Some knitters never knit a swatch; some knitters are fanatical about swatches. At STASH, we believe in moderation and like to test gauge in the following situations:
- If the finished piece needs to fit a human being
- If the finished piece needs to fit a fur baby
- If we are not really sure if the yarn is going to do what we want it to do (such as knit up in gauge)
- If we are about to invest a lot of time and money into a knitting masterpiece
- If the yarn supply is limited and we need to be sure that we will not run out (so if you buy yarn on vacation, buy three skeins so that you have enough to make SOMETHING for gosh sakes!)
When we get crazy and do not knit a swatch:
- If we already “know” the yarn and have knit with it
- If we are whipping up a flat or flexible project like a scarf, wrap, or cowl and are using the right needle size and yarn
- If we are not feeling too uptight about the results
- If we are lazy and want to chance it
What happens if you don’t knit a swatch and figure out your gauge?
- Your piece can be too big or too small
- Pieces may not sew together nicely
- Your hard knitting work is for nothing
- Sad, right?
So, how to swatch?
I like to do cheater swatches so that I can rest knowing that I am somewhat on the mark. To do a cheat swatch: