Saturday, 7 January 2012

Quick knitting question please...

Hello there knowledgeable knitters! I'm about to embark on a rather ambitious (for me) knitting project and I have a little question that I'd appreciate some help with please. It's a rather silly question, but when testing your gauge, are you supposed to measure your test square completely flat or 'relaxed' with the edges slightly curled?

For example, would you say this test square measures 4” flat...


...or 3.5” 'relaxed'?


Thanks in advance for your nuggets of wisdom and I hope you're all having a good weekend!

17 comments:

  1. I cheat and measure my guage by the inch. I usually make my swatch about 2 inches square, so there's plenty of room to measure my inch. Then you can ignore the curling at the edges and focus on the nice flat bit in the middle :)
    Ashley x

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  2. Hey Ashley, thanks for your reply! I'm so new to this that I don't think I 100% follow you. The pattern I'm making says that 21 stitches x 28 rows in stockinette should measure 4". So I'm just trying to find out whether my test square above is the right size...eeep!

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  3. I would think you would measure it flat. When that four inches is part of a larger piece, it will be flat.

    Also, I sometimes make the test piece a few more stitches than what is supposed to be four inches, just to give myself margin.

    (When I'm being really hardcore, I rinse it and lay it flat to dry, just to be really sure!)

    Good luck with your ambitious project! That is intriguing yarn.

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  4. I'm relative new to knititng as well but as far as I understand you are supposed to treat swatch as the final piece. That means blocking and then measuring.

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  5. I'm with Desert Lily. I always knit my gauge swatch to be more than 4" square, that way I find it's easier to measure, and I would suggest measuring it now, then washing it and let it dry, then measure it again so that way you can see if will change size. You don't want your final knitting to change size once its had its first wash.

    Hope that helps!

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  6. Yep, as previously mentioned, you measure it flat. Once you've started knitting the item you might also want to double check it again to make sure you're still at the same tenion as your swatch.

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  7. Hi Marie, Kristen did a great post on gauge/swatching: http://kristenmakes.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/to-swatch-or-not-to-swatch/ - might be helpful?

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  8. Yep, you measure it flat. But like a few other people say, you should knit a few extra stitches and rows so that your swatch is larger than 4" and you measure a 4" square in the middle of it. That's more accurate than simply knitting a 4" square.

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  9. I will always measure my test squares after I have cast them off and blocked them (i.e. washed them as I intend to wash the knitted item and then pinned them flat to dry). This way you get a better idea of how the finished item will change when you wear it and clean it, so if the yarn shrinks a bit in the wash you can make allowances when you knit it. Always measure flat after blocking would be my advice :)

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  10. I agree with desert lily. I would definitely measure it flat.

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  11. I agree with some of the other comments - make your swatch slightly bigger and then block it as you would for a finished garment. Good luck!

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  12. Thank you all so much, you've been extremely helpful!!!

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  13. I am far from a knitting expert, so all I can really contribute is that I think your yarn is really pretty!

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  14. When swatching it's always best to knit it larger than the size you need to try to achieve. i.e. - if you need to achieve 18 stitches and 24 rows over 4 inches you should knit at least a 5 inch square, and honestly even larger if possible. The swatch should then be washed and dryed per the label instructions and then measured flat.

    I usually add on a about two rows of garter stitch at the top and bottom, as well as about three garter stitches at either side. This will keep the swatch from curling up and make it easier to measure.

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  15. Thank you for asking the question Marie! I've read the responses with interest :-)

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  16. Thanks Shivani for sharing my swatching post! Yeah, I agree with what everyone is saying above. The best way to get the most accurate gauge is to knit a square that is larger than the 4 inches, so that within the swatch you have 4 square inches that will lay flat. And even better, gently handwash, smooth out, and lay the square flat to dry completely before measuring - this will give the most accurate gauge.

    Now all this work is wasted though if you don't pay attention to keeping your gauge consistent while knitting the actual garment. If I'm stressed or rushed I may inadvertently start knitting tighter and once I notice this, I have to go back and rip out those rows. Keep checking your gauge as you go to save yourself from this heartache ;) Can't wait to see what this project is!

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