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Tutorial: Swatching for "Fancy" Stitches

I received a fantastic question from one of Creative Knitting magazine's readers and thought that it would be just the thing to write about today!

"I was going through one of the back issues recently and came across a pattern for an Aran afghan where the gauge was listed as 19 stitches to 4 inches in Trinity stitch (one of the great new stitches to learn in that issue!) ... but even though I've been knitting for years, I don't feel confident that I know how to measure gauge in fancy stitches, and I would very much appreciate some help (a blog post or tutorial in the next issue would be fantastic)." -- Jay

First, Jay, thanks so much for taking the time to write to us. I think I can solve your problem quite quickly. In the April 12 issue of this very newsletter, I wrote a tutorial on my favorite way to gauge swatch, quickly and effectively. The method presented works for fancy stitches too!

Let's use the Trinity stitch as an example:

  1. Get out your intended yarn and needles, cast on 19 stitches and work in Trinity stitch for however many rows is indicated for 4 inches in length. You don't need to worry about garter stitch edges.
  2. Wash and dry your swatch exactly as you intend to wash and dry the finished piece.
  3. Lay your swatch, public side facing down, and measure. If it measures 4 inches, then you are good to go! If it is less than 4 inches, you will need to try again with larger needles. If it is bigger than 4 inches, swatch with smaller needles.

I hope this answers your question. I can't wait to see pictures of your afghan!

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