October 14th, 2017

Ready, Set, Knit! Show 505: Kathy Talks With Vickie Howell

Share Button

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This week, on Ready, Set, Knit!, Kathy is talking with our dear friend, Vickie Howell! Last week, Vickie’s latest (and highly anticipated) project premiered: The Knit Show with Vickie Howell! The Knit Show is an episodic – i.e. totally bingeable – knitting and crochet series available in its entirety for free on YouTube. Each episode has a theme, like brioche or color,  and includes tips, techniques, and interviews with leaders in our industry – including WEBS’ own Kathy Elkins! Listen to hear more about The Knit Show with Vickie Howell, and don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel so you don’t miss out on a single episode! Check out the website to see each pattern featured in the show, and don’t forget to tag #myknithive and @theknitshow when you’re out and about knitting and crocheting with friends!



Steve’s Yarn Picks of the Week:

Reminder

We’ve teamed up with Northampton Brewery for Knit and Crochet Nites every Tuesday from 5:30 until 8, starting this week, Tuesday 10/17! Come grab a beer or a refreshing drink, a snack, and spend some time with like minded crafters! We’ll have prizes and goodies, so don’t miss out!

Click here to receive emails from Twist Collective so you don’t miss out on any news!

The 2017 Fall Catalog is LIVE! Click here to view our gorgeous collection of yarns and patterns for fall!

Fall classes are LIVE!! Have you been itching to take the plunge and learn how to knit or crochet? How about fine-tuning your weaving and spinning skills? Click HERE to take a peek of our full list of class offerings – but be quick! They are known to fill up fast!

Upcoming Events

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of great new products, contests and fun!

Check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

October 7th, 2017

Ready, Set, Knit! Show 504: Kathy Talks With Kate Gilbert

Share Button

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This week, on Ready, Set, Knit!, Kathy is talking with our very own Kate Gilbert of Twist Collective! Twist Collective relaunched this week with an absolutely beautiful fall issue. This is also Twist’s 9th anniversary issue. Twist Collective started in 2008 as a way for designers to publish patterns and earn a fair wage for their work, and as an online magazine, it’s easily accessible to knitters everywhere! Visit Twist Collective’s website over here, and check out the new patterns for fall!



Steve’s Yarn Picks of the Week:

Reminder

On Sunday, October 8th, WEBS will be hosting our annual Knit and Crochet for the Cure event, where we will knit and crochet chemo hats. This is a fantastic way to gather with other crafters in support of a good cause. The event is FREE and taking place in our Northampton, MA store, but we do ask that you please sign up here so we can get a head count for snacks! There will be a supply of yarn available on a first come, first serve basis.

Click here to receive emails from Twist Collective so you don’t miss out on any news!

The 2017 Fall Catalog is LIVE! Click here to view our gorgeous collection of yarns and patterns for fall!

Fall classes are LIVE!! Have you been itching to take the plunge and learn how to knit or crochet? How about fine-tuning your weaving and spinning skills? Click HERE to take a peek of our full list of class offerings – but be quick! They are known to fill up fast!

Upcoming Events

It’s finally here!! Check out The Knit Show with Vickie Howell!! Subscribe to the YouTube channel so you don’t miss out!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of great new products, contests and fun!

Check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

September 30th, 2017

Ready, Set, Knit! Show 503: Kathy Talks With Clara Parkes

Share Button

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

On this week’s episode of Ready, Set, Knit!, Kathy is talking to author, designer, and longtime friend of WEBS, Clara Parkes! Clara just published her 6th book: A Stash of One’s Own, a collection of essays by knitters and yarn lovers including Franklin Habit and Amy Herzog about their relationship with their stash . . . or lack thereof! It’s truly a wonderful read for crafters and non-crafters alike! To pick up a copy, check you LYS, local book store, or click this link!



Steve’s Yarn Picks of the Week:

Reminder

The latest issue of Twist Collective will be going live next week. Click here to receive emails from Twist Collective so you don’t miss out on any news!

The 2017 Fall Catalog is LIVE! Click here to view our gorgeous collection of yarns and patterns for fall! 

Fall classes are LIVE!! Have you been itching to take the plunge and learn how to knit or crochet? How about fine-tuning your weaving and spinning skills? Click HERE to take a peek of our full list of class offerings – but be quick! They are known to fill up fast!

