Friday Special: A Tale of Two Swatches

I hav a feeling looking at my WIP basket it will be a few weeks before I have an FO to post here. Perhaps next Friday I will get that fish hat done and have that to show off.

Today I bring you a special tale. A tale that begins with the desire to knit a yellow cardigan. One night while sleeping, I had a dream about a flowing yellow cardigan. One that didn’t button up the front necessarily but draped nicely when open.  It had 3/4 length sleeves and perhaps a little bit of a lacey detail along the button band. Well shortly after I woke up with a plan.

Off to Ravelry.com I went. This is a magical land with many patterns, and yarns, and pretty pictures! Soon I found my “dream cardigan”. It’s called Rhombi. I even had some yellow sport weight yarn in my stash. Just what the pattern called for.

So I went off to swatch. The pattern calls for 26 stitches per 4″ on a US 4 (3.5mm) needle. I quickly snatched up the appropriate supplies and set down to knit.

swatching the dream cardigan

Oh I was making progress! Soon I would be casting on this amazing sweater and then I could just picture myself wearing it!

Soon the swatch was done and I blocked it out to dry. I picked up my ruler to measure my gauge when it was all dry and here’s what I got:  20 stitches per 4 inches!!!!! Wow, that is much different than what the pattern calls for. That’s only 5 stitches per inch when the pattern calls for 6.5 stitches per inch! What was I going to do??

I sat down and tried changing the pattern to suit my needs, but that is a lot of work and a lot of math. It was just like writing the pattern over again and I really didn’t like the way it was going.  So I busted out the needles again and began a 2nd swatch. This time on US3 (3.25mm) needles to see if I could get closer to the pattern’s called for gauge.

Back to knitting swatches and waiting for them to dry.

Left - Swatch #1 Right - Swatch #2

The second swatch didn’t help much either. I managed to get 22 stitches per 4 inches on it and that only gave me 5.5 stitches per inch. Still off by a whole stitch. I don’t want to go to any smaller needles because it is really starting to make for some dense fabric I’m not keen on, plus I’m rather limited on yarn. I only have 1148 yds of yarn available. I suppose I could find another skein if need be, but it would likely be in a different dyelot.

So my “dream cardigan” isn’t going to happen. I’m still holding out for the “perfect pattern” for the yarn. If any one out there has some suggestions, please let me know! I’ve been searching on Ravelry and I am just not finding what I want.

To see some real FO’s today, head on over to Tami’s and follow the many, many links on her site!

-AMU

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7 thoughts on “Friday Special: A Tale of Two Swatches

  1. Hmmm, that’s frustrating. Did you look at the other projects on rav to see if anyone else had gauge trouble (sometimes happens and the notes often have lots of useful details).

    Fab colour, it’s making me want a yellow cardigan. Which would be a bad plan as yellow makes me look dead 😉

  2. Such a sad tale. I have lived it myself many times. I hope you find another cardigan pattern that will give you a dream sweater.

  3. Very frustrating. I’m having my own swatching issues, so I can definitely relate!

  4. Ugh, that’s so annoying. I recently knit a cardigan that called for 28sts=4″. The pattern used a size 4 needle but I had to go down to a 2!

  5. that’s really frustrating! something along those lines happened to me before, and I just knit it one size smaller than I would have if my gauge was spot on. maybe that could work for you? good luck!

  6. How annoying! I hope you can find something that works for you. I’m terrible at getting gauge too.

  7. Pingback: WIP Wednesday: Tappan Zee Cardigan | Chronicles of a Fiber Engineer

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