Saturday, November 7, 2015

Vendange Gauge Swatch

I did my gauge swatch for my Vendange sweater.  The pattern calls for a gauge of 15 stitches and 21 rows over 4 inches on US size 10.5 (6.5 mm) needles, unblocked and 14 stitches and 22 rows over 4 inches blocked.  This gauge seemed a bit off to me, so I went to a web site that generates graph paper at any gauge you want to confirm my suspicion.  The graph paper had squat, fat, gravity defying stitches.  I also checked the yarn label, which states 3.75 - 4.5 stitches/inch, and recommends US size 8 - 10 needles (5.0 - 6.0 mm).  I decided to use US 8 needles for my gauge swatch.  It seemed to me that with a sweater this substantial a loose gauge was the last thing that I wanted.

I pulled out a tail and started casting on stitches.  I don't bother counting when I do this, I just make sure to get a good number of stitches on the needle and use the length of the tail to help limit the number of stitches.  I knit a couple of rows of garter to keep the edge from curling and work a few stitches of garter at both edges.  At some point when I'm working a wrong side (purl) row I knit the same number of stitches as the needle size.  It is easier and quicker than a tag or label.  To figure out when to cast off I periodically fold one of the bottom corners up towards the opposite top corner, when the swatch is almost square I work a couple more garter and bind off.  My gauge came out at 17 stitches and 24 rows over 4 inches.  I like the fabric, it has good drape, and holds its shape well, so that is what I will go with.

I no longer sweat about matching gauge.  I knit a swatch, get a fabric that I like and if I need to, do the math to adjust the pattern.  In this case, there is math to do, but it really isn't that hard.  To adjust the number of stitches I just take the number called for in the pattern for my size (small) and multiple by my stitch gauge and then divide by the pattern's stitch gauge.  The lengths are given in inches, so I just multiply the number of inches called for in the pattern by the number of rows per inch of my gauge.  Easy as pie.

Pattern:  Vendange by Anne Hanson
Yarn:  Bare Naked Wools Confection Worsted
Needle:  US 8 (5.0 mm)

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