Casting off: Why Swatching is Important

Swatching.  It can be a boring, annoying requirement in hand-knitting almost anything.  It stands between you, and getting started for real on that project you can’t wait to see come to fruition.  I have been guilty of skipping swatching and jumping straight in on many occasions.  Often it hasn’t mattered much, as it’s been for a toy or something similar where final dimensions aren’t as critical.

More recently I have disciplined myself to swatch, and it has really paid off, especially where knitting to my own design.  Swatching is the device which allows you to know that your end item will be exactly the size that you want it to be.

Despite my improved work-flow, I have found a way to be lazy about it.  I have been only swatching a couple of inches of rows, just enough to measure the rows in one inch.  This half-measure method came up and bit me on the tush just last week.

I was using a yarn which I have used on multiple projects, and therefore felt confident I knew how it would behave on my latest WIP.  How often confidence is one’s downfall!

Around halfway through the WIP, I stopped to measure my progress and realised it had ended up being around 30% wider than I had planned.

Rather than undo all of my work-so-far, I amended my design, and came up with this drawstring bag:

I’m quite pleased with the outcome, and so this grey cloud of lazy swatching turned out to have a silver-lining.  It is now listed on my Etsy store.

We learn through our mistakes, and my lesson is learnt.  Take the time to swatch properly, no matter how long it takes.


2 thoughts on “Casting off: Why Swatching is Important

  1. I have never knit a swatch but I haven’t really knit anything that would need one before. It definitely intimidates me though, mainly because I’ve never done it before. I really like your bag :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Casey – I’m glad you like the bag. It was a happy ending to a WIP that ended up bigger than it should have been!

      Swatching isn’t hard once you know what you’re doing and why. I’ll do a post on it, if you like, and hopefully that will help? How long have you been knitting? What kinds of things do you make?


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