As many of my friends know, I'm less than diligent about swatching. Impatience is my middle name. When I get some new yarn and the perfect pattern I just can't help myself. I must cast on, get knitting as fast as I can, just so that I can know how the yarn feels knitted up. If I must swatch I begin with a sleeve, less to un-pick than the back but enough to check gauge AND make knitting progress on my garment.
But this is different. When Kathleen suggested a KAL we quickly got technical and discussed guage, then there is the small issue of needing to make the cardigan in a larger size that the pattern allows for. In her blog Stephanie does say she is working on adult and larger child sizes but I can't wait, I want to join in the KAL fun now
So I'm Swatching
I have made three squares each with the number of stitches and rows specified in the pattern using 4mm, 4.5mm and 5mm needles. The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn which is between a DK and Aran weight. The yarn I have is King Cole superwash Merino DK but it feels thicker than DK as I knit and certainly the texture I get with 4mm needles is too dense.
Kathleen discusses the technicalities of swatching in her first blog on this KAL and I bow to her superior technical knowledge and won't say more about measuring and adjusting. But she also asks what sort of tension squares people make. It would make sense to have a four stitch garter frame around the stipulated tension square to help the work lie flat but I forgot. Mine of course turned out all curly, so they spent a couple of hours in a small bowl of eucalan solution
No doubt the first thing you notice is that these are not all squares! The yellow is made exactly to the gauge in the pattern ( 20 stitches, 28 rows on 4mm needles) and came out 3.5 inches wide by 4 inches long. The blue using 4.5 mm is 3.75 inches square but I miscounted the rows, only working 26. The red on 5mm needles, would have been the perfect 4 ins had I not miscounted rows again. The measurements are taken after the pieces were unpinned as wool tends to spring back a little once released from the pins.
I was convinced that I would need to do some maths before casting on to increase the chest size but LM's chest is only 21! Actually smaller than that given for the 24 month size but I shall follow this to allow for growing room. On the other hand her underarm measurement is 10.5 inches so I will add 1.5 inches here - simples!
DONE! All ready to cast on tonight