Making a gauge swatch is an essential step for great knitting.
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In knitting it’s really important that you find the right needle to do the job that you need to get done. I'm Vickie Howell from DIY’s Knitty Gritty, and I'm going to show you how to read a yarn label and check for gauge. Now there are tons of different yarns. There's chunky, and there's the sport weight, that’s airing weight, there's all kinds of different textures. And each one requires a different needle to obtain a certain gauge. Now what a gauge is, is the amount of stitches and rows per inch that you're going to get when knitting. You achieve this by using a certain size needle with a certain yarn. Now they give you the symbols for these, for both the gauge and the needle size on the label. That's helpful, although, it is not a rule. Because some people knit a little tight, little loose, whatever. You want to make sure that you want to knit a swatch first to check your gauge, because it would be really rough if you work on your entire project, put all that work into it and then it didn’t fit. So let's get started. For the yarn that I chose, the suggested needle size was an 11. So what I did is I knit up a swatch, supposed to be a 4x4 is a great swatch size. About 10 centimeters. And what I need for my particular project is to get 3 ½ stitches per inch and 5 rows per inch. That will make my garment fit me the way that I want it to fit. So I'm going to check, I can either use a measuring tape or one of this cool little gauge checkers. You want to lie it out and just line it up with the edge of a V of one of the stitches. And then you just start to count. 1-2-2 ½-2 ¾, semi close, but not going to work. I'm not even going to bother checking the row. Because I already know that this size needle isn't going to work. What I'm going to do is I'm going to go a couple needle sizes down and see if I can tighten it up a little bit. So over here, I use size 8 needles. Lining it up, let's count. 1-2-3-4. Super close, but not close enough. Even that ½ stitch per inch will really add up over the length of the garment. Again, not even going to check for the row, because this won't work. Now I'm going to go up in size. I already figure out that the super small isn't going to work, so let's split it down the middle. So for this swatch, I used a size 9 needle. Now line it up, again finding just that edge of a V of a stitch. 1-2-3-3 ½, that’s exactly what I need. So, I might as well check and see if my row gauges. Lining it up again, this time at the tip of the V. 1-2-3-4-5. That’s exactly it, I'm getting my gauge, 3 ½ stitches per inch, 5 rows per inch. Now I'm ready to begin my project.
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