A quick swatch to take the edge off

Swatches, am i right? Either you love them, hate them, or form a grudging kind of respect for them. Which ever way you look at them, they are a persistent part of our knitting life. I’ve written before about my increasing levels of admiration for swatches as I’ve become a more experienced knitter. They are useful little tools, they can tell you things about the fabric you’ll get as well as the stitch gauge you can (probably) anticipate, and just straight up help you learn whether you’re going to like how that yarn is going to knit up.

For my money, though, one of the nicest qualities of a knitted swatch is that it’s a way for you to start a new project without actually having to start it. Just a little hit to take the edge of while you’re already in the middle of knitting something else.

SmokeyLakeSwatch

I’m still in the thick of it with my Exeter cardigan I blogged about earlier this week, and while I’m really itching to start something new, I’m also trying to get closer to the two-thirds-done mark at least, before adding another Work In Progress to the mix.

This is the beginnings of a stockinette swatch for the Smoky Lake cardigan, which I’ve had one eye on ever since it was published a couple of months ago. (The bag in the background is from ZigZag stitches, for the curious!) The yarn is the same as in the pattern, Briggs and Little Atlantic (I warned you I was in danger of going on a Briggs & Little yarn jag) and since it’s bulky weight I’m presuming that I will basically blink and the swatch will be finished. (A girl can dream).

I’ll also do up a swatch in cable pattern since the pattern does make gauge references to both stockinette and cable stitches, just to check and see where i’m at and if I need to modify needle size or pattern size or both. It’s refreshing to have a heavier weight of yarn on the needles after spending the last month on a worsted weight sweater.

Happy knitting this weekend, knitter friends – may your swatches all tell you exactly the information you want from them.

*

Pattern: Smoky Lake cardigan by Jessie McKitrik for Twist Collective
Yarn: Briggs and Little Atlantic, ‘brown heather’ colour

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9 comments

  1. Ahhh, swatches. I appreciate them for what they tell me and the time they save me, but I don’t love them – when I want to be knitting the thing, I don’t want to wait for a swatch to be knit and washed and dried. But I have learned to do it anyway. You are right, it tells you more than gauge. A sweater I have on the needles was saved by the swatch – I got gauge at the recommended needle size, but it was too thick and tight. I went up a needle size and the fabric was so much nicer. then I did a bit of math and made a smaller size – saving me hours of work over the course of the sweater!

  2. Glenna, Just an FYI … the link to Zig Zag stitches doesn’t work … says the
    page’s address isn’t valid.
    I’m getting better about swatches. I even washed and dried the last one … and there
    was a difference in size. Worth knowing! About time I woke up to that possibility.

  3. I am pretty much an Always Swatcher, although some of my swatches are on the tiny side. Once the knitting has started, I put the swatch in my purse so that I have it with me to match buttons or clothes, or whatever the finished knitting might need. The side benefit to that is that I get to know pretty quickly what happens to my knitting when subjected to hard wear…because its pretty tough in there in my purse!

  4. You are so good and patient. I like the heather in that yarn.

  5. I normally dont do swatches but if I am learning a new stitch for t he project, I will do it for that

  6. I always want to swatch but sometimes that involves learning how to count stitches in pattern which I have a block against. *sigh* someday.

  7. […] Swatches, am i right? Either you love them, hate them, or form a grudging kind of respect for them. Which ever way you look at them, they are a persistent part of our knitting life. I’ve written before about my increasing levels of admiration for swatches as I’ve become a more experienced knitter. They are […] Source link […]

  8. I am a reluctant (and half-assed) swatcher.
    I avoid swatches when I can, for blankets, shawls, sweaters, and the like, but always make them for garments that have to fit. Although I make swatches for sweaters, I don’t wash and block them like I should; after I determine gauge, I unravel the swatch and use the same yarn to cast on. Even though I overbuy yarn, I live in fear of running out before I am finished and am loathe to waste even a 4″ swatch worth.
    I cannot be alone in this!

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