Swatching for your Uptown Worsted cushion cover

Uptown Worsted is a 100% acrylic, non-pilling yarn – a great choice for home accessory projects.

Knit along with us this week on the KNITmuch blog as we work on an accent cushion top using Uptown Worsted. Remember, you’ll need 4 skeins of Uptown Worsted (or similar worsted weight yarn), the right needle size to get gauge (that we’ll review in this post below), a cable needle, and a pillow form insert. In this post we’ll measure stitch gauge from two gauge swatches. If you’re new to knitting a swatch, have a look at this past KNITmuch post for a quick review. Knitting a gauge swatch is important for larger projects that need to be a specific finished size. Let’s get to it, swatching for your cushion cover using Uptown Worsted yarn!

All larger knitting projects should start with a swatch to make sure you’re getting the right stitch gauge.

This is going to be a square cushion with one side worked in stockinette stitch (plain), and one side worked in an all-over cable stitch pattern. Many simple cushions sold in stores have a decorative side and a plain side, and knitting your own means you can choose exactly the right color that you want to suit your decor.

The stockinette stitch gauge we need is 17sts per 4″ [10cm]. Knit a swatch like the one pictured above (I used US 7 [4.5mm] needles):

  • Cast on 30 sts.
  • First 4 rows: knit all sts.
  • (RS): Knit all sts
  • (WS): K3, p to last 3 sts, k3.
  • Repeat the last 2 rows until swatch measures 5 ins tall.
  • Last 4 rows: knit all sts.
  • Cast off all stitches.

Once the swatch is complete, lay it out flat and use your measuring tape or gauge ruler to measure how many stitches there are in 4″ of fabric. We’re aiming for 17sts per 4″ [10cm]. If you have more stitches than that, your gauge is too tight. Re-knit with a larger needle size and try again. If you have fewer stitches than 17, your gauge is too loose. Re-knit with a smaller needle size.

This cushion cover uses a cable stitch pattern on one side, which is a different stitch gauge than with stockinette stitch.

The other side of the pillow, the decorative side, uses an all-over cable stitch pattern that’s fairly simple. However, cable stitch gauge is very different from stockinette gauge. Here we’re going to measure how many repeats of the cable pattern appear over a specific width of the fabric. In the swatch above, 3 repeats of the stitch pattern (24 stitches of the cable pattern) measure 3.5″ across. To do this you’ll need to do 2 cable stitches, as follows:

  • C4L: Put 2 sts on cable needle and hold in front.  K2. K2 from cable needle.
  • C4R: Put 2 sts on cable needle and hold in back. K2. K2 from cable needle.

Work this swatch as follows, with the same needle size you used to get stockinette gauge above.

  • Cast on 34 sts.
  • Row 1 (RS): K all sts.
  • Row 2 (WS): K3, p to last 3 sts, k3.
  • Row 3 (RS): K5, [C4R, C4L] 3 times, K5.
  • Row 4 (WS): K3, p to last 3 sts, k3.
  • Repeat these last 4 rows 4 times.
  • Bind off all stitches.

To measure the pattern, place the tape measure or gauge ruler over the central 24 stitches that make up the cable pattern. You should have 24 stitches measuring 3.5″. If you need to work this over a different needle size to get the cable pattern gauge, you can, since the front and back pieces of the pillow are worked separately.

In the next post we’ll start the pieces for the cushion cover! It can sometimes be frustrating to have to knit a swatch first before starting the real project, but it makes a difference. The cushion cover needs to fit an 18″ pillow form, so we need the cushion cover itself to be the proper size. Knitting a gauge swatch is important for larger projects that need to be a specific finished size.

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