Our homework was to crochet 3 swatches of a DK weight yarn using 3 different hook sizes - 4.0mm, 5.0mm and 6.0mm. I used Sirdar Salsa DK, left over from my Floral Fantasy Sweater. The yarn label recommends a 4.0mm hook or knitting needle. The knitting gauge listed is 22 st x 28 rows for a 10cm (4") square swatch. So, here are my swatches. Although I ran out of yarn halfway through my 4.0mm swatch, I can extrapolate the results (not the best idea when swatching for real, but it will work for this exercise). Also, while confessing my shortcuts, I should add that I had to photo my swatches side-by-side instead of stacked in a pile because when stacked there was no edge definition with this pink fuzzy yarn.
Our intial assignment was to measure the size of 20st x 20rows inside our swatch. Then we were asked to count how many stitches and rows were contained within a 4" x 4" area. Here's my results.
|20 st x 20 rows||4" x 4"|
|Hook||W x H||Hook||S x R|
|6.0mm||6.50" x 4.75"||6.0mm||12 x 17|
|5.0mm||6.00" x 4.50"||5.0mm||13 x 18|
|4.0mm||5.25" x 4.25"||4.0mm||15 x 19|
It was interesting to see the different swatch sizes result. Josi did another variation of this assignment. She made 4 swatches using a 4 mm hook with 4 different yarns DK yarns - 2 Debbie Bliss yarns, 2 KnitPicks yarns. All listed a knitting gauge of 22st/4in. Even within manufacturers the resulting swatches were different!
This class was reaffirming for me. It's no secret that I personally love the math of crochet. I make mostly garments for me & my kids (ok dh gets a few) and I almost ALWAYS swatch, measure and swatch again with mulitiple hooks and multiple yarns. The timing of this class is cool for me too, after my gauge problem with dh's sweater (and yes, for the first time in history I didn't swatch... grrrrr!), and as I've been proofreading and testing patterns for some designers lately and realizing the importance of checking the math of their gauge and final garment measurements.
On a related sidenote, I watched an Uncommon Threads episode on DVR the other day where Lily Chin recommended measuring a "hanging" gauge for garment swatches. Something to think about... I'm looking forward to the the next two classes to learn more about drape.