Friday, February 4, 2011

Virtual Knitting Lesson #4: Picking Your Pattern (and a word about gauge)

{This post is part of kick-off week for our month-long Knit-for-Good Knit-a-Long. If you're just jumping in, you might want to check out the post that explains it all. }

Do you have a work in progress yet (practice swatches count for beginners)? Don't forget to upload pics to the Flickr Group and share your work!

Need Help choosing a pattern? Here are some suggestions that are listed according to ability (they're all free):

Beginner Patterns

1- Garter Stitch Baby Hat, by Kathleen Sams (skills required: cast on, knit, bind off)

2- Business Card Hat from Wooly Wormhead (skills required: cast on, knit, bind off)
(you've got to be a member of Ravelry to access this one. So get on with it-- it's free!)

3- Easy 2-Needle Baby Hat by LibiLou Creations (skills required: cast on, knit, purl, knit 2 together)

Slightly More Challenging Patterns

4- Hey Baby Hat, by Shweta Shankar Khatri
(skills necessary: knitting in the round, knit, purl, Knit 2 Together)

5- Baby Hat with Top-knot, by Kathy Shute

6- Kathy's Baby Hats, Kathy

Mad Skillz Patterns

From left to right:

Green Cabled Baby Hat, by Kate Sharaf

Baby Leaves II Baby Hat, by Heidi Sunday (gotta join Ravelry for this one)

Sweet Baby Cap, by Gro

And now, a word on GAUGE.

Gauge refers to the number of stitches per inch in a knitted piece and it's determined by the size of the yarn and the needles used, and the tension used by the individual knitter.

All (good) patterns for fitted items will include a quick mention of the gauge you'll need to get good results from said pattern. If you're even a little bit off, you'll probably find that you put in all that work for an item that is useless because it doesn't fit.

You can't just buy the yarn and needle size recommended by a pattern and expect it to work out-- although, to be fair, it does sometimes. Since most knitters tend to vary in how tightly or loosely they work their stitches, there's a chance that you'll have a different number of stitches per inch than the pattern calls for, which will result in size inaccuracies.

The best way to prevent this is to knit up a gauge swatch. My advice to you:
ALWAYS KNIT A GAUGE SWATCH!!! It's easy to get impatient to start a pattern, and want to skip the gauge swatch and just jump into the project.

But don't. Just don't. You'll save yourself a lot of frustration.

Find some great instructions here on how to knit a gauge swatch and how to make appropriate changes to get an accurate size.

No comments: