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Tranquil Tank Top Knit-Along – Gauge Swatching

KAL badgeWelcome to our 2013 Spring Knit-Along! I am very happy to host this event and hope that many of you will join in and knit along with me. The Tranquil Tank Top is a winner of a project for many reasons! It is a great piece to add to a wardrobe and just as great a project to teach some new knitting techniques. This top is perfect for all-season wear. For spring, it would be great over a cooler-weather top or a sleeveless dress for a little added warmth. For summer, it will be perfect over a camisole top and even for fall and beyond, a perfect layer piece over another longer sleeved top.

Pix 1 -Blue Tank Top

Yarn Selection

Since this is our Spring Knit-Along, I decided to knit this in a cooler yarn - in a very “tranquil” blue. Choosing what yarn to use is always important when planning a project, and for me is half the fun! The original yarn used in this pattern was Vanna’s Choice, which comes in so many great colors. For warmer weather, I chose Cotton-Ease in a calming blue called “Seaspray”. For this pattern you will want a heavier worsted-weight yarn like Vanna’s Choice, Cotton-Ease or Recycled Cotton. Last week, Ashley gave us yarn amounts we will need for these yarns in each of the three sizes – so just find a size and then you will know how much yarn you will need. Zontee also suggested Kitchen Cotton and Martha Stewart Crafts™ Cotton Hemp for other 100% natural options--just be sure to calculate exactly how many skeins you'll need for each.

Pix 2 -Cotton Ease Seaspray

What Size Do I Make?

Making the size you want is also essential. There are three sizes included in this pattern, and sometimes is can be difficult to determine which size to make. What I usually do is pull out a sweater or vest of mine similar to what I am making and take some measurements. If you have sleeveless top or vest that you like (and also like the way it fits), then I would measure across the bust, multiply times 2 and then you can determine which size will be best for you. I measured a summer top I like and it measured 40” around, so I will make the large size which has a finished bust of 42”. The ribbing around the bottom of the sweater will pull in around the mid to lower half of the top, so I think this is a good choice for me.

Knitting a Gauge Swatch

When I printed out the pattern, I noticed that there were six separate charts for the fronts and then saw that there were two charts (a left and right front) for each of the three sizes. I will make sure that I put the charts I will not be using away so there is less chance I will mistakenly start another size! So, now comes the other very important element in making sure that this top will turn out just the size I want … making the gauge swatch. I know the time I take in getting the correct gauge will ensure that I will make the right size and get used to working with the yarn before I start.

When I was looking at the gauge, I noticed that the gauge given was for the stitch pattern in the charts, rather than the “pattern stitch,” which is ribbing. So, looking at the charts, I saw that the chart pattern is a diagonal lace pattern with 5 stitches of stockinette stitch between each lace eyelet. From other patterns I have made, I thought that the gauge would be close to stockinette stitch. And since I noticed that the back of this sweater above the ribbing is all stockinette stitch, I realized that stockinette stitch is part of the pattern. I decided to get a gauge of 14 stitches to 4” (3 ½ stitches to the inch) to see how it would look. This would mean knitting the yarn at a looser gauge than is on the label, but I did get the gauge with a size US 10 needle and then tried the gauge with a sample of the diagonal eyelet pattern above it. The way I determined the gauge was to cast on 20 stitches and, with 3 stitches of garter on each side, I worked 14 stitches of stockinette stitch within this border. Then I measured 2 inches of stitches in the middle to get a very accurate gauge for stockinette stitch. Placing straight pins on each side of these stitches makes it much easier to measure. The correct gauge for 2” should be 7 stitches…and it is! I am not going to worry very much about the row gauge as the stitch gauge is more important to get the correct width.

Pix 3 -Gauge Stockinette

Then, I decided to continue with a sample of the diagonal lace pattern in the charts on the same swatch as my stockinette stitch. I could see that since the stitch did not pull in or make the swatch wider, that this gauge is correct. It looks good to go! So, for everyone joining our Knit-Along, just find which needles will give you a gauge of 3 ½ sts to 1” in stockinette stitch (knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side) and you will find the needles you will use for the entire project!

Pix 4-Gauge Swatch

I will write down on my pattern the needle size I need to use, since mine is different than the size in the pattern. Now I am already starting the back which is just K2, p2 ribbing for 9”. I love working with this cool and very pretty blue yarn.

Happy Spring and happy knitting until next week!

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  • Laura

    I was wondering how I could get the pattern stitches in my gauge after trying to start with the pattern stitches frustrated my efforts. Thank you.

  • Marian

    I was just wondering if you could incorporate the metric equivalents to the sizes. It would help us Canadian and British. Thank you.

  • Sarah

    What type of cast on are you using?

  • Debbie

    Hi I made up my swatch using the suggested 14 stiches for 20 rows of the chart pattern. I only had a wideth of 3 inches but my length came out perfect at 4 inches. Should the correct gauge be a sqaure or is correct length what I was looking for?

  • Terrie R

    I love that color! Is that the "Lake" or the "Seaspray" colorway of Cotton-ease?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Bikerhen Dorothy Bush

    Thank you Heather for hosting this knit along. I am making this one for my daughter in a light green. Have got the ribbing done for both front and back and working on the back section now. The front will be the challenge for me.

