Mama Knits Crochets and Quilts

Mama Knits Crochets and Quilts

A mom and needle craft blog

To swatch or not to swatch…

I started knitting my swancho, and of course was excited about a new project and jumped right in — no swatching.  After all, I am using the exact yarn recommended for the pattern.  The pattern was written for this exact yarn.  So here we go.

Twenty rows in, I am not at the right size.  I should have 4 inches and definitely have at least 4 1/2, maybe 4 3/4.  I almost always have to go down a needle size.  I know this.  But a new project!  Ready to go!  Let’s go!!  Even my 5 year old knows me and said “Mama you get too excited” as I was lamenting the situation.  So now I have to pull it off the needles and undo everything.

I now have a big pile of undone yarn in a mess at my feet, and I will be a prudent knitter and do gauge swatches until I get the right size needles, and then start again.  But I can tell you I love this yarn, I love this color, I love to knit, so I am not too upset at all.  Which means I’m sure I will do this again on a future project (jump in, not swatch, frog, redo, etc.).  That’s just me.

[For non-knitters, a knitting pattern always includes a recommended needle size and gauge — how many stitches and how many rows needed to make a knitted fabric square that measures 4 inches on each side.  The yarn used, the style of knitting, and the person holding the needles all affect gauge.  Knitters always do a gauge swatch before starting a project to make sure they are using the right size needle, to ensure that the project will come out to the correct size after following the pattern all the way through.  Being off, even a little, at 4 inches will end up making a big difference in the finished project.  So you change needles, going up or down a size as needed, until your swatch is as close to 4 inches as possible.  Only then do you start the project…]