Watch Yo' Swatch
So, I'm a loose knitter. (Little known fact, we loose knitters get wiiiiiiild!) This may be because I typically knit with a glass of wine in hand, but that's neither here nor there. All this means is that my individual stitches are looser than the pattern anticipates. This can result in a larger garment: sometimes cute, sometimes not.
Because of this, when I'm making a fitted garment, I have to swatch.
A swatch is a small sample square, knit with the needles and yarn you intend to use for a given pattern. You're supposed knit and wash this little square. This will give you an idea for how the material will wear. Then you count the stitches and the rows and make sure your count matches what the pattern says over a given measurement. This is called your "gauge." For example: 16 st x 22 rows should be a 4" square.
Most knitters take pride in either not swatching ("I never swatch," in a whispered smirk), or take pride in swatching and totally judge the hell out of those who do not. ("You simply MUST swatch.")
So, this brings me to the main idea of this blog post: Watch Yo' Swatch!
Because my I knit more relaxed, I tend to have less stitches in the given four-inch measurement. Therefore, I tend to go down a needle size, as smaller needles = smaller stitches. For this pattern, I went down two whole US needle sizes to get this gauge. I think this may have been a pattern typo because this pattern's page on Ravelry is filled with people who were like "what the f*ck is with this lady and her gauge?" (Not in those exact words.)
Anyhoo. Here is my swatch.
This is knit with size US 7 (4.5 mm) Clover interchangable knitting needles. The yarn is madelinetosh Longrider DK in Toner Cartridge colorway.
I started off with four rows of garter stitch and continued garter on the sides for four stitches to give the swatch a boarder. Swatching with a garter boarder helps the piece lie flat while you measure. I cast on double the amount of stitches recommended for four inches and knit the height of the piece up for about six inches. Then I bound off, washed the swatch, counted stitches, marked my square, and measured. Bingo, bango! We have ourselves the right gauge!
So...do you swatch? Are you a loose knitter, wine-wise or other-wise? LMK, knitheads.