Upcoming Events

On Sunday, October 8th, WEBS will be hosting our annual Knit and Crochet for the Cure event, where we will knit and crochet chemo hats. This is a fantastic way to gather with other crafters in support of a good cause. The event is FREE and taking place in our Northampton, MA store, but we do ask that you please sign up here so we can get a head count for snacks! There will be a supply of yarn available on a first come, first serve basis.

The Knit Show with Vickie Howell premiers on Thursday, October 5th. Subscribe to the YouTube channel so you don’t miss out!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of great new products, contests and fun!

Check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

September 23rd, 2017

Ready, Set, Knit! Show 502: Kathy Talks With Jody Richards

Share Button

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Kathy is talking with our friend Jody Richards of Knotions Magazine this week! Knotions is a fantastic web magazine that offers free patterns and resources for knitters and crocheters so we can all craft smarter! Knotions has generously offered Ready, Set, Knit! listeners a download code for 20% off of their Hatstar ebook! The book is over 50 pages long, and is sure to up your hat game!


Steve’s Yarn Picks of the Week:

The 2017 Fall Catalog is LIVE! Click here to view our gorgeous collection of yarns and patterns for fall! 

Reminder

Fall classes are LIVE!! Have you been itching to take the plunge and learn how to knit or crochet? How about fine-tuning your weaving and spinning skills? Click HERE to take a peek of our full list of class offerings – but be quick! They are known to fill up fast!

WEBS is holding our first-ever Spinning Summit this fall! From September 29th through October 1st, we’ll be holding classes, special Sunday shopping hours for participants, and other exclusive events. Our teachers include the amazing Jillian Moreno, Abby Franquemont, Amy King, and Beth Smith! Check out our brochure over here!

Upcoming Events

Check back next week! 🙂

 

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of great new products, contests and fun!

Check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

September 16th, 2017

Ready, Set, Knit! Show 501: Kathy Talks with Steve

Share Button

On this week’s episode of Ready, Set, Knit! Kathy and Steve are in the studio talking about some of the events that we’re looking forward to this fall – and there are a lot of them! The WEBS Fall Retreat is going on as we speak, but the Spinning Summit is happening starting on September 29th and there are still some spots left. If you’re thinking about heading to Rhinebeck, we’re hosting our annual Rhinebeck bus trip. Spots are filling up quickly – sign up soon! Check out our Events page if you would like to know more about what is happening around WEBS!


Yarn Picks of the Week:

The 2017 Fall Catalog is LIVE! Click here to view our gorgeous collection of yarns and patterns for fall! 

Reminder

Fall classes are LIVE!! Have you been itching to take the plunge and learn how to knit or crochet? How about fine-tuning your weaving and spinning skills? Click HERE to take a peek of our full list of class offerings – but be quick! They are known to fill up fast!

WEBS is holding our first-ever Spinning Summit this fall! From September 29th through October 1st, we’ll be holding classes, special Sunday shopping hours for participants, and other exclusive events. Our teachers include the amazing Jillian Moreno, Abby Franquemont, Amy King, and Beth Smith! Check out our brochure over here!

Upcoming Events

You can sign up for the 11th annual WEBS Rhinebeck Roadtrip RIGHT NOW!! Have you started knitting your sweater yet? Click here for more details and to purchase your ticket…seats always fill up super fast, and you wouldn’t want to miss out!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of great new products, contests and fun!

Check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

September 9th, 2017

Ready, Set, Knit! Show 500: Kathy Talks With Jakob Lang

Share Button

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This week, we’re celebrating our 500th episode! The first episode of Ready, Set, Knit! premiered on November 4th, 2006, and since then, it’s been almost 11 years of fantastic interviews and inspiration. This week, Kathy is talking with Jakob Lang of Lang Yarns, who are also celebrating a milestone – their 150th year in business! Listen to learn more about the Lang family and how their business got started! To top off our celebration, we’re giving away TWO Lang Bjork Cowl kits on Facebook and Instagram. To enter, visit the WEBS Facebook and Instagram pages (both @websyarn) and comment what you would most like to learn about, or who you’d like to hear interviewed. Feel free to enter both, but only one vote will count!

Check out the gorgeous offerings we have from Lang this fall!

…and not to worry! Steve will be back with his yarn picks next week!

The 2017 Fall Catalog is LIVE! Click here to view our gorgeous collection of yarns and patterns for fall! 

