How to make a gauge tension swatch

Tags: good to know,

In this DROPS video we show how to knit a swatch to meausure gauge/tension.

Gauge/tension refers to the number of stitches in width and number of rows in height. This depends on which stitches used, what yarn, the needles/hook size and your own tension (i.e. how much yarn you allow between stitches).

The gauge can be adjusted to fit recommended gauge in a pattern by changing needle size. Larger needles produce a smaller gauge (fewer stitches per inch) and smaller needles produce a larger gauge (more stitches per inch).

Rib and cables pull in, giving more stitches per width than stockinette, garter or seed stitch. And garter or seed stitch have more rows per inch than stockinette.

Thicker yarns produce larger stitches (reducing the number of stitches per width and height).

Your gauge can also vary within a single garment (typically for beginners) and when you become more familiar with a pattern, you become more relaxed and make the stitch differently, producing a different gauge.

It's very important to check your gauge before starting a project to get the correct measures of the garment. A sample square (a swatch) is made in the stitch pattern and yarn used in the design. The swatch edges affect the reading of the gauge, so it's best that the swatch be at least 15x15 cm/ 6"x6" square. Swatching also makes you used to the stitch pattern, which will help you to a more even gauge in the final garment.

The video above can be used in the following patterns

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We are a worldwide company and our videos are watched by people around the world, speaking different languages, many of whom do not understand English.

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Comments (29)

Monique 09.07.2021 - 11:59:

Hi, ik heb in de Engelse patentsteek gebreid: 13 steken en 18 naalden: dat zou 10x10 cm opleveren. Bij mij is het 8 x 8 cm. Wat moet ik nu doen? Als ik een kleinere naald neem, wordt het proeflapje bij 13 steken nog kleiner.

Claudie 20.05.2021 - 08:00:

Bonjour ! J'ai fais un échantillon pour un modèle au crochet avec des brides, en hauteur il fait bien 10 centimètres mais en largeur il manque 1 centimètre, comment dois je procéder. Je précise que je suis débutante LOL. Merci pour votre réponse !

DROPS Design 20.05.2021 - 08:30:

Bonjour Claudie, l'échantillon est indispensable (voir ici) avez-vous crocheté suffisamment de mailles/rangs en largeur/hauteur (toujours plus qu'indiqué dans l'échantillon pour donner une idée plus précise). Vous pouvez ensuite laver votre échantillon et le laisser sécher en suivant bien les consignes de l'étiquette (voir aussi ici) et vérifier les mesures après séchage/blocage. Si vous n'avez toujours pas les bonnes mesures, recommencez avec un crochet plus fin s'il vous manque des mailles en largeur. Bon crochet!

Barbara 20.03.2021 - 11:46:

Buongiorno, vorrei sapere se la misura del campione che viene riportata sui modelli è stata presa prima o dopo il lavaggio. Grazie molte, Barbara

DROPS Design 23.03.2021 - 18:05:

Buonasera Barbara, può inumidire il campione prima di bloccarlo. Buon lavoro!

Lieselot 13.03.2021 - 09:14:

My sample is correct in the number of stitches but not in the number of rows. How will this affect my project? And what should I do about it? I have 18x24 for 10cm and in the project it says 18x27 for 10 cm.

DROPS Design 15.03.2021 - 09:59:

Dear Lieselot, remember to wash your swatch and let it dry, then measure it again to check if the number of rows is now right. If it isn't, and if you are working a project where the number of rows is important (circular yoke or raglan) you will have to work some extra rows evenly spaced so that the height will match (you might require more yarn too). If only measurements is important, then just measure your work - but remember this might also affect the required amount of yarn. Happy knitting!

Ingvild Nyheim 13.03.2021 - 08:58:

Hei! Hva gjør jeg når jeg har riktig strikkefasthet i bredden, men ikke i høyden? Har 3 cm avvik i høyden på en oppskrift med Drops Air.

