you go.


22 stitches per inch. Just what the pattern calls for. Perfect. Even the row gauge matches up on this one.

As a reminder to myself, this swatch was knit with 3.5mm/US 4 needles.



Swatch — 4 Comments

  1. Good for you! I am always so impatient with swatching, but hopefully someday I will learn and get it exactly right …

  2. LOL…another swatching reminder! I’m horrible about swatching. Intellectually, I realize swatching will save me a lot of grief, yet I still resist. Even the memory of that self-designed Aran sweater I knit in high school which turned out even too big for my Dad, and thus had to be totally ripped, doesn’t prod me to swatch regularly. Good for you to swatch properly, even going so far as to wash and dry it.

  3. I once knit a jacket to gauge. It was a strange blend of mohair and fit perfectly. Then I blocked it and for some reason when it hit the water for a soak it bloomed…and bloomed some more and grew. Even without pinning out, the sleeves hung over my fingertips. I got brave and felted it. It came out fine but may years later, still needs some kind of edging that I never got around to.

  4. After too many sweater fails, I’m finally talking myself into both swatching and washing (and drying) the swatch. I’m planning to start knitting a sweater soon and the swatch has already been finished. Fingers crossed!