Reading Between The Lines

See the rnportancc of making a gauge swatch with these two squares of knitting. Each is made with the same cxact number of stitchcs and rows, but ihe one on the left uses a needle one size smaller than the one on the right. Does it inspire yon co make a gauge swatch before starting a whole garment? We hope so!

At first glance, knitting instructions can look intimidating They seem to he written in a completely dlfferciti language from the one you're used to. and contain all .sorts of new concepts and abbreviaiions that you're not familiar with. Hollow along as we help you decipher the knitter's code.

GAUGE

Tlx: first step in garment making, and possibly the most important.step oi all. is making the gauge swatch. The gauge swatch is basically just a square piece of knitted fabric that demonstrates how yon. tlK* needles and the yarn interact be lore you get going on the main project. All patterns give a recommended gauge, or stitches and rows per inch. ;ii ihe beginning of their instructions, usually dircctly below the suggestions for yarn weight and needle size.

In order to make the gauge swatch, gather up the exact yam and needles that you plan 10 use for your project (e\en small differences like yam color and needle brand can affect your gauge!). Cast on a number of stitchcs that will give you at least four inches across, and then work in stockinette stitch 01 the specified stitch pattern until

GAUGE

See the rnportancc of making a gauge swatch with these two squares of knitting. Each is made with the same cxact number of stitchcs and rows, but ihe one on the left uses a needle one size smaller than the one on the right. Does it inspire yon co make a gauge swatch before starting a whole garment? We hope so!

You can measure your gauge swatch between selvage stitches using a tape measure, as chc fi rsc cwo photos show. Or you can use a scitch gauge in the center of your swatch and counc tstitchrps ard rows insido the two-inch (Scm) right angle opcrting.as shown in the third phoio.

you have made a bit more than four vertical inches of fabric.

Ai this point, simply remove the needle from the stitches iwithout binding off) anJ place the sample on a flat, smooth surface like a hmvhvood floor or k itchen table. Usinct w a tape measure, ruler or stitch gauge, measure across low inchcs of tlx knitting in both directions and count the number of stiiches within those four inches (don't ibrcet fractions of stitches). If you have more stitches to the inch than the pattern rccoinmciicls, go up one needle size. If you have fewer stitehes than is desirable, try again with a smaller needle.

Once you get as close as possible to the recommended gauge, go ahead and starr knitting your garment, but don't forget about gauge altogether just yet. (You thought you were done with the gauge thing, didn't you?)

Make your gau&c swatch easier to work wjth t>v including selvage stitches on the edges of the square. These help the piece, of fabric lay nicc and flat, and also simplify the protest of measuring b> giving you definite edges between which to measure. To make selvage stitches, work two rows of saner Stiteh <knit every row) m the top and bottom of the swatch and include two stitches on the beginning and end of each stockinette row that are gaiter stitch as well.

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