During my first year of knitting, I never swatched. Never measured, either. [What? Waste all that yarn? Pfffft.] Moreover, I was the type of knitter who - gasp! - never read through or studied a pattern before beginning to knit. I just gave the pattern a quick skim-through, cast on the required number of stitches, and giddy-ap, pardner! Let's get knittin'! Which resulted in too large garments. Too small garments. Garments of the right size but with sleeves long enough for an ape's arms. Thankfully, my first year of knitting was dedicated solely to making things for my baby so swatching didn't seem necessary because I figured he could grow into his knitted garments (lazy girl reasoning, I know). Then I came up with a raglan cotton sweater pattern for myself and surprise! My first attempt came out a tad short in the tummy. I blocked the dickens so much out of that garment the cotton nearly slapped me back. Lesson learned: When coming up with a pattern, don't go with the gauge on the yarn label, brainy act. Knit. A. Swatch.
So these past few days have been swatch city for my new projects. Don't believe me? Take a look at how my table looked this morning
. When my husband saw all those swatches, he said, "Making waffles?" Funny guy. I guess they do look like waffles. But waffles that saved me from possible badly-sized garments. The swatches in beige cotton were knit using metal needles of varying sizes, and the swatches in cream-colored cotton were knit using bamboo needles of varying sizes. The swatch in straight stockinette stitch is for my husband's raglan sweater, and the swatches in box stitch are for my pretty cotton jacket. Please note that all swatches are done in the same yarn (Aviso, by Phildar), but it took me two swatches to get to the pattern's gauge of 16 sts per 10 cm of stockinette stitch for my husband's raglan sweater (prize goes to addi turbo's, size 4.5mm) and it took me four
swatches (there are two swatches missing from the picture) to get to the pattern's gauge of 17 sts per 10 cm of box stitch for my pretty cotton jacket (prize goes to crystal palace bamboo's, size 4mm). Yarn gauge is 17 sts per 10 cm on 5mm needles. Imagine how my knitting would have looked if I hadn't swatched? And that, my friends, is why swatching is my pal.
Speaking of pals (and on an entirely unrelated note), look what's on the needles for you, Carolyn