Reminder

Fall classes are LIVE!! Have you been itching to take the plunge and learn how to knit or crochet? How about fine-tuning your weaving and spinning skills? Click HERE to take a peek of our full list of class offerings – but be quick! They are known to fill up fast!

WEBS is holding our first-ever Spinning Summit this fall! From September 29th through October 1st, we’ll be holding classes, special Sunday shopping hours for participants, and other exclusive events. Our teachers include the amazing Jillian Moreno, Abby Franquemont, Amy King, and Beth Smith! Check out our brochure over here!

Upcoming Events

You can sign up for the 11th annual WEBS Rhinebeck Roadtrip RIGHT NOW!! Have you started knitting your sweater yet? Click here for more details and to purchase your ticket…seats always fill up super fast, and you wouldn’t want to miss out!

Registration for the WEBS Retreat has filled! If you missed out, please consider signing up for the waitlist. We had many people come off the waitlist last year!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of great new products, contests and fun!

Check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

September 4th, 2017

How To Knit A Swatch

Share Button

In our How To Swatch Series, we’re going over why it’s important to swatch your knitting, how to make the perfect gauge swatch, and advanced techniques for swatching.

Now that you understand why a trustworthy gauge swatch is crucial to knitting, we can dive right into learning how to make the perfect knit swatch. You’ll need a few things to get started:

  • The exact yarn you will use for your project (or you might have a few different yarns you want to swatch with to see which fabric you prefer for a pattern)
  • Your knitting needles, usually 2-3 depending on how well you know the yarn and your own knitting gauge
  • Eucalan Knitting Crochet Wool Wash or other wool wash of your choosing

In this post, I’m going to go over how to make a swatch using the stockinette stitch (knitting on the right side of your swatch and purling on the wrong side). A stockinette swatch is standard in most patterns, however, sometimes you will need to make a swatch in a stitch pattern. I’ll go over how to make a swatch in pattern and count your stitches in the final installment of this series.

Knitting Swatch Size Matters

One of the most common mistakes we see in knitters’ swatches is that they’re not big enough. There are a lot of reasons people have for not creating a large enough gauge swatch: a fear of wasting yarn, boredom, impatience, and incorrect or outdated information about swatching.

A gauge swatch should be at least 8” wide by 8” tall because you want to be able to measure several inches of your swatch at once in several different places to confirm that your gauge is accurate across the entire swatch.

How To Swatch Stockinette Knitting

If your swatch is too small, you won’t be able to find your “knitting groove”. Your groove is your most natural, relaxed knitting. Usually you don’t actually get into your knitting groove for a few rows, so if your swatch is too small, it won’t necessarily be an accurate reflection of your knitting which, in turn, leads to an unreliable gauge swatch.

Not only will a nice big swatch give you a more reliable gauge, but it will also give you a better idea of the fabric you’ll be making while you knit. This is especially important if you’re choosing to knit with a yarn that’s different from the yarn recommended by your pattern or if you’re designing your own piece. An 8” swatch will give you a much better idea of the feel and drape of a fabric than a 4” swatch.

The Edges Of Your Swatch

Knitting in stockinette makes your edges curl—like the edges on the swatch in the image above. For a nice, flat swatch that will be easy to accurately measure, you should knit about an inch of garter stitch (knit on both right and wrong sides) to all four edges of the swatch. Because this edge will help your swatch lay flat, you won’t have to worry that you’re stretching out your stitches while you measure which could result in an inaccurate gauge.

How To Swatch Knitting Garter Stitch Border Swatch

 

To Wash Or Not To Wash

You should treat your swatch the way you plan to treat your final piece. Are you going to wet block your piece and eventually wash it in some way? The same should be true of your swatch. Many fibers will change as a result of washing and blocking. A piece that measures 8” when initially knit could end up being 8.5-9” after washing and blocking. That’s a big difference if you’re making a sweater that you’d like to fit snuggly!

It’s a good idea to get in the habit of taking your gauge both before and after blocking so you can know what the size of your finished and washed garment will be.

Counting Your Knitting Stitch Gauge & Row Gauge

There are actually two kinds of gauge you should be comfortable with as you get in the habit of making gauge swatches: Stitch gauge and row gauge.

Stitch gauge is the number of horizontal stitches in each inch of your knitting. To count your stitch gauge, count each “v” of knitting as one stitch in a straight line to the left and right of your knitting.