DROPS Design 15.03.2021 - 07:58:

Hei Ingvild. Er det 3 cm pr 10 cm i høyden eller 3 cm i f.eks en genser i DROPS Air? Er det 3 cm mindre eller 3 cm mer? Om det er 3 cm pr. 10 cm ville jeg nok ha prøv med større/mindre pinner, evnt prøv å strikke litt løsere/strammere for å få strikkefastheten, både i høyden og bredden til å passe. Er det f.eks i en genser der du ikke får riktig mål etter økninger til raglan før ermene, der genseren er strikket ovenfra og ned, kan du stikker omganger uten økninger til riktig mål. mvh DROPS design

Claudia 19.02.2021 - 15:45:

La muestra de ganchillo se hace en punto bajo o punto alto ? Porque el patron ( darling please ) usa los dos....

DROPS Design 28.02.2021 - 16:50:

Hola Claudia, esto depende del patrón, en el apartado tensión suelen indicar con qué puntos hay que hacer la muestra. En el caso del patrón que has indicado, se hace trabajando el diagrama A.1, que contiene puntos altos y puntos bajos.

María 28.01.2021 - 16:33:

Hola, cuánto tiempo es recomendable que "descanse" la muestra antes de tomar las medidas?

DROPS Design 29.01.2021 - 18:08:

Hola Maria, puedes tomar las medidas inmediatamente. Buen trabajo!

Erica Thomas 16.01.2021 - 05:17:

I'm not clear from the video how the tension gauge is being measured. What I did was just knitted the recommended number of stitches and rows and then measured the piece.

DROPS Design 18.01.2021 - 11:39:

Dear Mrs Thomas, working more stitches and more rows will let you work a different way and let you measure the stitches in the middle of piece (as when the whole project is worked) and not only over a small amount of stitches. Happy knitting!

Susan 05.01.2021 - 10:34:

Hej! Garnet jag vill använda anger en masktäthet på 18 maskor på 10 cm på stickor 5. Jag får en masktäthet på 17,5 maskor på 10 cm på stickor 5. Hur bör jag resonera? Byter till stickor 4 1/2 är det risk för att att det blir för smått. Jag tänker sticka ett mönster med flätor för övrigt. Tacksam för svar!

DROPS Design 11.01.2021 - 13:49:

Hei Susan. Du kan evnt prøve å strikke bittelitt strammer på pinne 5, slik at du får en halv maske mer, altså 18 masker på 10 cm. Men om du bytter til pinne 4,5 og får den oppgitt strikkefastheten skal det ikke bli for smått. mvh DROPS design

Maria Fernanda 22.11.2020 - 11:06:

Hi, I would know which stitch should I do on crochet to make the Gauge/tension refers on the yarn. I don’t know if I have to measure it with double or single crochet. Thank you

DROPS Design 23.11.2020 - 11:24:

Dear Maria Fernanda, could you please ask your question in the question section of the pattern you are crocheting? This way it will be much easier for us to help you. Thanks for your comprehension.

Nicki 24.10.2020 - 17:47:

Hi, when you suggest a tension for rib, is the rib stretched or unstretched? e.g. the knit 2 / purl 2 rib in Perles du Nord. DROPS / 180 / 2. Should I use whatever approach you suggest (stretched/ unstretched) on all of your patterns? Many thanks

DROPS Design 26.10.2020 - 13:27:

Dear Nicki, in this pattern the tension is worked in stocking stitch for jumper and hat, and for both needle sizes (even if the needles will be used for rib on hat eg). Happy knititng!

Barbara 17.10.2020 - 10:38:

I have been knitting for many years. My tension with other brands always matches the tension given on the ball label of these brands. I have used several Drops yarn before but have made my own designs so I have not noticed the tension on the Drops labels as I do my own stitches. I want to make a Drops pattern but am surprised that my tension swatch is so different from the tension on the label. I have knitted my test on single needles not circular. Does this make a difference?

DROPS Design 19.10.2020 - 10:45:

Dear Barbara, tension should be the same with single, circular or double pointed needles - but everyone has a different way of knitting, you can wash and block your swatch first to make sure you get the correct tension - read more about tension here - your DROPS store might have even more tipps for you and will share them with you even per mail or telephone. Happy knitting!

