When it’s important to knit two swatches per project

Hi! As I promised, I’m back to share a pro tip secret to help you knit your Cute as a Button Cardi using Universal Yarn’s Uptown Worsted Hues. So far this week I shared the secret of how to pick the perfect yarn for your project, how to get the right fit, and how to knit the lace sections with confidence. Today, I’ll share with you how to avoid a mistake many knitters, even experienced knitters, make without even knowing it.

Read on to learn how I made this Cute as a Button Cardi perfectly finished.

Even with a swatch, gauge isn’t guaranteed.

It took many years of knitting before I realized my gauge can change within the same project. For example, my gauge in a colorwork yoke will be different from the stockinette stitch in one color section just below it in the body. It’s true! In our project for the Cute as a Button Cardi, we switch from knitting flat to knitting in the round. If you want your stitch size in the body of the sweater to match the size in the sleeves, you need to do another swatch. Don’t hate me. You do.

Make sure your tension is even as you move onto the sleeves of your Cute as a Button Cardi.

When I move from knitting flat to knitting in the round in Stockinette Stitch, I need to go up a needle size, because I knit tighter in the round. Why is that, you ask? Simply put, I knit my purl stitches looser than I make my knit stitches. When I’m knitting flat, I’m making one row of knit stitches and one row of purl. But when I’m knitting Stockinette in the round, I’m only using the knit stitch so my tension is tighter. I can see a visible line in my work if I forget to change my needle size. If you want to make sure your projects have a perfectly even tension throughout, do a gauge swatch in the round before moving to the sleeves.

How to make a knit in the round gauge swatch

Swatch In the Round pattern

Cast on 48 stitches.

Row 1: Knit.

Row 2: Purl.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 one MORE time for a total of 4 rows.

Row 3-28: Knit.

Row 29: Knit.

Row 30: Purl.

Repeat rows 29 and 30 one MORE time for a total of 4 rows.

Bind off all sts. Block your swatch.

Swatch in the round to ensure an even tension for your sweater.

Measure and adjust.

Now that you blocked your swatch, measure it and adjust your needle size if necessary. If your gauge in the round has more stitches, it’s tighter than your flat knitting, and you need to go up a size from the needles you’re currently using for the sweater. If you have fewer stitches than your flat swatch, then you’re knitting looser in the round, and you need to go down a needle size. If it’s the same, you continue on with the needles you already have. Once you know this for one project you can apply it to future projects. I don’t ever do the second in the round swatch anymore, because I know my tension is always tighter in the round, so I automatically go up a needle size, switching to in the round or down a needle size if I’m going from round to flat knitting. I can’t believe a little detail like this can make such a huge difference, but it really does!

Come back tomorrow for the finishing touches.

Take the time to do your gauge swatch in the round today, and you can apply what you learn to your future knits, and wow everyone with your beautifully knit sweaters. I know it wasn’t exciting to have to make another swatch, but I hope you delight in the knowledge that you’re knitting just became better with this little secret so few knitters know.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you the edging I added to this Cute as a Button Cardi and we’ll choose buttons to finish it perfectly.

Tomorrow, we continue to build your prowess as a knitter with the perfect finish to your Cute as a Button Cardi using Uptown Worsted Hues by Universal Yarn, which is a special bind-off I always use in my work, and it never fails to impress. It’s not in the pattern, so come back and find out how to add this finishing touch to your cardigan.

This is part 4 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 3: Lace knitting – Why [and how] it’s easier than you think

Go to part 5: Binding off the icord way: The BEST knitting finishing touch

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