Ultra Swatch

Quite a few bloggers of late ** have been blogging about swatching and it's all added up one unignorable mantra in my head "Wash and block your swatches... wash and block your swatches..."

Not only that, but measure them again.
And compare to the original pre-washed.
With Scientific. Rigour.
So much prep! But like with your walls, you know that if you don't do all the careful prep work before you paint them you'll live to regret it.
So..I did it.
Hell with being sick, there's not much else to do.

I washed and and blocked three swatches for the Ultra Raglan.
From top to bottom:
7mm plastic (from the early days..I know, I know, what was I thinking? Don't worry I'm past that now) 6.5 mm bamboo and 6 mm steel ( !!!! like dentist tools...my teeth were practically vibrating as I worked with them..ugh!..but they were all I had in 6mm in the house).

And yes I can confirm there is quite some variation between the pre-washed and post-washed.
Shrinkage even.

But neither pre nor post washing on any needle has rendered correct gauge.
Target gauge is 13.5 st x 18 rows on 7mms, and the closest I can get is 12.5 st x 16.5 rows post-wash on the 6mm.

Now, my brain is still feeling a bit like cotton wool thanks to Mr. Virus so should I swatch again on 5.5s?

This is in addition to heeding wise bloggy advice on Jo Sharp sizing (go down a size), and given that almost everything I've knitted thus far has ended up too big (I'm a loose knitter), I would so like to knit something that I can actually wear that isn't a scarf.

I feel like I should mention the recent unpleasantness because to not do so would be like to not mention the elephant in the room. Suffice to say thanks to everyone for your great comments of support and encouragement, they were all actually really cool. I'm blown away that I have so many intelligent and thoughtful readers. Really. So thank you!

In a further ironic twist, Anonymous alerted me to the fact that I had 40 ( 40!! ) subscribers! Which is approximately 37 more than I assumed I had. So thankyou Anonymous too. And Di, I'm sure they are hanging around like an arsonist invariably returns to the scene of the fire to watch the firefighters putting it out.

** Edited to add: D'oh! I just knew there was someone I missed, Jaqui is the last but no means least ( in fact I think she may have started me off on this swatch-blockin' thang in the first place) blogger.


Blogger Ashley said...

You could try doing what I often do, because I can never get aguge for anything: I'll just knit a size smaller than I would normally, and hope very hard for the bet.

Or, you could be a responsible and upstanding knitter and try going down to the 5.5s.

Also, I have you at 46 subscribers, you madly popular thing, you.

30 March 2007 at 12:05 pm  
Blogger Rose Red said...

I'm useless on the maths, but maybe if you use the 6mm gauge numbers and the measurements of the garment, you can work out what size to knit - so if the jumper is 40cm across the back, and you do 12.5 st/10cm, then you need to cast on 50 st (and do the same with length and row gauge) and pick the size that is closest to that (does that make sense??) Because if you keep going down a stick size, you might end up with a really tight or stiff fabric. Anyhoo, good luck!

30 March 2007 at 12:08 pm  
Blogger jacqui said...

Hi Carson,
I'm just catching up on my blog reading and like other readers, wanted to send a message of support. Glad you're still here. Nuff said. On to the swatching question. I would probably stay with the 6's. You're only one stitch off on the stitch gauge, so that will only be 4 or 5 stitches across the width of the jumper. Is the size you are making quite a bit smaller than your measurements? I don't have the pattern, but often Jo Sharp has instructions like 'knit until work measures 45cm from cast-on edge' so it doesn't matter if you have to knit a few extra rows because your row gauge is short - you will still end up with the right shape. I think this is correct? I'm so totally not an expert! I'm babbling - I'll go now.

30 March 2007 at 2:43 pm  
Blogger jacqui said...

Ah me... I realized my mistake straight away. Fewer rows, not more. I think I need a cup of tea.

30 March 2007 at 2:55 pm  
Blogger Pikku- Kettu said...

I typically ignore row gauge, unless I'm knitting cables or something where the actual amount of rows matters. In most knitting, you knit until you reach a certain length and the number of rows be damned.

And like Ashley, I never seem to get perfect stitch gauge either. In most cases I go with a bit smaller gauge (2-4 s/") and the right size for me. This way I get the benefit of Jo Sharp's advice without wondering whether I'll look like something very big stuffed into something very small (I'm not good with the metaphores).

Anyhoo, don't give a damn about those anynomous comments. I'm sure you're strong enough to take those, since you know their dead wrong. And what's in a number anyway? I don't subscribe to your blog through any service that you could track, I just use a RSS reader. And I still read each and every post. And I enjoy all of them, whether I comment or not. :)

30 March 2007 at 3:43 pm  
Blogger Christy said...

Holy crap...I just read anonymous' comment. I think your analogy was spot on. It stinks that some people have so much venom inside.
Good luck swatching. Like above, I, too, rarely get row gauge. I just aim for stitch gauge and go for it. Or I just pick the gauge that I think looks the best with the yarn and do a little math to figure out which size to knit.

30 March 2007 at 4:27 pm  
Blogger Michelle said...

Gauge makes my brain go owie. Perhaps that's why I'm knitting nothing but scarves and dishcloths at present.

Like Christy, I just found the anonymous comment. What the hell?

Some people have way too much time on their hands, and not nearly enough in their hearts.

30 March 2007 at 9:15 pm  
Blogger kgirlknits said...

guage-smauge! Isn't it enough to turn a brain?! I am a bit naughty and use the recommended guage as a guide, so I would go for the 6mm, as you're pretty close...(but i'm naughty!) Don't forget to check your maths with the JS patterns too, gauge does not always = schematic. Am in LOVE with that colour.

31 March 2007 at 8:15 am  
Blogger Moorecat said...

Make that 41 subscribers, Carson.

I found you through "Clementine's Shoes", so blame her...

2 April 2007 at 5:10 pm  
Blogger Flea-Bites said...

I've been off the air for a while, but am sorry to hear that you've had a nasty anonymous comment - I went back and read it - like some of your expressive supporters, I say WTF too! I always enjoy your vessel Wednesdays and your photo today is beautiful - I love oranges and yellows and that photo just invites me in.

2 April 2007 at 10:15 pm  
Blogger AmberCake said...

Oh, maaaaaan... I just drafted up a nice little response, then did something boneheaded and erased it. You're at 93% on the stitch gauge and 92% on row gauge. In the US school system, that's an A. That 6-7% can mean a lot if you're looking at a lot of stitches, BUT you're looking at about 6 extra stitches for every 100. At your gauge, that's only 2 cm. If you're casting on 100, forget it and just follow the directions. If you're casting on 200, take off a dozen stitches. Probably the most caution has to be taken with the measurements that are being created within the pattern as written and that it would be pleasing if it came out as written. I think a lot of the fudging that goes on is as much because of patterns as written and bodies as they are than anything else.

3 April 2007 at 1:57 am  
Blogger Madge said...

Ah, more red I see. You're a scarlet woman, you are!

3 April 2007 at 12:22 pm  

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