My Swatch Doesn't Tell Time

I have been known to make a bad knitting decision or two in my time.  Some might even call some of the things I make ugly.

I am sooooo determined not to let that happen to my first sweater.  So I am doing what I NEVER do, and I am swatching.

For those of you non-knitters out there, a swatch is not a plastic watch from the late 80s (or not JUST a plastic watch from the 80s).  It is the way you make sure the sweater you spend 300 hours on doesn't turn out ten times bigger or smaller than you want it to be.  Here's how it works.

Your pattern has a gauge that it says you should get.  For example, the sweater I want to make has a gauge of 16.5 stitches and 20.5 rows per four inches.  I tried knitting a square on the suggested needle size and got 20 stitches in three inches.  My sweater has about 250 stitches I have to cast on.  If I went ahead and knit a sweater with that gauge my sweater would be 18% or 6.5 inches smaller than I would want it to be.  PROBLEM!

I knit a second swatch with a needle size bigger.  It was still too small.  The first one had grown a bit when I gave it a bath, but even water didn't make this one right. 

I knit a third one on even bigger needles.  It is still too small....even after a bath.  I will have to knit a straight stockinette stitch swatch to see if it is just my cables doing this to me or if I really do need to go up ANOTHER needle size.

All of this is to say that I knit at least two, if not more, needles sizes tighter than this particular designer.  When I was in my (short-lived) weaving class, my instructor said I was a tight warp-er as well.  She implied this made me high strung (as in, I literally strung my warps too tightly).

I told her that I just wanted it to be perfect, and that I didn't know why people thought that made me high-strung, and that I was just taking pictures for my blog, not because I had to visually document everything to make sure that it was perfectly right or anything, and that did she think that being high-strung was why my knitting was so tight, too, did she, did she, huh?!?!?!?!