I thought I'd try something new this week. I've just started my first sweater, an Augusta Cardigan, and I'm really nervous about the gauge. I've scoured Ravelry and there doesn't seem to be any consistency about how the gauge is likely to change. And most frightening, some of the reviews state that they've had the yarn felt on them in the wash. That truly worries me. I don't want to go to all the time, effort and stress of knitting my very first sweater to have it felt on me first time out of the wash. It'd put me off sweaters for quite some time.
Here's the truth: I've technically never swatched before. I know, I know, I'm a bad knitter. To be honest though, I've never really had to do a swatch before. It's never been an issue. For most of my projects I don't really need to worry about gauge. If my gauge is a bit off on a shawl, so what? The stitch pattern still comes out the same, just a bit bigger or smaller. I check my gauge as I go with hats, and adjust accordingly but since the most common hat is my own pattern and it's shaped to Da's head, it's not that important.
So the other day, with a fair bit of foresight and worry in my heart, I bit the bullet and knit up a swatch. Then I threw it in the wash to see what happens. I thought I'd share my results, and can I just say that I love my stitch gauge. It really makes life so much easier.
Ravelry link for yarn here.
Needle size: US 7 - 4.5 mm
Fiber: 100% Superwash Merino Wool
Yarn tag care instructions: Machine wash, Tumble dry low
Original gauge of 3 3/4 stitches and just short of 5 1/2 rows per inch.
I washed it on our machine's wool wash setting, which means a mix of cold and warm water cycles and a medium spin, with a handful of things in similar and black colors . Then I tossed it in the dryer with the whole mess on regular cycle.
It shrunk in both directions just a tiny bit. That's okay though, I'll be right on target so I'm not panicking overly much about it any more. Now I just have to get a head start on it.