This is a gauge swatch that I started knitting for my CIP correspondence course. As you can see… it was not knit with the same gauge throughout, and looks a little wonky (ok a lot wonky). It may look like I knit this gauge with different needle sizes to try to meet my gauge, but this entire swatch was knit with a size 7 needle. I didn’t switch needles.
I did get to my intended gauge.
But I also kept going past that point because I wanted to use this as an example that gauge change can happen when using the same set of needles throughout any project.
As more experienced knitters, most of us know this already. But we can always use a helpful reminder to bring it back to the forefront of knitting knowledge.
Just because we get the correct gauge required for a pattern in our swatch and the beginning of our project, does not necessarily mean we will hold that gauge as the project progresses. Our gauge can and will change as the day, days, and weeks go on.
There are many variations that can affect our gauge. The type of needle used, the time of day (or time of month if you are a lady), your environment, your emotions and stress level, even the weather.
You may have started your knitting project on a nice warm day full of sunshine, blooming flowers, your windows are open and you are enjoying the refreshing air – making you feel cheerful or serene. You did your gauge swatch, and got to gauge, but since you’re in a nice relaxing surrounding your stitches will reflect your relaxed mood and may be loose on the needle you are using.
The next day, you pick up your project, the clouds have moved in making it a little dreary, and your upstairs neighbor is having a party. The music and noise are a little disturbing making you more stressed and nippy. Your stitches that time you knit will reflect your mood and be a little tighter.
Or while you were out and about the cord on your favorite circular needle comes separated from the needle, and you had to make an emergency purchase at the local craft store. The new (and not so nice) needles will have to make do until your favorites are replaced by special order. But until then your yarn doesn’t move as nicely on these needles so you have to knit a little looser.
All this to say…. life happens, and as knitting or crocheting is a part of our life, what happens around us affects what we create with our hands. There is nothing that we can truly do about it, except be aware of it and do the best we can to compensate.
I am going to be honest and say I really dislike making gauge swatches, so I make very few items that are garments or dependent on perfect gauge.
But when I do, I like to keep a continual gauge swatch with me in my project bag. When buying supplies for the project, I simply buy two sets of the same needles, and an extra skein of yarn. (Yes two sets of needles, I justify it by saying that the 2nd set is a back up set incase the set I am using on the project breaks).
Before I pick up my project, I will knit a few rows on the gauge swatch to get a good idea of how my gauge is that day. Then compensate accordingly.
I have learned to control my thoughts and moods when I am in situations that are not so pleasant, so it is not reflected in my knitting as much. My Pastor frequently teaches that it is not what happens to us that matters, but what we do with what happens to us that matters. I try to live by that in every area of our life, including my knitting.
Now if you are reading this, and you are not familiar with the word gauge, or what gauge is…..
Gauge is simply the term we use when we measure how many stitches are in 1″ or 4″ of knitting. When we are knitting a garment or an article that needs to be a certain size or measurement, it is important that we know how many stitches and rows are knit within an 1″x1″, or a 2″x2″ or 4″x4″ square. By knowing that number we can know the number of stitches we need for the total item. Or we can adjust the needle size to meet the gauge requirement s for the pattern we are using.
I will be posting later on how to create a gauge swatch and measure gauge. So stay tuned at the same stitch time and the same stitch channel! (If you didn’t get that you were deprived of watching classic Batman. Quickly remedy this by Google Searching at this link and watch a few cheesy videos.)