KW Swatch Experiment

KW Swatch Experiment Data: Cumbria

It’s time for our next data post in the #kwswatchexperiment: Cumbria!

For the Cumbria swatch, we asked knitters to cast on 21 stitches using US 7 (4.5 mm) needles and work in stockinette stitch with a 2 stitch garter edge on either side. The needle size was pulled from Emma Wright‘s design from the Fell Garth Collection put out by The Fibre Co., Moyna.

NOTE: 
For every yarn, measurements were taken pre-and post blocking. Please see previous posts for my measuring and blocking process for these swatches.

CUMBRIA STITCH GAUGES

CUMBRIA ROW GAUGES

OBSERVATIONS

LOOSEST VS. TIGHTEST UNBLOCKED
• Swatch 5 had the loosest gauge at 18.66 sts and 26 rows / 4″.
• Swatch 6 had the tightest gauge at 21.33 sts and 30.66 rows / 4″.

LOOSEST VS. TIGHTEST BLOCKED
Swatch 5 tightened up a bit, and Swatch 2 became the loosest blocked swatch at 18.25 sts and 27 rows / 4”.
• The gauge of Swatch 6 continued to be the tightest post blocking at a gauge of  21.33 sts and 30.66 rows / 4”.

MOST DRAMATIC CHANGE BETWEEN BLOCKED AND UNBLOCKED
Stitch Gauge: 
•  Swatch 5 had the greatest change in stitch gauge: unblocked, the gauge was 18.66 sts / 4”, but after blocking it tightened up to 20 sts/4”.
Row Gauge:
• Swatch 1 had the greatest change in row gauge: unblocked, the gauge was 27 rows / 4”, but after blocking it tightened upto 28 rows/4”.

GAUGE MATCHING POST BLOCKING
• Swatch 4 and 5 matched stitch gauge post blocking, but the row gauge of both was off by 2 rows  4″. (26 rows as compared to 28).
• Swatch 1 matched Row gauge post blocking, but the stitch gauge was off by a mere .67 stitches /4” (19.33 as compared to 20).

PRACTICAL APPLICATION

As mentioned, the needle size given in the swatch instructions was pulled from Emma Wright‘s design from the Fell Garth Collection put out by The Fibre Co., Moyna.

MOYNA SPECIFICATIONS
GAUGE: 20 sts and 28 rows = 4” (10 cm) in St st on larger needles, after blocking. / NEEDLE: US 7 (4.5 mm) circular.

Since Moyna has pretty straightforward construction – the front and back are knit in pieces, seamed, and joined at the shoulders, then stitches are picked up to work the armholes and neck – I thought it would be a good time to provide some useful tips and tricks on working up a garment such as this once gauge has been achieved.

USEFUL TIP 1 / PICKING A SIZE
Any garment design worth its salt will have a schematic that accompanies the design. This is where you will find a lot of useful information about the finished garment measurements, calculated based on the gauge and number of stitches that are worked. Patterns such as Moyna that feature a panel design element also take the width of the panel into account when calculating the measurements. 

Sometimes patterns will have a recommended ease written into them. This means that the final finished measurements is more (positive ease) or less (negative ease) than your actual bust measurement. If the garment doesn’t have recommended ease, you can look at how it fits the model, look up projects people have posted on Ravelry or Instagram to see how they fit others, or compare finished garments (handknit or otherwise) in your closet to see how much ease they have and how you prefer your pieces to fit. For a vest such as Moyna, I recommend a small amount of ease, maybe 1-2″, to accommodate the layering that is bound to occur, but not much more than that, otherwise the vest will look shapeless and baggy.

USEFUL TIP 2 / WORKING FROM CHARTS
As mentioned, the vest features a cable and bobble pattern down the center front. This pattern provides both written instructions and a chart for working the cable, and I highly encourage you to work the stitch pattern from charts whenever possible. I am a visual learner (to a fault, some concepts of Chemistry sill elude me!) and I find charts to be such a lovely, clear, visual representation of what my knitting (or crochet) should look like. If you only have the wording to go by, there really is no way to know whether or not you are knitting the stitch pattern correctly. Look at the chart not only as a component of the directions, but also as a graphic representation of the pattern itself – a “template” of sorts.

If you’d like to learn more about working from charts, you can find a 4 part Charts Series I created on our Tips and Tricks page here and linked to below.

USEFUL TIP 3 / FINISHING
One of the most important parts of knitting a garment comes at the end when you’re finishing the pieces.

“Finishing” is a large umbrella term that may or may not include blocking, weaving in ends, seaming, connecting pieces using alternate methods such as kitchener stitch or 3 needle bind off, picking up stitches, working buttonbands, armholes, or a neckband, and sewing on buttons. 

I always recommend blocking the pieces first and then doing all of the necessary finishing. There are a few reasons for this – as you all now know, the gauge of a piece may change pre-and post blocking. If you seam pieces together or pick up stitches and then block, the pieces may be distorted or the seaming may buckle. Additionally, managing the weight of an entire wet garment and laying out and pinning the pieces is much more difficult to do than blocking individual pieces in single layers.

If there are large elements that are knit on during the finishing process (a large shawl collar as found in Killybegs for example), you may elect to wet block just that portion, or even steam block the piece. I find that smaller elements, such as a 1″ armband does just fine with some steam blocking, and the benefits of blocking the pieces separately outweigh missing out on wet blocking the whole piece once complete.

There are a few Tips and Tricks I have put together specific to finishing, and they can also be found on our Tips and Tricks page, or via the gallery below:

Hopefully those three tips are useful to you when knitting Moyna – or any other garment! Let us know in the comments if there are other tips you find useful, or if there is an element of knitting a garment you always get stuck on. 

7 thoughts on “KW Swatch Experiment Data: Cumbria

  1. Tracey says:

    I’m so intrigued by all of the people – for all of the yarns – that didn’t follow the instructions for the swatch. They were all supposed to be the same number of rows, right?

    1. AV says:

      Ha ha I was one of the knitters for the swatches (not this swatch in particular) and I did go by the book but sometimes I do more rows or less depending so I can understand why some people do this.

      1. Tracey says:

        I can understand doing more or less rows or stitches when you are swatching for yourself, but for an experiment like this, it should be understood to follow the instructions exactly. I’m guessing they just wanted to keep more yarn for themselves?

        1. Two things happened: First, I think the wording was confusing to some. "Row 1 (WS): K2, p to 2 sts rem, k2. Row 2 (RS): Knit. Repeat previous 2 rows 22 times more," (total 44 rows) was sometimes interpreted as, "work 22 rows." Second, in my haste to get the yarn out I made an error in the number of rows in the pattern, and then fixed it, so some were right and some were wrong. Some of the patterns with the incorrect number of rows had already been printed and packed up. I intended to have 4" (10cm) square swatches, but wrote the instructions for double that length on accident. My hope, after my error was discovered, was that having the two different lengths would give us more data to compare; for instance, are longer swatches more likely to be knit to gauge? The answer seems to be that, no, in fact, it doesn’t seem to make a difference. In general, I think more rows are better, but most people are accustomed to knitting a 4" square swatch. – Courtney

    2. AV says:

      Oh yes from reading my instructions there was no message to improvise as to the instructions.

  2. Catherine says:

    Kate,

    Did you publish the correct graphs for stitch and row gauge? The pattern states 20 stitches and 28 rows per 4 inch swatch. The graphs show 17 stitches and 24 rows per 4 inches.

    The swatch experiment has been an eye opener for me and I have learned much from these blogs.

    1. Oh, good catch! The needle size that was sent with these instructions was initially marked to go with a different pattern, but when putting the post together, I discovered that they didn’t match. The Moyna vest called for 7s (and thus a different gauge), but I forgot to change that column in the graph after the new pattern was selected. It should be all fixed now! – Kate

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.