Posts Tagged ‘gauge swatch’

Tuesday’s Knitting and Crochet Tip – Using a Salad Spinner

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
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Have you ever held a dripping sweater in your hands and wonder what is the best way to remove the excess water before blocking? Just the right tool may be found in your kitchen.

Use a salad spinner to get out excess water from your knitting or crochet project before blocking.

After I finish knitting or crocheting a project, I like to give it a good soak in some water with wool wash. I’ve tried a number of ways of removing the extra water before pinning it to a blocking board. My favorite and probably the quickest method is to use a salad spinner. It’s a lot more gentle than the spin cycle in my washing machine. I’ve used the towel method, but I don’t love the big pile of wet towels I have at the end. So if the project isn’t too big, I grab my salad spinner.

I’m always impressed by how much excess water I can get out with the salad spinner. (Yay¬†centrifugal force!) A large salad spinner is big enough for many projects such as scarves, shawls, baby garments, lightweight sweaters, and gauge swatches (you do swatch, right?).

What is your favorite method of getting out the water from your project? Leave a note in the comments.


Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Swatching in the Round by Knitting Flat

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
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Thanks to Sara Delaney for this week’s knitting tip on Swatching in the Round by Knitting Flat. This is a particularly good tip if you know your gauge knitting in the round is different than when you knit flat.

My friend, and one of our WEBS instructors, Annie Foley taught me this great trick.

When making a gauge swatch you want to work the swatch in the same manner and on the same needles as the peice you are swatching for. If you are planning to work in the round the best way to swatch is, of course, in the round but casting on 80 stitches to swatch on a 16″ needle or working your whole sweater on double points is kind of ridiculous. Why not just cast on 4″ worth of stiches on the 24″ circular needle you’ll be using for the sweater!

The trick is to work the whole swatch like a big i-cord. Knit across your stitches then DO NOT turn your work over, instead simply slide the stitches all the way back to the right-hand end of the needle and begin working them from right to left again. Just be sure to pull your working yarn across the back of the work nice and loose, leaving lots of slack.

This will leave the stitches along either edge looking all loosy-goosy but the center stitches will truly represent your gauge as worked in the round.


Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Using Eyelets in Your Gauge Swatch

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
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You’ve heard the phrase “gauge swatches don’t lie”. But what happens when you forget what needle size you used for a swatch? You take the time to knit a swatch, trying multiple needle sizes; wash and dry it. Then as you unpin it from your blocking board and admire it, you look down and see a big pile of knitting needles of various sizes piled together. Wait, which size needles did I use again? All that work swatching and now you have to guess at the needle size used.

This has happened to me more than a few times. Sometimes the amount of time from when I swatch to when I’m ready to start knitting a project is too long, and I just can’t remember which needles I used. To deal with this issue, I’ve started knitting a row of eyelets into each section of my knitted swatch. Each set of eyelets represents the needle size I used.

swatch knit with US 6, 5, and 7 knitting needles

If you’ve never knit eyelets before, it’s an easy thing to incorporate into a stockinette swatch.

  • On the knit side, knit across a row until you’re ready to add some eyelets.
  • [YO, K2tog] repeat until you’ve created the same number of eyelets as your needle size.
  • Continue knitting to the end of your row.
  • On the purl side of your swatch, purl across as your normally would. You should have the same number of stitches as the previous rows.

Do you swatch before every project? Or are there only certain types of projects you will swatch for? Tell us about your swatching habits in the comments.

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