How to knit a gauge swatch for circular knitting

I have been very frustrated over the years when attempting to knit a gauge swatch for a project worked in the round.  The gauge swatch was possible when given in stockinette stitch.  However, when the gauge was given “in pattern” it became much more difficulty.  Many times, I tried to convert the directions from the round into flat knitting (knitting the purls and purling the knits on the wrong side rows).  This conversion can be very difficult depending on the complexity of the pattern.  I often gave up on the gauge swatch which sometimes worked out OK, but many times did not.    It wasn’t until I started knitting Fair isle, that I learned how to accomplish this task.  Fair Isle is almost always knit in the round.  In order to knit a gauge swatch for Fair isle, or any project knit in the round, you can use a set of double pointed needles.  You knit across the right side, then move all the stitches back to the right side of the double pointed needle.    You then take the yarn(s) across the back of the work loosely and start knitting another right side row.  The back of the work will have long stretches of yarn spanning the width of the project.  This system will also work fine with a project with a single color.  Alternatively, you can cut the yarn at the end of each row and start with fresh yarn at the beginning of the next row.  Again, all the rows will be right-side rows as they are when you knit in the round.  I find when I cut the yarn, tension at the edges becomes very loose and it’s easy to loose stitches.  Drawing the yarn across the back of the project gives me more consistent tension.  I realize this system will use up more yarn then a standard flat gauge swatch.  However, I definitely have learned that is worth the extra time and yarn necessary to knit to gauge and end up with a finished product that fits.

 

Fair isle gauge swatch, step 2  Starting another right side rowLong strands across back of gauge swatch

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