The Importance of Knitting Swatches

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Have you just found a gorgeous pattern with great yarn and you’re very excited to get started? Well, of course you are going to make a swatch………

Swatch making is the most valuable use of your preparatory knitting time. Swatches are the foreplay of knitting, always a worthwhile beginning to creating a satisfying experience. The most efficient swatch is made by casting on the number of sts designated in your pattern that will produce 4” in width (the "gauge"), in whatever stitch is used, on the needles the yarn calls for. After working for 2” (that is, 4" wide and 2" long), lay the swatch flat and measure the width. If the result is too narrow, jump up a needle size; conversely, drop down a size if you are too wide. The Rule Of Thumb: The gauge changes ½ stitch an inch per needle change. Do not tear out; just continue on with the adjusted needles, which gives you a good comparison of sizes.

While I was stressing the necessity of swatch making to a recent knitting class, one student proclaimed “I never make swatches, it's a waste of time.” I asked her if what she makes always fits? “SOMEBODY” was her reply. So there you have it.

Remember: "As ye knit; so shall ye rip"! Do you have a swatch story to share? A problem you need help with? Please add your comments! In future posts, I'll be discussing more of my "Knit to Fit" techniques.
Knits by Jani. Design by Pocket