Anna 06.04.2020 - 14:11:

Can you speek in video? I didn't understand you.

DROPS Design 09.04.2020 - 18:08:

Dear Anna, Our videos do not have sound. We are a worldwide company and our videos are watched by people around the world, speaking different languages, many of whom do not understand English. We have therefore written instructions to accompany this video, and there is no sound to disturb while watching. Enjoy!

Matt Arthur 27.02.2020 - 21:07:

If a pattern uses multiple needle sizes (for things like ribbing vs the body), do you do the search in the size most used and, if sizes need adjusting, just adjust the other sizes by the same number of mm? I'm getting ready to do my first project where gauge is important. Thanks!

DROPS Design 28.02.2020 - 09:39:

Dear Mr Arthur, the gauge is almost always given with the needle most used in the pattern, so you will have to follow this tension and adjust this needle size if required. Do not hesitate to ask your question on the pattern you want to work so that we can check together and help you further. Happy knitting!

Simona 04.02.2020 - 14:00:

Gentilissimi. Ho realizzato un campione 10x 10 con filato Big Delight. Anziché avere 15 maglie per 19 ferri ne ho ottenuto 16.5 per 21 ferri. So che il campione va sempre lavato. Specialmente quando si lavora lana. Ma questo campione è già visibilmente piccolo. Come devo procedere? Rifare campione con ferri più grossi e misurare di nuovo? oppure lavare il primo campione e poi rifare il conteggio? Immagino che con lavaggio possa solo rimpicciolirsi...sbaglio? Grazie

DROPS Design 06.02.2020 - 17:37:

Buongiorno Simona. Alcuni filati possono cedere con il lavaggio. Provi a lavare il campione e riverificare le misure. Dovesse essere ancora troppo piccolo, provi con ferri di misura più grande. Buon lavoro!

Coraline 14.11.2019 - 17:05:

Bonjour , est ce que le point mousse peut être remplacé par le point jersey ou vice versa dans un modèle ? l’echantillon des modèles est toujours basé sur le point jersey ... merci

DROPS Design 15.11.2019 - 09:17:

Bonjour Coraline, si votre tension est juste en jersey, alors vous devriez obtenir les mêmes mesures que dans le schéma en tricotant, à condition de bien conserver la même tension que pour votre échantillon. Toutefois, si un modèle est tricoté au point mousse, le nombre de rangs en hauteur sera différent et si on doit augmenter/diminuer/tricoter des rangs raccourcis ou autre technique particulière, le modèle devra être entièrement recalculé sur le nombre de rangs et le résultat sera donc différent de celui du modèle présenté. Pour toute assistance personnalisée, n'hésitez pas à contacter votre magasin DROPS, même par mail ou téléphone. Bon tricot!

Coraline 21.06.2019 - 03:18:

Bonjour, je suis en train de faire l’échantillon pour le modèle SIRI boléro . Au lieu de « AIGUILLES n° 5 - pour obtenir un échantillon de 17 m x 33 rangs au point mousse ou 17 m x 22 rangs en jersey = 10 x 10 cm »\r\nMoi après plusieurs essais à 5, 5.5, Je suis rendue aux aiguilles 6 et j’obtiens en jersey 17.5m x 23.5 en jersey et en point mousse je suis beaucoup plus large que mon jersey donc je n’arrive pas à avoir 17 m !!! Je suis découragée !

DROPS Design 21.06.2019 - 07:22:

Bonjour Coraline, on a toutes une façon différente de tricoter, plus ou moins serré, c'est la raison pour laquelle on doit toujours faire son échantillon auparavant. Essayez de nouveau avec des aiguilles d'une demi-taille au-dessous, 5,5 par exemple, lavez et séchez votre échantillon bien à plat, et vérifiez de nouveau vos mesures. Vous pouvez également tenter une technique différente pour les mailles endroit et les mailles envers (cf vidéos du modèle). Votre magasin aura également d'autres astuces pour vous, n'hésitez pas à le contacter, même par mail ou téléphone. Bon tricot!

