Making your Gauge Swatch
Okay, before we start our cup cozy, we need to do a gauge swatch
, to make sure our cozy will fit around the cup properly.
The cup cozy calls for a gauge of 18 sts and 24 rows = 4” [10 cm] in stocking st
First of all, what is "stocking st"?
This is Stocking Stitch
, otherwise known as Stockinette
Stocking Stitch has a smooth side, and a bumpy side.
The smooth side is all knit stitches
, on Flickr
The bumpy side is all purl stitches
, on Flickr
To make your swatch, grab a pair of size 8 (5 mm) knitting needles, and cast on 22 stitches.
Row 1: Knit all stitches
Row 2: Purl all stitches
Repeat those two rows until your work is at least 5 inches long
. Then pull it off the needle, and lay it out flat on a table. Don't stretch it out, just put it on the table. (No need to cast off stitches. Don't cut the yarn. You can unravel this swatch after you finish measuring it, so you can use the yarn for your project.)
Now, get a ruler, and place it gently on top of the swatch, with the SMOOTH side facing up. Cape - Gauge Swatch
, on Flickr
Do NOT measure from the edge of the swatch. Measure in the center of the fabric. (The edge stitches can get a little wonky, and will distort your stitch count.)
Next, look closely at your fabric, and find the little V's of your knit stitches. You might have to turn your fabric around to make the V's easier to see. Then, use the point of your knitting needle to count the stitches by sticking the point into the center of the V's as you go across the fabric. Be sure to count ALL the stitches, for ALL FOUR INCHES.
If you have half a stitch too much or too little, STILL COUNT IT. For example, you might come up with 17 1/2 stitches, or 18 1/2 stitches across 4 inches. This really does make a difference in your final product, so it's important.
If you count MORE than 18 stitches across, you will need to switch to a larger knitting needle.
If you count LESS than 18 stitches across, you will need to switch to a smaller knitting needle.
If you count EXACTLY 18 stitches, Congratulations!
Keep making swatches, using the same yarn, until you get an exact stitch gauge.
Next, you want to check your ROW GAUGE.
Row gauge is not as important as stitch gauge, because you can always knit an extra row, or less rows, to get your project as long as you want it to be. But, it's still good to know how to check it.
To measure your row gauge, once again, place your swatch flat on a table, with the smooth side facing up.
Then, place your ruler on top of the swatch, from top to bottom. row gauge stockinette
, on Flickr
Once again, count the V's, or the half-V's, from top to bottom. As before, don't measure from the edge of the fabric. Measure in the center.
This is an important thing to learn in knitting. May as well learn it now. Later on, if you want to make a fitted garment, you will be glad you already know how to do a gauge swatch.Experienced knitters can get more detailed with gauge swatching. Some will say that if you are knitting a project in the round, you should do your gauge in the round. Some will say that to get an accurate measurement, you should cast off, cut the yarn, measure it, wash it, lay it out to dry, and measure it again. All of those things can be important, depending on the use and care of your project. For our little cup cozy, we can stick with just basic gauge swatching.