Knitting Gauge Swatch Stitch Gauge Example IllustrationRow gauge is the number of vertical stitches in each inch of your knitting.

Row gauge is used less commonly than stitch gauge, but if your pattern references it, you should be sure to check how your row gauge compares to the written pattern gauge. Row gauge is particularly important in knitting stitch patterns and cable patterns that require certain sections of the stitch pattern to be located in specific places of your final garment.

Counting stitches for your row gauge is the same as counting your stitch gauge except this time you’ll count vertically instead of horizontally. Count each “v” of knitting as one stitch in a straight line up and down.

How to count row gauge example swatchDo I Go Up Or Down In Needle Size

This is always a little tricky to think about. You’ve knit your gauge swatch and your gauge is 6 stitches to the inch on US 7 needles. However, you’re pattern is calling for a gauge of 7 stitches per inch on US 7s. As you know, you’ll need to make another swatch with a different needle size, but how do you know whether to adjust up or down?

If you need to add more stitches to your gauge, as is the case in this example (you need to be knitting one more stitch per inch), you should adjust your needle size down. A smaller needle will create smaller stitches, so you would be more likely to knit the correct gauge on a US 5 or 6.

If you need less stitches to reach the correct gauge, you should adjust your needle size up. A larger needle creates larger stitches which means there are less stitches in every inch of your knitting. So if you were knitting at 6 stitches per inch on US 7 needles but your pattern called for 5 stitches per inch, you should try swatching on a US 8 or 9 to reach the appropriate gauge.

Congratulations, you’re now a swatching champion! Stay tuned for our final installment of the How To Swatch Series to learn some specialty swatching skills like swatching in the round and swatching in pattern!

 

September 2nd, 2017

Ready, Set, Knit! Show 499: Kathy Talks With Stacy Charles

Share Button

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This week, on Ready, Set, Knit!, Kathy is talking with one of our favorite RSK guests, Stacy Charles in-studio! Listen to hear more about the latest additions to his Tahki Yarns, and Stacy Charles Fine Yarns S Line collection for fall! Listen to hear more about Tahki Arctic, Nevada, and Vermont, as well as the Oh Natural collection for 2017! Don’t forget to take a look at the stunning new yarns added to the Stacy Charles Fine Yarns S Line collection, Luccica and Imperial.

The 2017 Fall Catalog is LIVE! Click here to view our gorgeous collection of yarns and patterns for fall! 

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder

WEBS is donating 5% of sales to the American Red Cross in support of those affected by Hurricane Harvey from now until Monday, June 4th. For more information, please visit yarn.com.

This is the last week of the WEBS Summer Sale! Click here to check out more of our fantastic offerings!

Fall classes are LIVE!! Have you been itching to take the plunge and learn how to knit or crochet? How about fine-tuning your weaving and spinning skills? Click HERE to take a peek of our full list of class offerings – but be quick! They are known to fill up fast!

WEBS is holding our first-ever Spinning Summit this fall! From September 29th through October 1st, we’ll be holding classes, special Sunday shopping hours for participants, and other exclusive events. Our teachers include the amazing Jillian Moreno, Abby Franquemont, Amy King, and Beth Smith! Check out our brochure over here!

Upcoming Events

You can sign up for the 11th annual WEBS Rhinebeck Roadtrip RIGHT NOW!! Have you started knitting your sweater yet? Click here for more details and to purchase your ticket…seats always fill up super fast, and you wouldn’t want to miss out!

Registration for the WEBS Retreat has filled! If you missed out, please consider signing up for the waitlist. We had many people come off the waitlist last year!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of great new products, contests and fun!

Check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

August 26th, 2017

Ready, Set, Knit! Show 498: Kathy Talks with Michelle Maynard

Share Button

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This week, Kathy is talking with Michelle Maynard of Project Knitwell. Project Knitwell is a DC Metro-based organization that advocates knitting as a part of wellness. Adhering to the philosophy that knitting is therapeutic to people who are facing difficult situations, Project Knitwell helps teach knitting to the homeless, at-risk youths, and those who may be in the hospital, whether it be the waiting room, or as a patient. Volunteers help to teach and provide quality supplies at no cost to participants. To learn more about how you can get involved, whether it be through marketing, teaching, needle donations, or through a monetary donation, click here!

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Reminder

This is the last week of the WEBS Summer Sale! Click here to check out more of our fantastic offerings!

