Faster swatching with the knitting machine means I am taking more notes. While I write copiously in my notebooks, I am playing subtly with differences in gauge. It’s made me rethink how I record important information when all the swatches may look similar. Traditionally, I’ve marked the US needle size (because it’s easier than metric) with purl bumps on one of the early rows of a swatch. Purling on a knitting machine requires stitches to be removed reworked and placed back on the hooks. I need whatever method I chose to survive blocking and possibly being tossed into the washing machine.
Through some experimentation, I now twist pairs of stitches. The following is how I, as primarily a hand knitter, am now marking my swatches. There are other ways, such as with contrasting waste yarn. This is my current preferred method.
Creating gauge marks by machine
I count about 5 stitches in from the left edge of the swatch when the carriage is on the left handed side of the machine. I then twist every other pair, leaving at least one stitch plain between twists, for the whole number of my tension dial (TD).
If I’m not at a whole number on the dial, after working two rows plain, starting from the center stitch I then twist pairs for the minor points on my TD, again leaving two stitches plain between twists. I then work the swatch to desired length.
Done! The marks are then read right-to-left. In the image below the top swatch was knit at TD 2.1 and the bottom swatch at TD 3.
The difference in these two swatches is apparent at a glance, however it’s nice to have confirmation what settings I used to make them. Now I need to block them properly, do some number crunching, and get to work!
In the notebook
What information goes into my notebook? In addition to the standard yarn information — who made it, what it’s made of, etc — Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, 80% Superwash Merino Wool and 20% Nylon. Approx. 430 yards/397 meters and 100 grams. I’ll note the tension dial information, number of stitches cast on, and if I remembered to turn on the row counter that information as well. When I block it my method of blocking is recorded too.
What information do you record?