It’s time to start a sweater (we’re making Ursa on our latest knit-along) and you know you want to check your gauge but the sweater is knit in the round. Since we won’t be turning our work and we’ll only be knitting this gauge might be a little different than normal.
As a knitter, I know that my tension is different when I purl than when I knit and since this project will be worked mostly in the round and I won’t be purling much I’d like to make sure I’m getting the stitch count the designer recommends.
I’ve put together some photos on how to knit and block a gauge swatch in the round.
How to Check Knitting Gauge in the Round
When knitting any swatch you want to start with the exact yarn the project will be made in and the same needles you plan to knit the sweater with. Variations on either of these items can result in a different gauge.
For the sweater I’m knitting I need a gauge of 11.5 stitches over 4 inches. I will have 20 stitches on size US 11 (8 mm) needles for this swatch.
Cast on normally. DO NOT TURN.
Now for the strange part! SLIDE your stitches to the other end of the needle so the front of the work is still facing you.
Hold the working yarn from the ball across the back of your hand and knit into the first stitch. Continue knitting across the row. This will create a long, loose float of yarn across the back of your work.
DO NOT TURN. Slide work back to the other end of the needle always keeping the knit side facing you.
After a few rows this is what the piece will start to look like. You can see the knit side of the work on the left and the wrong side or purl side in the right photo.
When the swatch reaches a good height bind off as normal.
Flip the swatch to the wrong side and (YIKES!) cut the floats so the swatch opens flat.
Here’s my swatch. It looks crazy, doesn’t it?! All of those edges seem like they could just fall off but they don’t. Just be gentle.
Next we need to block the swatch. In a small bowl I added a touch of Soak wash and cool water. Submerge the swatch and leave to rest for 15-30 minutes.
Remove the swatch from the bath and gently lay it out on a towel.
Fold the towel over the swatch and lightly roll the towel pressing the water from the yarn.
On a dry towel straighten the swatch, leave it to rest and dry completely.
I block my knit swatch just like I plan to block the finished sweater. I don’t pin a swatch if I don’t plan to pin the sweater.
When the swatch is dry it’s time to measure the stitches. Exciting stuff for a knitter!
I like to use a stiff ruler and gently lay it across a row to count the stitches. I also measure in several locations around the swatch to be sure that one row wasn’t a fluke.
And here we are! Count the Vs of each knit stitch as one stitch. My swatch is measuring 11.5 stitches across 4 inches just like the pattern asked for.
I hope you’ll join me for the Ursa sweater knit-along starting on Thursday, August 1, 2019! Here’s the details:
Thursday, August 1: KAL kickoff and cast-on with details about knitting the half-brioche stitch, neck and shoulders of the sweater.
Thursday, August 8: Working the German short row bust darts and finishing the body of the sweater.
Thursday, August 15: Knitting the sleeves, finishing the neckline and blocking.
Thursday, August 22: Wrap photos!