Making A Gauge Swatch

Knitting the Swatch

Cast on 50 stitches, 25 on each side of center 0. Knit 10 rows in pattern stitch for the garment to be made; this tutorial is for stockinet, but use slip, tuck, or fairisle if that will be what is used in your garment.

Knit 2 rows contrast color in stockinet, no matter what the rest of the swatch pattern is.

swatch 1

RC 000. Change to main color. Knit 20 rows. Bring needles 16 left and 16 right of center 0 all the way forward. Cut two 6" lengths of contrast yarn. Manually knit each piece through the stitch on an extended needle.

swatch 2

Knit another 20 rows main color. Change to contrast color and knit 2 rows. Change back to main color. Knit 6 rows.  This step is not shown in the manual, but it is very helpful. Make an eyelet for each number on the stitch dial. Example: if you have been knitting at tension 6, make six eyelets by transferring the stitch to an adjacent needle and returning the emptied needle to work position. If the tension dial was set at the dot between numbers, skip over several stitches and make a single eyelet to represent the dot. Knit 4 rows and bind off.

tube swatch

The fabric has been stretched widthwise while knitting. Roll the swatch lengthwise into a tube and give it a couple of sharp tugs to help pull the stitches into shape. Some old patterns refer to this step as "tubing"; the term really isn't used much now, but if you see it in an older pattern, this is what it means.

Let the swatch rest for several hours; overnight is best. Launder it exactly as you will the finished garment.

Measuring Gauge

The LK 150 comes with a yellow gauge ruler. It is designed to automatically give you the number of stitches and rows in 10 cm, which is so close to 4" that we accept it.

Smooth out the swatch on a flat surface. If it is rolling badly, pin each corner, and once in the center of each side. Do not stretch it in any direction.

measure swatch s

Turn the gauge scale with the S side up. Lay this end next to one of the contrast color stitches in the center of the swatch. This should be just to the inside of the contrast stitch. Adjust the scale so that the top edge just touches the bottom of the other contrast stitch.

The number on the scale, just to the inside of the contrast stitch, is how many stitches there are in 10 cm, or 4". Divide by 4 for the number of stitches  per inch. Be sure to include any fraction of a stitch.Write this down.

measure swatch r

Turn the gauge scale so that the R side is up. Place this end right where the contrast and main color rows meet at the top of the swatch. Adjust the scale so that it parallels a column of stitches down to the bottom of the swatch. Read the number where the contrast yarn and main colors meet. This is the number of rows in 10 cm (4"). Divide by 4 for the number of rows per inch. Be sure to include any fraction of a row. Write this down.


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This tutorial was copyrighted and uploaded to the original Clearwater Knits website in 1997. This page was added July 30, 2016.