It's time for our fourth data post in the #kwswatchexperiment: Canopy Worsted!
For the Canopy Worsted swatch, we asked knitters to cast on 22 stitches using US 7 (4.5 mm) needles and work in stockinette stitch for 46 rows with a 2 stitch garter edge on either side. The needle size was pulled from Courtney’s design, Fiddlehead, from the Boathouse Collection.
For every yarn, measurements were taken pre-and post blocking. Please see previous posts for my measuring and blocking process for these swatches.
CANOPY WORSTED STITCH GAUGES
CANOPY WORSTED ROW GAUGES
LOOSEST VS. TIGHTEST UNBLOCKED
• Swatch 5 had the loosest gauge at 17 sts and 23 rows / 4".
• Swatch 1 had the tightest gauge at 21.33 sts and 26.66 rows / 4".
LOOSEST VS. TIGHTEST BLOCKED
• Swatch 5 became even looser after blocking, and the gauge was 16.5 sts and 22 rows / 4”.
• The gauge of Swatch 1 was the same post-blocking, and it was still the tightest gauge at 21.33 sts and 26.66 rows / 4".
MOST DRAMATIC CHANGE BETWEEN BLOCKED AND UNBLOCKED
• Swatch 3 had the greatest change in stitch gauge: unblocked, the gauge was 17.25 sts / 4”, but after blocking it loosened up to 18.33.
• Swatch 4 had the greatest change in row gauge: unblocked, the gauge was 24 rows / 4”, but after blocking it loosened up ½ row per inch down to 22 rows / 4”.
GAUGE: 18 sts and 24 rnds = 4” (10 cm) in St st on larger needles, after blocking. / NEEDLE: US 7 (4.5 mm) circular.
Due to the large discrepancy in pre- and post-blocked gauges, I took a slightly different approach with the Canopy Worsted and this design, and calculated out what the circumferences would be for all sizes had the loosest (Swatch 5) and tightest knitters (Swatch 1) knit the entire sweater without swatching first.
Had the loosest knitter knit the Fiddlehead pullover using the recommended needle size without swatching first their garment would have been between 2.25-3.5” too large in circumference at the bust and .75-1.25” too large in circumference at the sleeve before blocking, and then grown to 3.25-5.25” too large at the bust and 1-1.75” too large at the upper sleeve after blocking depending on the size they worked.
Had the tightest knitter knit the Fiddlehead pullover using the recommended needle size without swatching first their garment would have been between 5-8.5” too small in circumference at the bust and 1.75-3.25” too small in circumference at the sleeve before and after blocking. In typical garment sizing, 8” is over 2 sizes smaller at the bust!
In both instances, this clearly illustrates how swatching is far from a waste of time or yarn, as so many in opposition claim, as I will confidently argue knitting an entire sweater that does not fit is a much greater waste!
CHANGES IN ROW GAUGE
Every once in a while, we have a frantic knitter or shop owner calling us with a wet-blocked garment that has turned into something so unrecognizable from the intended size and shape they wonder if the really knit a human sized sweater at all. There are usually two factors at play here: the first - and easiest to solve - is that the knitter did not properly remove all of the excess water from the garment before laying it flat to dry, and the weight of the garment distorted the pieces. The second – and larger issue – is that the knitter did not wet block their gauge swatch and only measured the unblocked gauge.
While the tightest row gauge did not change between pre- and post-blocking, the loosest gauge did. As an experiment, I first calculated how many rows the knitter would work to achieve the length given in the pattern. I then used this number of rows to calculate the actual length the garment would be after blocking once the yarn was allowed to behave the way it wants to.
As the graphic clearly illustrates, due to the change in row gauge after blocking, all of the sizes demonstrated a growth in length for the body and sleeves. Not something you want to deal with after knitting an entire garment!
Stay tuned next week for the fifth Data post featuring Cumbria Fingering!