Measuring Your Gauge
Before you begin knitting your sweater there is one very important number left to figure out and that is your gauge. Gauge refers to how many stitches and rows you are getting per inch of knitting. This number is very important because it will be used to make sure your sweater is the correct size for your body.
The beauty of creating a sweater using this framework is that your gauge can be whatever feels good to you, if you want a loose, drapey sweater or a tight, dense sweater both are just fine as long as your gauge is consistent.
When you make your gauge swatch use the stitch pattern you intend to use for your sweater. For your first 30-Day Sweater I recommend using a simple stockinette stitch and then as you become more comfortable with the construction method you can begin branching out into more complicated stitch patterns or detailing.
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!!!
Download and print this worksheet to fill out as you make a gauge swatch and measure it:
Knitting & Blocking Your Swatch
Use the following chart to determine how many stitches you should cast on and how many rows you should knit using the weight of yarn you have chosen for this project. These guidelines include a 4 stitch border of garter stitch to make it easier to measure from the center of the swatch.
|Yarn Weight||Minimum Pattern Stitches||Garter Edge Border||Total Stitches Cast On||Minimum Rows*|
|Fingering||32||4 + 4||40||48|
|Sport||28||4 + 4||36||44|
|DK||24||4 + 4||32||40|
|Worsted||20||4 + 4||28||36|
|Bulky||16||4 + 4||24||32|
|*includes border of 4 rows of garter at beginning and end|
Make sure to wash your swatch. I know that this sounds easy to skip but it is actually a very important step. By washing your swatches you are finding out how they will react when you wash your finished sweater (sometimes it can be surprising) and you’re evening out the stitches at the same time. Believe me, it’s worth it. Here’s how:
- Soak finished swatch in warm water for 10-15 minutes, gently squeezing out all air bubbles.
- Drain sink and squeeze out excess water, being careful not to twist or wring fabric.
- Roll swatch in a clean, dry towel, burrito-style and stomp on rolled towel from end-to-end.
- Remove swatch. Fabric should feel damp but not saturated.
Once you have your swatch(es) washed lay your swatch on a flat surface.
Measuring Your Swatch
Using a RULER (not a tape measure), measure 4 inches in the center of the swatch for both stitches (horizontal) and rows (vertical). Place a straight pin in-between the stitch columns to mark the beginning and then place another at the 4 inch mark. Be sure to place the second pin exactly at the 4 inch mark, DO NOT fudge the numbers to get a certain gauge.
Repeat this step TWO MORE times in different areas of the swatch.
NOTE: Round to the nearest quarter inch. 1/4 = .25, 1/2 = .5, 3/4 = .75
Stitch measurement 1 = ______
Stitch measurement 2 = ______
Stitch measurement 3 = ______
Then use the following equation to find your average:
Add all three measurements ______ and then divide by 3 = ______ (this is your average stitch measurement over 4 inches)
Repeat this sequence for your row measurements
Row measurement 1 = ______
Row measurement 2 = ______
Row measurement 3 = ______
Add all three measurements ______ and then divide by 3 = ______ (this is your average rows measurement over 4 inches)
Once you have your average stitch and row measurement over 4 inches use the following equation to find your stitches per inch:
Average stitch measurement ______ ÷ 4 = Stitch Gauge _______
Average row measurement ______ ÷ 4 = Row Gauge _______
Great job! Now that you have your body measurements, sweater measurements and gauge measurements you are just a few calculations away from casting on the first piece of your sweater!
On Day 3 you will finish up a little bit of math and cast on to begin knitting your sweater.