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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Knitting Patterns

Knitting Patterns

Gauge Counts
Even though you may want to jump right in there and start using a knitting pattern it is a good idea to make a knitting pattern gauge swatch. Don't skip this step, you will be sorry and it's not worth it. Half a stitch in one inch can end up making a big difference to the overall size of a sweater from a knitting pattern. Always knit the swatch in the stitch that you will use. Obviously different knitting patterns end up with different sizes so this matters. I always try to make my swatch big enough to make it a good test. I usually go for at least 4" x 4". Surround the swatch with a few rows of seed stitch knitting (knit or purl the opposite stitch of what you see facing you on odd number rows). Begin and end each row with four seed stitches as well. This stitch lies very flat and will help you measure accurately.
Needle size is much less important than tension with a knitting pattern. Some people are loose with their knitting pattern while others are tight with their knitting pattern. This can also vary from day to day with some people. You can deliberately adapt you tension to create a different knitting pattern look. Loose knitting pattern for a light open feel and tighter knitting pattern for a warmer feel. The tighter weave may feel stiffer while the more loose knitting piece may feel softer.
When you have finished the swatch let it sit for awhile. The yarn needs to relax and even out any tight spots. Now count the stitches and measure the rows per inch of knitting pattern with a cloth tape. Remember to try a measurement in a few different places. Another way is to just calculate how big the total knitting pattern swatch should be. If 16 stitches were cast on for the knitting pattern and the gauge is 4st=1" the swatch should measure 4" (don't measure the seed stitches on each end). If you are too large, try needles that are a size smaller. Or if you are too small, try larger needles. Now you have finished you can start your knitting pattern with confidence knowing that the product of your labors will actually find you!
Knitting Nova owns a few blogs – Knitting Essentials, Free Knitting Patterns, Knitting Instructions
Knitting Patterns

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