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 Gauge swatch for socks...flat or circular?
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Posted - 04/01/2014 :  11:52:31 PM  Show Profile Send eldergirl a Private Message  Reply with Quote

When I took a class with Alice Starmore.....

(I know, lucky me! It was waaay long ago, when Alice was first touring, doing yarn shop classes!)

Well, when I took her class, she taught the circular knitting of jumpers, and her gauge swatches were knit always circularly, by carrying the yarn loosely across the back of the swatch, or cutting it off and starting again on a knit row.

This was so you didn't encounter any purling, as is the case with socks.

Now, when doing a gauge swatch for a sock, do you do the standard back and forth, (k 1 row, p 1 row), or do you do a circular swatch as taught by Alice? I have always wanted to know what folks do, and what works best.


Life is beautiful.

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1475 Posts

Posted - 04/02/2014 :  03:40:25 AM  Show Profile Send socks4all a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I swatch in the round.
If I am knitting socks toe-up, I just start. By the time I have completed my toe increases I usually have about 25 rounds knit of which the central area is good for measuring gauge.
If I am knitting knee-down, I carry the yarn loosely across the back. I don't like cutting the yarn because then it cannot be reused.
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Seriously Hooked

600 Posts

Posted - 04/02/2014 :  06:25:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit ikkivan's Homepage Send ikkivan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have knit enough socks so that I usually just start knitting the sock. IMO, socks don't take enough stitches or time so that it's a big deal for me to go ahead and knit several inches to see if I like the results. If not, I rip out and begin with a different needle size and/or stitch count. My version of the "swatch mitts," I suppose.

That said, I have also done the "flat circular" swatches by carrying the yarn across the back. I also never cut the yarn so I can reuse it. Alas, I have never been one to save and catalog my swatches.

Donna, with intentions always bigger than her available time. (OkieDokieKnitter on Ravelry)
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1929 Posts

Posted - 04/02/2014 :  9:21:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit Ceil's Homepage Send Ceil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The tension is different when knitting back and forth, so yes, swatch in the round. Do it flat with dpns. At the end of speech row, slide the work to the opposite end of the dpn so there's a long float going across the back. This way you're always knitting each row in the same direction. But maybe you already know this! (It's for everyone else who reads this thread.)

(Ravelry: ceilr)
Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
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Posted - 04/03/2014 :  07:15:40 AM  Show Profile Send azblueskies a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Ceil....I didn't know that. Have never swatched in the round-flat. To be honest, I never swatch for socks but this would be handy for other items.

Reminder to myself: PROVISIONAL cast on for EVERYTHING except toe-up socks.
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Seriously Hooked

700 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2014 :  05:49:13 AM  Show Profile Send kkknitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ceil: good info, but I have to confess that I have never done a swatch for socks, even though I have knitted lots of them. I figure that there is always somebody out there that my socks will fit. To have to make a swatch kind of kills the joy of starting a new pair.

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