KW Swatch Experiment

KW Swatch Experiment Data: Knightsbridge

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

For the Knightsbridge swatch, we asked knitters to cast on 24 stitches using US 6 (4 mm) needles and work in stockinette stitch with a 2 stitch garter edge on either side. The needle size given in the swatch instructions was pulled from Carrie Bostick Hoge’s design from the Knightsbridge Collection, Bronwen.

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

KNIGHTSBRIDGE STITCH GAUGES

KNIGHTSBRIDGE ROW GAUGES

OBSERVATIONS

LOOSEST VS. TIGHTEST UNBLOCKED
• Swatch 5 had the loosest gauge at 21 sts and 27 rows / 4″.
• Swatch 1 had the tightest gauge at 24 sts and 30 rows / 4″.

LOOSEST VS. TIGHTEST BLOCKED
• Swatch 5 continued to have the loosest gauge at 20 sts and 26 rows / 4″.
• Swatch 2 had the tightest gauge at 22.66 sts and 31 rows / 4″.

MOST DRAMATIC CHANGE BETWEEN BLOCKED AND UNBLOCKED
Stitch Gauge: 
•  Swatch 4 had the greatest change in stitch gauge: unblocked, the gauge was 21.33 sts / 4”, but after blocking it tightened up to 22.66 sts / 4”.
Row Gauge:
• Swatches 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 all changed by one row per 4” after blocking. Swatches 2, 3, 4, and 5 all loosened by one row, but Swatch 6 tightened by one row.

GAUGE MATCHING POST BLOCKING
• Swatch 1 matched stitch gauge post blocking, but the row gauge was off by a full row / inch. (26 rows as compared to 30).
• Swatch 5 matched Row gauge post blocking, but the stitch gauge was off by a full stitch / inch. (20 as compared to 24).

PRACTICAL APPLICATION

As mentioned, the needle size given in the swatch instructions was pulled from Carrie Bostick Hoge’s design from the Knightsbridge CollectionBronwen.

BRONWEN
SPECIFICATIONS
GAUGE: 24 sts and 26 rows = 4” (10 cm) in St st on larger needles, after blocking. / NEEDLE: US 6 (4 mm) circular.

CONSTRUCTION
Bronwen is worked from the bottom up in one piece. The front and back is worked separately after armhole division. The sleeves are picked up from the armholes and worked in the round.

For this post, I thought it would be helpful to break down each swatch one by one and analyze the blocked gauge as compared to the pattern and give “next step” suggestions as to how the knitter should proceed.

SWATCH 1:
Post-blocking Gauge: 24 sts and 30 rows/4”
As mentioned, the knitter of Swatch 1 obtained stitch gauge post-blocking, but was off pretty dramatically on row gauge. The knitter may proceed with the pattern, but there are 2 key items to be aware of:

1 / As the row gauge is much tighter (they must knit an extra row for each inch worked), there is a good chance s/he will require more yarn than specified in the pattern. The weight of the garment – knit in the round using a drapey blend – may also alter the row gauge slightly. I usually recommend knitting one of the sleeves first and then re-blocking just to confirm row gauge on a heavier/larger piece, but due to the construction of Bronwen, this is not possible. It is possible, though, to put the body on waste yarn after using a full skein and wet block just to double check.

2 / After the body is worked, stitches are picked up around the armholes to work the sleeves. The number of stitches to pick up is given in the pattern, but not the exact ratio. In order to pick up stitches evenly. They will need to calculate the ratio of stitches to rows based off of their gauge. I have created a tutorial for how to work that math, and that can be found here.

SWATCH 2:
Post-Blocking Gauge: 22.66 sts and 31 rows /4”
The knitter of Swatch 2 did not match stitch or row gauge. As their stitch gauge was too loose – there are too few stitches in 4 inches as compared to the pattern – the knitter must go down a needle size. I recommend going down one size to a US 5 / 3.75 mm and trying again. It seems likely based off of the row gauge on US 6 / 4 mm needles that if they obtain stitch gauge on US 5 / 3.75 mm needles, their row gauge will be tighter as well. If this is the case, they should follow the recommendations made to the Swatch 1 knitter.

SWATCHES 3, 4, and 7:
Post Blocking Gauge: 22.66 and 29 rows / 4”
The knitters of Swatches 3, 4, and 7 all achieved the same gauge as one another, but did not match stitch or row gauge. I would recommend the same plan to the Swatch 3 knitter as I did to the Swatch 2 knitter, including the suggestions regarding paying attention to row gauge.

SWATCH 5:
Post-Blocking Gauge: 20 sts and 26 rows / 4”
The knitter of Swatch 5 is a full stitch per inch off of stitch gauge, but did achieve row gauge. Because the sweater is knit in the round in a traditional manner, it is still important to match stitch gauge over row gauge when working this pattern. Due to the large discrepancy in stitch gauge, I recommend the knitter go down two needle sizes to a US 4 /3.5 mm and swatch again.

SWATCH 6:
Post-Blocking Gauge: 21.33 sts and 26 rows /4”
The knitter of Swatch 6 is in a similar situation as the other knitters who did not match gauge. As the Swatch 6 knitter is not as loose as the Swatch 5 knitter, and not as tight as the others, though, they might find that more swatches are necessary to really get a feel for their gauge. Due to the drapey nature of the Knightsbridge yarn, I believe they may have better luck trying on a US 4 / 3.5 mm first, and if that is too tight, go up to the US 5 / 3.75 mm.

Hopefully those suggestions are helpful to you! Have any of you had to swatch more than once – do you have any crazy stories or additional tips to add?

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