You make a swatch, block it, count the number of stitches and rows in a 10cm / 4″ square, make sure the gauge is close to the one recommended in the pattern and confidently cast on the number of stitches required for your size. Once the project is finished you happily put it on only to discover that it is bigger or smaller than you expected.
Sounds familiar? Well, you are not alone. Almost every knitter can share a horror story of a project size gone wrong. This issue may happen to any project, but it is especially painful when it happens to sweaters and cardigans – projects that take longer to knit.
The common advice in these situations is to make a bigger swatch, block it nicely and be extra careful as we count the stitches and rows to determine the gauge.
While this advice is very good, it is not enough in most cases. Why? Because we are humans, and our knitting tension depends on our state of mind, often even on our mood.
When we knit a swatch, we focus on making that swatch and we are not completely relaxed. When we work on the project, we loosen up, especially when we knit while watching a movie or having a pleasant conversation with friends and family.
That’s why no matter how big our swatch is, the gauge of the swatch is often slightly different than the gauge of the project. This difference is not evident when the project is small, but it snowballs in projects with many stitches, like sweaters and cardigans.
So we need something else in addition to making a swatch – a super simple method that I call a “control check”. It helps us to avoid unpleasant size-related surprises and is so obvious that it often gets overlooked.
If you make a project that consists of several pieces (like a seamed sweater or cardigan), there is no need to make this additional check with every part of the project unless you can tell that your knitting gauge, for some reason, changed drastically while you were making each piece. Or, when you put the project on a back burner and resume working on it after a long period of time.
In most cases, one “control check” will do. For example, when knitting a sweater, it is enough to use this method once, when you make the back of a sweater (that is usually the first part of the sweater that we make). Once you confirm that the size is correct, continue to work on the project knowing that it won’t be too big or too small.
The full step-by-step photo tutorial about this method, is a part of the Knitting Collection #6. Once you order your copy of this collection, you will instantly receive a “big PDF” (370 pages!) with this and 43 other tutorials included in the collection.
You will also receive one e-book and two knitting patterns as a special bonus, so go ahead and get it all right now before you forget 😊
If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:
“Matching Cast Ons and Bind Offs” Book
Discover six pairs of cast on and bind off methods that form identical edges on projects worked flat and in the round.
“Neat Side Edges” Book
Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.
Dealing with Unfinished Projects
Dictionary of Knitting Symbols and Abbreviations – E-Book
Eastern (Russian) Knitting Simplified
How to Shape Neckline Without Binding Off Stitches – E-Book
Knitting Collection #7