Fall classes are LIVE!! Have you been itching to take the plunge and learn how to knit or crochet? How about fine-tuning your weaving and spinning skills? Click HERE to take a peek of our full list of class offerings – but be quick! They are known to fill up fast!

WEBS is holding our first-ever Spinning Summit this fall! From September 29th through October 1st, we’ll be holding classes, special Sunday shopping hours for participants, and other exclusive events. Our teachers include the amazing Jillian Moreno, Abby Franquemont, Amy King, and Beth Smith! Check out our brochure over here! 

Upcoming Events

You can sign up for the 11th annual WEBS Rhinebeck Roadtrip RIGHT NOW!! Have you started knitting your sweater yet? Click here for more details and to purchase your ticket…seats always fill up super fast, and you wouldn’t want to miss out!

Registration for the WEBS Retreat has filled! If you missed out, please consider signing up for the waitlist. We had many people come off the waitlist last year!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of great new products, contests and fun!

Check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

August 19th, 2017

How To Swatch: Why Swatching Your Knitting Is Important

Share Button

how to swatch knitting | valley yarns northampton

Learning how to swatch correctly is one of the most important things you can do to bring your knitting to the next level. It’s also the step many knitters are keen to shorten or skip entirely. But often, when we field knitters’ questions about why a garment didn’t work out, the problem could have been avoided if a proper swatch had been worked before starting.

In this three part series, I’m going to walk you through how to swatch to achieve the best possible results in all your future knitting projects. First, we’ll go over why swatching is so important to knitting, especially if you’re knitting garments. In the second part, I’ll cover how to swatch with details about how big your swatch should be and how exactly to count your stitches to achieve the most accurate gauge. And in the third part, I’ll go over some advanced swatching techniques: how to swatch in pattern, how to swatch for colorwork, and how to swatch for pieces that will be worked in the round.

Isn’t Swatching The Worst?

I used to hate swatching, too. I didn’t like to “waste” yarn and all I wanted to do was dive into knitting my sweater. But after hundred of stitches, I would try my sweater on and be disappointed. My sweaters rarely fit properly and my incorrect gauge would even throw off the stitch pattern’s placement around necklines and armhole decreases.  

I eventually realized–especially after taking a few classes at WEBS–that swatching really mattered and I needed to reframe my view of it.

It’s definitely not a waste of yarn. By figuring out a proper gauge I avoid wasting yarn making a garment that doesn’t fit me properly. I also started to look at swatching as practice for my upcoming work: knitting a pattern swatch helps me get the hang of it and develop some muscle memory around the stitches.

I’ve actually sort of grown to love swatching! (Don’t worry, I still hate weaving in my ends!) I pick up an extra skein of yarn and take my time finding the proper gauge whenever I start a project. Sometimes it only takes one swatch, other times a few. If I’m designing, I swatch until I’m 100% satisfied with my gauge and fabric before knitting my first sample.

hot to swatch knitting | madelinetosh tosh sock | malabrigo mechita

Swatches of Malabrigo Mechita and Madelinetosh Tosh Sock I made as I designed the colorwork pattern of a sweater I’m working on.

Why Swatching Your Knitting Important (H1)

The main reason why it’s so important to swatch is to confidently know your gauge: how many stitches fit into one inch of your knitting. If your pattern’s gauge is 5 stitches to the inch on US size 7 needles with a worsted weight yarn, you can’t assume that you will automatically knit the same gauge with size 7 needles and a worsted weight yarn. Take a moment to click on the link for worsted weight yarn and compare the gauges.

Did you notice how much variety there was in our worsted weight selection? The yarns’ gauge could vary anywhere between 4.5 stitches per inch on US 8 needles to 5 stitches per inch on US 6 needles.  

There will even be gauge variation in the yarn itself! Let’s take a look at Malabrigo Rios, pictured below:

Malabrigo Rios Yarn Hanks | WEBS How To Swatch Knitting

We list Malabrigo Rios’ gauge as 4.5-5.5sts = 1″ on US 6-8. Would you be able to knit this gauge at 5 stitches per inch? Definitely! Will it be on the US 7 needles you prefer to use? There’s no way to accurately know without making a gauge swatch.

You might then ask, “But I’ve knit with Malabrigo Rios before and I know what my gauge is! Can’t I just assume it’s still the same?”

