Friday, February 20, 2015

Swatching For A Purpose

I hate swatches! It's something I normally avoid at all costs. To me it's pointless and a waste of time. It's VERY rare that I knit a swatch.

What is the point of a swatch you ask? Well it is normally done to test the gauge of yarn. You can find the guidelines for the swatch on the wrapper of the yarn. It is usually a square with knitting needles in it (there will also be one for crochet). This will tell you what size needles to use, how many rows to use, and what size square you should end up with. For example, on the yarn I'm currently using, it suggests to use size US 8 (5 mm) needles. Cast on 18 stitches, knitting 24 rows, should end up with a 4x4 inch square. If it doesn't end up the size you'll need to change your needle size. (Too small - go up in needle size, Too big - go down).

Also, keep in mind that if you use a different weight of yarn then is recommended for a project, it won't end up the same dimensions.

However, my favorite reason to swatch is to test out a pattern. It gives you a great idea of what the pattern will look like. This swatch I knit (pictured below) was a test for a baby blanket pattern. It similar to the pattern I used on the oceans blanket. It's the same basic pattern (the oceans blanket was knit in garter stitch and the swatch was knit in stockinette stitch). I wanted to see because of the border would stop the stockinette blanket from rolling up.

The sad news is that it did still roll up a bit. The good news is that I made this for a friend to use in her Christmas nativity scene, to line the manger for baby Jesus.

I like the way it looks. I think for future baby blankets the outer border will need to be done in garter stitch.

Happy Crafting!