- Paton's Classic, 20 stitches by 38 rows
- Lion Fisherman, 20 stitches by 40 rows
- Cascade 220, 19 stitches by 34 rows
- Cascade Greenland, 20 stitches by 38 rows
Sunday, January 27, 2013
The Instructions for TKGA Level 1 require that Swatches 1, 2, 3, and 14 all use the same yarn and needles. These are also the only ones that require a calculation of gauge, both stitch and row. I initially started to knit Swatch 1, and progressing through to the end. However, Swatch 1 has 2x2 ribbing with garter stitch, Swatch 2 has 1x1 ribbing with stockinette, and Swatch 3 has a cable. That means gauge is more difficult to measure in those swatches. But Swatch 3 is only seed stitch; while more dense than garter or stockinette, it is easier to measure gauge, so I decided to start there.
I gathered some basic yarns: Paton's Classic Wool, Lion Brand Fisherman, Cascade 220, and Cascade Greenland. A circular needle in US7 (I used my Knitter's Pride interchangeable), some measuring tools, and I was off the the races.
I grabbed my needles and that Fisherman yarn, and dived right in. After all, seed stitch is easy, right? It's just knit and purl, over an over; piece of cake!. Well, the first discovery is that I really sucked at seed stitch. My edges (which must be worked, no slipping the first stitch) were WAY too uneven, my knits too tight, my purls too loose, and my finished swatch was too wonky.
So, I ripped it out and started again. And again. And again. Until I FINALLY got a swatch that didn't look like it had been made by a Neanderthal wearing gloves. No offense to Neanderthals intended.
It's not a great swatch, but one I can block into looking a little better. So, I moved on to making swatches out of the other three yarns. And here's were another discovery smacks me upside the head. Take a look at these babies:
Clockwise from top left: Paton's Classic, Lion Fisherman,Cascade 220, and Cascade Greenland. (Click on the picture to embiggen.) All with the exact same needles, all with 25 stitches cast on with long tail, all knitted for 4 1/2 inches (not counting cast on and bind off), and all cast off in pattern. And they were all blocked the same way, at the same time; soaked together in warm water with a smidgen of dish soap, rinsed, pressed in a towel to remove the water, and patted out on a terry towel to dry overnight.
But look at the difference in sizes; no two are the same height or width. The only thing different in these swatches is the yarn itself. The instructions call for the ends to be woven in, but I've left them out here so you can see the difference in the yarns. Each has a different number of plies, different amount of twist, and while all are listed as "worsted" weight yarns, they are varying thicknesses. But what about stitch and row gauge; how do they measure up against each other?
As called for in the TKGA Instructions, I used some contrasting lace weight yarn to mark the area to be measured. I ran it loosely between rows and stitches, and use the TKGA method for calculating gauge: measure to the nearest 1/8 inch between the marking threads (mine conveniently all fell on 1/4 marks), converting to decimals; then count the stitches; divide the stitches by the inches (do not round off); and multiply by 4, rounding down to the nearest whole number. And here's where it got interesting:
Still, there are those difference in sizes, as well as differences in the drape or "hand" of the fabrics. Fisherman and 220 are quite drapey, Paton's is a little less so, and Greenland is quite dense. So even though I have "gotten gauge" on my swatches, what if I was knitting a garment? How would I manage the difference in size caused by the different yarns? By blocking to schematic size. And that will be for the next blog post.