Sometimes swatches lie

I decided to knit myself a Plaited Tam, but I wanted to try a different yarn; even though I loved the SweetGeorgia Yarns Superwash Sport I used for the sample, it's not available locally, and can take up to four weeks to arrive if ordered from the SweetGeorgia website (since it's dyed to order).  So I decided to make things a little challenging for myself, and use a yarn of a different gauge:  Cascade 220 Superwash, which is more of a light worsted weight.  I did a swatch of a couple of repeats of the Plaited Tam stitch pattern, including the ribbing, and since one repeat measured 2 to 2 1/4 inches at the bottom edge, after blocking, I figured the larger size, with 8 repeats, would give me a finished circumference of 16-18 inches.  Sounds good, right?  (I didn't care so much about the finished diameter of the tam-- a little oversized was fine with me).

I used Color #1910, a heathered aqua (color in photos is off-- it's much prettier in real life), and after blocking over a large plate, it was a bit oversized, at around 12" diameter.  But the ribbing part was only around 16" when measured while the tam was lying flat, so...

it was only when I tried to put it on that I realized that it was definitely too large!  I could not get it to stay on my head without it slipping down over my eyes, unless I perched it back behind my hairline (and then it looked like a wooly shower cap).

Lesson learned: even if a swatch seems to measure properly when lying flat, it is essential to consider how the fabric will behave when it's worn; in this case, the ribbing stretched too much under its own weight to hold the hat on my head.  I should have measured the swatch slightly stretched; when I did, one repeat measured 2 3/4 inches, which translates to a circumference of 22" (and my head is 21").  

Next:  I try knitting the smaller size!

1 Comment on this post:

Funny because I'm swatching right now and I hesitate between two needle sizes. At least it's a baby sweater and if it's too big, then it's not a problem. Then, the one size seems big enough in case it is in the end smaller than it should be. I'm more concerned about how the sweater will look and "feel"... Otherwise, your beret is gorgeous!

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