Coraline 24.04.2019 - 21:30:

Merci beaucoup pour la réponse rapide !

Coraline 19.04.2019 - 20:45:

Également est ce qu’il faut réaliser un échantillon pour chaque point du projet s’il en comporte plusieurs : torsade, point ajouré etc ? Parce que si les échantillons sont différents faut il changer plusieurs fois de taille D’aiguille dans le même projet en fonction des différents points du diagramme ? Un grand merci !

DROPS Design 23.04.2019 - 16:12:

Bonjour Coraline, tout à fait, le nombre de mailles pour 10 cm sera différent sur du jersey ou des torsades par exemple, suivez simplement les indications de l'échantillon, s'il est indiqué "jersey" alors tricotez votre échantillon en jersey (et ajustez la taille des aiguilles si besoin), si votre échantillon est juste, conservez la même tension et alors votre point torsades ou autre aura la bonne largeur. Bon tricot!

Coraline 19.04.2019 - 20:44:

Bonjour ,pour les projets comme les bonnets les côtes nécessitent des aiguilles plus petites exemple 3.5 et le reste du bonnet en 4.5 . Est ce qu’il faut réaliser deux échantillons distincts pour de tels projets ?

DROPS Design 23.04.2019 - 16:10:

Bonjour Coraline, en général l'échantillon est indiqué dans le point principal du modèle, si vous avez cet échantillon, alors les côtes devraient être justes avec les aiguilles plus fines. Sauf si l'échantillon est indiqué pour les différentes tailles d'aiguilles, on peut se contenter de le faire dans le point indiqué avec les aiguilles utilisées pour ce point. Bon tricot!

Sun 18.10.2018 - 14:08:

I made a swatch and my number of stitches are perfect, but the number of needles were not enough. But when I toke a bigger needle, my swatch became to wide. What is better: correct number of stitches or a correct number of needle? I am going to make a sweater. I think it is beter to go for the correct number of stitches, right?

DROPS Design 22.10.2018 - 10:36:

Dear Sun, you can also first block your swatch to check the finished tension and measurements. If you are missing some rows, you can try again with a larger needles, but if widht is not correct anymore, you can keep the needles with the correct width but then work some more rows if you have to work a raglan/a rounded yoke so that the height will be right. Your DROPS store will provide you any further individual assistance, even per mail or telephone. Happy knitting!

Dea 17.07.2017 - 18:46:

Avrei bisogno un chiarimento. Quando nelle spiegazioni è previsto l'utilizzo solo di ferri circolari, il campione può essere fatto con i ferri dritti? Inoltre prima di misurarlo è meglio bagnarlo? Specialmente per i filati superwash che spesso tendono a smollare dopo il lavaggio? Grazie

DROPS Design 18.07.2017 - 15:49:

Buongiorno Dea. Il campione andrebbe lavorato con gli stessi ferri (dritti o circolari) che verranno poi usati per il lavoro. Consigliamo di misurare il campione dopo averlo lavato e fatto asciugare. Buon lavoro!

Monica 14.04.2016 - 01:45:

The finish square to be measured for getting the gauge is after blocking or not blocked?

DROPS Design 14.04.2016 - 09:45:

Dear Monica, it's always a good idea to wash and block your swatch before measuring it. Your DROPS store will give you any further personnal assistance and advices if required. Happy knitting!

Lisa 29.06.2015 - 10:26:

Noen ønster angir strikkefastheten i antall rapporter måler xxcm x xxcm av det mønsteret man ska bruke på deler av plagget. men hvordan kan man regne om dersom man bytter garn/ikke treffer målene med samme antall rapporter?

DROPS Design 03.07.2015 - 10:51:

Hej Lisa. Du strikker da en pröve med det garn du vil bruge og maal hvor mange m x p du har paa 10 x 10 cm. Har du f.eks. en pröve med 22 m i bredden og skal dit plag vaere 40 cm bredt, saa regner du 22x4 = ca 88 cm osv.

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