The answer is maybe. If you’re going to knit a scarf or a shawl and you know that in the past you’ve really enjoyed the fabric you’ve knit with Rios on US 7 needles, skip the swatch. Just be aware that if you’re following a pattern, you might run into yardage issues if you’re not sure of your gauge compared to the pattern.

But if you’re going to knit a sweater, you should definitely knit another set of swatches. Start with the needle size you think will be right and double check! It’s better to know certainly that your gauge with that particular yarn and needle combination hasn’t changed before knitting a garment that ends up not fitting you properly.

Factors That Affect Your Knitting Gauge 

It’s important to recheck your gauge because so many things can affect it. Anything from how you’re feeling that day to what kind of dye is being used in the yarn can alter the the way you know.

How to swatch Valley Yarns Haydenville

Working large swatches of at least 8″ will help you find your knitting groove and yield a more accurate gauge swatch.

Your Knitting Needles

Different knitting needle materials will yield different gauges from the same knitter. I’ve been knitting with Knitter’s Pride Dreamz for awhile and was reliably knitting about one needle size down from what a pattern would call for. I recently picked up a set of Knitter’s Pride Royale special needles. They have a metal tip but are otherwise the same as Dreamz. This seemingly small difference changed my gauge! On the Royales my gauge is frequently correct in the needle size recommended by the pattern.

Yarn Materials & Dye

A worsted weight yarn that’s 100% wool is going to knit differently than a worsted weight yarn that’s a cotton blend. Even the same yarn you used a year ago could have a slightly different dye component that can affect your gauge. There’s really no way of knowing how a yarn is going to behave on your needles, even if it’s a yarn you’re familiar with, until you knit up a new gauge swatch and find out.

How Much Time You Spend Knitting 

We recommend large gauge swatches for a reason, and it’s really not because we want you to buy more yarn! A large gauge swatch of at least 8 inches helps you get into your knitting groove. If you only knit a 4” x 4” swatch, you’re not really knitting the way you would knit when you spend a couple of hours working on the body of a sweater while binging your favorite Netflix show. We all tend to loosen up a bit as we knit for longer periods of time and a large swatch helps mimic your natural knitting. A swatch that is closer to your natural knitting rhythm will yield a more trustworthy gauge swatch and a more accurate final project.

How You Feel While You’re Knitting

The mood you’re in on any given day can also affect your gauge! If you knit a small swatch while you’re really stressed out after a hard day at work, imagine how much tighter your tension will be than if you knit that same small swatch after a couple of glasses of wine on a Saturday. Neither will be an accurate representation of your gauge! Knitting a larger swatch will help alleviate any quirks in tension caused by any good or bad emotions you might be feeling that day.

A Small Difference In Gauge Makes A Big Difference In Final Project

So we convinced you and you’ve knit a nice big gauge swatch, now it’s time to count your stitches per inch. (We’ll cover this in more detail in the next post.) You realize that instead of your gauge being 5 stitches per inch on the nose, it’s 5.25 stitches. It’s such a small difference, you might be tempted to say that it’s good enough and knit your final project.

But a ¼ stitch difference per inch across an entire garment really adds up. Let’s say you’re making a sweater with a gauge of 5 stitches per inch. If your sweater’s total circumference is 38”, at 5 stitches per inch, the pattern would ask you to cast on 190 stitches. If you cast on those 190 stitches with a gauge of 5.25 stitches per inch, your final garment will actually measure about 36”. You’ll lose two whole inches of circumference from that little difference!

Now, if you really wanted to keep your gauge of 5.25 stitches per inch, you could do a bunch of math to make your pattern fit your gauge. But that’s a post for a different day.

Everyone Knits Differently

This is really important when you’re following patterns. Your gauge with a worsted weight yarn on US 7 needles is most likely different than what the pattern author’s gauge is with the same yarn and needles. Take a look at these two swatches of Valley Yarn Northampton:

Valley Yarns Northampton Swatches | two different knitters

At first glance, you might think these two swatches are knit on drastically different size needles. However, they’re the same yarn on the same needles knit by two different people! It’s the perfect example of why you can’t assume that your knitting is going to match the knitting of a pattern designer.

TL;DR? Swatching is key to insure that you’re knitting at the correct gauge for the pattern you’re following. It will ultimately save you a lot of time and frustration. There’s no better feeling than being able to trust your knitting and follow a pattern without fear that your end result won’t fit properly.

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to catch the next installment of our Swatching Series!