  • Kate

    I just knit my swatch with Cotton Ease on 8s. I have 5 sts per inch. I am aiming for an xs/s size as a 38 bust ( s/m) will be way too big. Do you think that should do it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Bikerhen Dorothy Bush

    I think there is a missing row in the pattern. On the back when you begin the decreases for the armhole, there is dec of 4 on the knit, then a decrease of 4 on the purl, a knit row, a purl row.. then a row where you decrease one stitch on either end. The pattern then says to repeat these two rows 3 (5,7, or whatever) times... but it doesn't mention what the purl row is. I am assuming it's a straight purl across to end up with the correct number of stitches. Can someone clarify?

  • http://www.facebook.com/diane.n.true Diane True

    When you are swatching for gauge; I just learned that you want to be sure and block your swatch before measuring to get an accurate picture of what your finished project will be like. For me this means that I need to go down in needle size to get a smaller stitch gauge (pre blocking) as after blocking my stitch gauge is always a bit bigger. Thoughts on when to measure stitch count.. before or after blocking?

  • Karen

    I too will need to size down to a xs/s what guage should I strive for?

  • Karen

    Actually, after giving this more thought, am I able to knit this in a size xs/s? I am not that experienced a knitter, so I would need some guidance in adjusting the pattern. A bust size of 35/36 would probably work for me.

  • Jenna

    I have never made a swatch and I do not know how to measure it once I make it. I am so lost. Should I start with a size 9 needle as the pattern calls for and see if it matches the stitch count. Help!

  • Janet

    I'm glad others asked about sizing down. I too need a smaller size and will now try different size needles for a smaller gauge rather than trying to adjust the pattern. Anxious to get going on it.

  • Karen

    To measure the length of the ribbing, do I measure from the cast on edge to the bottom of the needle, or to the top of the needle?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tamie.r.neal Tamie R. Neal

    Are we to finish within a certain time frame?

  • cpb

    I am enjoying this pattern a lot and making my first top for myself

  • Chele

    Here in Australia our wool(Yarn) is sold by ply 3-4 ply for baby wool 8 ply is most general and 12 ply thicker wool how do I work out what type of wool you would need for a garment

  • Lois

    Can I add sleeves? How do I compute the number of armhole stitches?

  • Kay Tibbits

    My question is, I have to make the extra large size to accommodate my bust size, but I am
    wondering if this size will be to big in the shoulders. When buying ready made clothing
    I have to buy to fit the bust, and most often the sleeves are way too long and the
    shoulders are too wide. Sweaters are not as problematic though has buying jackets.
    Any thoughts on this? I am using cotton-ease.

  • Linda

    hi, finally got to start today, finished my other crochet project, will be using VC in silver heather, hope it will turn out pretty, this is my 1st knit along.

  • http://twitter.com/whooshing Elaine Greywalker

    Thanks for clarifying a simple way to get gauge. I already tried once using the chart and discovered my stitches were too big. So, this time around I will take a simpler route. :)

  • Sandy

    Wish the 'cable needle' was mentioned under "Materials". I packed up this project & brought it on vacation with me (had just finished the back and was starting on the front) when I got to the chart & realized I need a cable needle. Didn't bring one, and since I'm in a fairly remote area without a selection of 'craft' shops around, my project has come to a screeching halt :(.

  • Pajamazon

    It appears there's a mistake in the pattern. The ribbing is Row 1: K2, P2. Row 2: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches. This doesn't make ribbing. Unless I'm missing something, shouldn't it be Row 2: Purl the knit stitches and knit the purl stitches?

  • Olga

    How did you decide which section of the lace pattern to check your gauge from? I cast on 20 and got the correct needle size and gauge in stockinette stitch and want to work the lace to make sure my swatch doesn't "pull" or become "wider". Should I just work in stockinette and only YO, ignoring the purls?

  • http://blog.lionbrand.com/2013/05/06/tranquil-tank-top-knit-along-additional-sizes-or-how-to-resize-a-pattern/ How to Resize Your Knitwear Pattern | Lion Brand Notebook

    [...] Tranquil Tank Top Knit-Along – Gauge Swatching [...]

  • Sharyn

    Thank you for this very clear demo on how to measure a gauge swatch. . .this is the first time I've understood how to do it!
    My top is now underway; I'm about two inches into the ribbing on the back and I'm really happy with how it looks, and am hopeful that at the end, it will fit, too. (The first sweater I ever tried to knit I didn't measure the gauge correctly and at the end of all my efforts it looked like I'd knitted myself a striped sausage casing.) This one I want to wear. . .!

  • Anita Keeton

    I only have 2 inches to go then I'll have finished the ribbing. I'm very excited. We are starting on the back, right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/suzanne.d.smith.35 Suzanne Desrosiers Smith

    Frustrated. Using Cotton Ease and #9 needles my swatch was 3", with 10 needles was 3.5, with 11 needles was about 4" but the resultant fabric was open and loopy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000744790486 Patricia Kirby

    all welland good but I crochet as I can get my project done faster(meaning they GET done)...have 6-8 knitting projects abandoned because of time constraints.

  • http://www.facebook.com/linda.lemire.58 Linda Lemire

    Hi, your pattern is so nice I want to make it but I look on the web site to find a video to see how to do 2/2 Lc or 2/2 Rc and I Do'nt fint it wher I can find the explanation

  • http://blog.lionbrand.com/2013/05/30/tranquil-tank-top-knit-along-a-photo-finish/ Tranquil Tank Top Knit-Along - Seaming and Finishing | Lion Brand Notebook

    [...] Gauge Swatching [...]