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A Trick for Getting Gauge in the Round

Sep 18, 2013

It's surprising how much your gauge can change between knitting back and forth in rows and knitting in the round. I think this is because many knitters knit purl rows slightly looser than they work knit rows.

I am the exception to this theory; I knit my purl rows a little bit tighter than I do my knit rows. Weird, right? When I switched from throwing to picking, I added another wrap around my pinky finger to get better tension, and it tightened up my purls. This does work in my favor, though, since I don't end up with loose purl rows.

Because of this irregularity between knit and purl rows, it's extra important to check your gauge when you're knitting in the round, since you'll be knitting each round and not purling at all (depending on your stitch pattern, of course!). And when you knit a gauge swatch for in-the-round knitting, you have to knit your swatch in the round!

Many people don't like knitting gauge swatches at all, let alone gauge swatches in the round. So here's a trick that lets you knit a flat piece that mimics knitting in the round!

Knitting a Gauge Swatch for In-the-Round Knitting
1. Use either double-pointed needles or circular needles to knit your gauge swatch.

2. Work across each row with the right side facing you, and slip the stitches to the opposite needle tip at the end of every row. Very loosely drape the yarn behind the work to bring it in position to work another right-side row.

3. It's important to drape the yarn loosely so you don't accidentally knit an I-cord!

    
The Hope Top, a free pattern
from Kristen TenDyke!
4. Every row will be knitted, and there will be loose strands of yarn across the wrong side of the work, as shown.

5. After knitting a few rows, spread out the stitches along the cable part of the needle to ensure that the loose strands of yarn will accommodate the full width of the swatch.

—Kristen TenDyke, from Finish-Free Knits

Pretty cool, right? This method is much easier than casting on a small amount and actually knitting your gauge swatch in the round.

Kristen TenDyke, the author of Finish-Free Knits has a new video workshop, Finish-Free Knitting Techniques, that's full of all kinds of useful tips like the gauge-knitting technique shown above. Kristin is an expert in designing and knitting sweaters with minimal finishing work, and she's excited to share her knowledge with you.

The Hope Top is an example of the beautiful knits Kristen creates, with no finishing except weaving in ends. Amazing, and it's a free pattern! You'll learn how to make a cord casing in this project, which is a useful technique to have in your tool kit.

Download the Finish-Free Knitting Techniques video today (or order the DVD) and learn how to create clever, finish-free knits with Kristen TenDyke!

Cheers,

P.S. Have you knit a finish-free sweater? If you have any tips, share them with us in the comments below!


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Comments

Fiberlicious wrote
on Sep 18, 2013 7:34 AM

Good article! I have only 1 "issue":

"1. Use either double-pointed needles or circular needles to knit your gauge swatch."

One should ALWAYS swatch on the needles they'll be knitting the garment with. Even tiny differences in needle diameter can affect the size of a garment that is dozens stitches around.