Swatch This!

After the Classic Elite Provence arrived in my mailbox, I didn't waste any time winding it up and casting on for a gauge swatch. The label says I can get anywhere from 5.25 to six stitches per inch using US5s to 6s.

And that's exactly what I got. I tend to knit on the loose side, so I knew that if I wanted to get Thea's gauge of 5 stitches per inch, I needed to swatch with a US5.


Upon measuring my (pre-washed) swatch, I got 5.25 stitches per inch. And I was happy. Why? Because I can easily achieve the pattern's five stitches per inch when I block the pieces. Or I can just leave it as is and know that gravity and wear will eventually give me the gauge that I want. As a beginning knitter, one who was still learning about how fiber works, I completely discounted a fiber's ability to stretch. And then I wondered why things never fit right after the first few wearings.

Now, if I had six or seven stitches per inch, I wouldn't be so nonchalant about it--I would reswatch with a bigger needle. You can't compensate for that much difference with blocking. [Conversely, if I had 4.75 stitches per inch, I would reknit a swatch with a smaller needle. You can't block something smaller.] But a quarter of a stitch? That's easily addressed, either by you or by gravity.


I feel compelled to note that the ability to adjust for a quarter inch of gauge also depends on the size of your knitter =)

Oh, I'm going through the joys of swatching too! Ah, Spring...

Even when I block, I never quite seem to manage the right size. I've never quite thought about the ability to block something where my gauge is only off a little bit out where I want it.


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