Wednesday, September 23, 2015
thoughts on swatching
Recently, I have been enjoying the simple pleasure of knitting swatches- both for my projects and simply with yarn I've never worked with before. There's something so calming about knowing that you have the opportunity to try out a yarn without the pressure of creating that perfect FO. That you have the chance to knit it up and find out what it wants to be before you cast any projects on.
This is new for me. I will just come right out and say it- I've only recently started to swatch. I did not make a swatch for my first sweater (and thus suffered the consequence of a very ill fitting end result). I don't think I even knew what a swatch was until several years into my knitting career. I had always tended to skip over that section in the pattern where the gauge is stated, and because for several years all I knit were cowls and scarves (and the occasional hat) I did mostly ok.
But now I look forward to this step in the process. It's a similar step to learning good finishing techniques, or paying attention to where your yarn comes from. If you're going to spend all this time and creative energy on making something by hand, then it should be the very best that it can be. Knit from high quality fiber, blocked and seamed appropriately and with the correct gauge and fit.
So now I try and take my time- to wind my yarn by hand and knit a gauge swatch before jumping into a project. To maybe even knit a swatch before I'm exactly sure what I'll be casting on. And to enjoy swatching as just one more step in the process.