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Knitting with Baby Hugs Medium – the Swatch Challenge

by Cindy O'Malley

Yesterday, I introduced Red Heart Baby Hugs Medium – a premium soft acrylic that is easy to care for, and comfortable to wear.

Today I’m knitting some swatches to measure my gauge vs. the recommended gauge, and then test the gauge for the Cable Sweater Dress. Even though this pattern calls for Baby Hugs Medium, it’s been written for a slightly different gauge and smaller needle.

Yesterday I talked about using An Italian Story Luce for the dress, which has a different gauge and needle size recommendation than Baby Hugs. So today, I’ll test the gauge and tackle the variance between the two fibers. This should be fun.

First, let’s test the recommended gauge for Baby Hugs, which is 16 S and 22 R with a US 9 [5.5 mm] needle.

I achieved 16 sts and 22 rows over 4" using a US9 [5.5mm] needle

I achieved 16 sts and 22 rows over 4″ using a US9 [5.5mm] needle

My gauge was right on the money at 16 S and 22 R over 4” using a US9 [5.5mm] needle. So now I’ll swatch for the Sweater Dress pattern as this gauge is a little different at 16½ S and 24 R using a US8 [5mm] needle.

Making a 4" swatch using the recommended needle size for the Cable Sweater Dress pattern

Making a 4″ swatch using the recommended needle size for the Cable Sweater Dress pattern

This time, my stitch count was 17 and row count 23 over 4” using a US8 [5mm] needle, before blocking. Interesting, but I won’t be adjusting my needle size for the pattern. This measurement was taken before blocking, and children grow, exponentially so, I decided to make a size 4, even though the intended recipient is only 2 at the moment. By the time Christmas rolls around, she’ll not likely be wearing a size 2 anymore, but not yet a 4, so the gauge variance will not be significant.

I must say that I like the fabric this yarn creates. It’s very soft and squishy; cuddly you might say. This should make a soft and comfortable sweater for that special little one.

Now I need to do a test swatch for Luce. Again, I’ll begin with the recommended gauge for the yarn, then play with different needle sizes and stitch counts in conjunction with the Baby Hugs until I achieve the fabric balance that I’m after.

4" Swatch with sparkly An Italian Story Luce

4″ Swatch with sparkly An Italian Story Luce

The recommended needle size is US6 [4mm] to achieve 19 S and 24 R over a 4” swatch in stocking stitch. I achieved about 18 ½ S and 25 R over 4”.  I love the subtle fluff of the yarn and the sequins give it a sparkle. Just what I was hoping it would do for my project.

Now I need to find out how to make it work with Baby Hugs. I want to use it for the garter stitch sections of the dress, so I’ll prepare my swatches using Luce as the garter stitch, with Baby Hugs in stocking stitch.

Prepared 3 swatches combining Baby Hugs with Luce

Prepared 3 swatches combining Baby Hugs with Luce

I made 3 different swatches, combining Baby Hugs with Luce, using different needle sizes for the Luce each time.

  1. Doubled the Luce and used a US8 [5mm] for both the Luce and the Baby Hugs. This made the Luce garter stitch section too thick for the Baby Hugs fabric. (Top swatch)
  2. Used a US6 [4mm] needle for the Luce and US8 [5mm] for the Baby Hugs. I cast on one more stitch for the Luce, and decreased by one stitch on the first row of the Baby Hugs to bring them closer to the same width. (Left image)
  3. Did the same as #2, but used a US5 [3.75mm] needle for the Luce. (Right image) It was not significantly different from the second test, but I actually preferred the feel of the fabric on #2.

I’m happy with how the two different yarns will work together, and based on my test results, I’ve decided what combination I’ll use when I start to knit the Cable Sweater Dress.

Join me tomorrow as I work on the dress and discuss how adjustments to the stitch count for the two different yarns will make it all come together.

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1: Knitting with Baby Hugs Medium

Go to part 3: Adjusting the stitch count for Luce to knit with Baby Hugs Medium yarn

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