So here’s the deal, you can spend fifteen or twenty minutes knitting a swatch, maybe a little longer if there is a complicated stitch pattern or if you need to try another needle size. But, and it’s a “big” but, when you’re done you know exactly what size needle to use, because trust us, we do not all knit at the same gauge, on the same size needle. Plus if there are textural stitches involved, you have had a chance to practice the stitch before you make your sweater. Ideally, the larger the swatch, the more information you’ll learn about the yarn and the pattern.
It is important to remember that the needle size you see on a yarn band is an average size for a garment, a starting point, so to speak, and the needles stated in the pattern are the size the designer used to get gauge. You might get gauge on a different size needle, especially if you’ve substituted a yarn for the one used in the pattern.
If your gauge has too many stitches per inch, go up one needle size and try again. If you have too few stitches per inch, go down one needle size for the next swatch. In the end, you’ll be glad you did.
Now you have your pattern, selected the correct garment size, purchased enough yarn, worked your swatch and found the perfect needle size. You’re ready to go forth and knit a sweater that fits!
What’s your gauge disaster?
Smile, relax and knit,
Andrea and Shelley