KW Swatch Experiment

KW Swatch Experiment Data: Canopy Worsted

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.

NOTE: 
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

OBSERVATIONS

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
Stitch Gauge: 
•  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.
Row Gauge:
• 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”.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION

As mentioned, the needle size given in the swatch instructions was pulled from Courtney’s design, Fiddlehead, from the Boathouse Collection

FIDDLEHEAD SPECIFICATIONS
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.

LOOSEST KNITTER

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.

TIGHTEST KNITTER

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!

6 thoughts on “KW Swatch Experiment Data: Canopy Worsted

  1. Hannah Thiessen says:

    You guys are brilliant for doing this. Thank you for taking the time to conduct this amazing, informative experiment!

  2. Kevin Griffin says:

    Kate,

    Thanks for the info…if anything it has taught me to ALWAYS swatch! I believe my sample may have been in this group and i know its asking a lot but any other feedback you can give on my knitting would be sooo appreciated! My goal is to improve my skills as much as possible and that is only done with feedback from people who are more skilled and knowledgeable …

    Thanks in advance for your time and any construcive critism you can provide.
    Kevin

    1. Thanks for your comment! We mentioned this previously (but there is a LOT of info in all these posts so you may have missed it), but we intentionally did not keep track of specific swatchers names as an effort to keep them anonymous, as throughout the series we highlight some specific knitting issues and did not want anyone to feel badly or singled out. For this set of swatches, there were no glaring issues – rowing out, twisted stitches, etc – so you can rest assured your knitting is perfectly fine. Definitely take the time to always swatch, though!

  3. Mary McDaniel says:

    Question… I’ve been reading through this series and have jumped down a rabbit hole of reading a ton of your other tips and tricks posts (SO helpful! Thank you!) and am thinking about my needles. My interchangeable needles are metal and slippery and my dpns are bamboo. Should I be working on the same material? Do you think the material of the needle will effect my gauge? Thank you!

    1. Thanks for your comment and kind words! I actually just referenced this a little in the blog post today (11.18) featuring Cumbria Fingering. A swatcher sent in 2 swatches, one on metal, and one on bamboo, and there was a difference in her gauge. I think it is always better to err on the side of caution and use the same needle type throughout a project. That said, everyone is different, so you could always do a swatch on both needle types you have to see if you produce a different gauge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.