Knitting without Swatching: A Somewhat Sorry Tale
In this example I show what can go wrong with knitting a sweater without a gauge swatch. I had a bunch of free-to-me Tahki Cotton Classic that had been marinating in the stash for at least a decade, so I decided I wanted to knit a cardigan.
I knit a CeCe sweater by Bonne Marie Burns a number of years ago and it’s an easy loose-fitting sweater with a V-neck and a simple lace pattern.
So I started – and as advertised, I skipped the gauge swatch. Even though the yarn recommended and the yarn I used are completely different.
It’s a bottom-up sweater knit in pieces until the yoke. I knit the body – and had to re-knit a few rows because I wasn’t paying attention. I knit the short sleeves and that went well. Then came the time to put the sleeves and the body together.
This next error had nothing to do with gauge and everything to do with not ready the pattern. The body required a lace pattern for the 1st front, stockinette at the side seam, more lace pattern for the back, stockinette at the other side, and then lace for the second front. Unfortunately, I had knit the sweater in a solid lace pattern, which with the size I was knitting coincidentally worked with the stitch count I had.
I ripped back the body to the ribbing and re-knit according to the directions – with a 15″ inch body length. The joining of the sweater working pretty well, and although it was a bit long before I finished the ribbing at the back.
Then I soaked the sweater in “wool wash” and blocked it without stretching out. When I put it on after drying, the sweater sagged to a long length – and I realized that not swatching had bitten me badly. When on, the body grew to about 18 inches. Yikes~
I ended up cutting off about 4 inches – and then wrangling the live stitches back onto the needle, and re-knit the ribbing from the top/down.
In the end, the sweater is “ok.” It’s a loose-fitting sweater good as a layer piece, but the armholes are pretty big, but I don’t have the heart to re-knit that half of the sweater!
Lesson: It’s always a good idea to swatch (and block the swatch) for a garment!