With knitting, there’s really only one way to be totally sure that the project you embark upon will come out to be the size the designer intended – knitting a swatch with the intended yarn and needles before you begin. I know, I know – I can hear the loud collective groan from knitters everywhere. Knitting projects take time and it’s excruciating to add even more time to a project with a boring ol’ swatch. Besides, it’ll be probably be fine, right? Won’t it?
Not always! Sometimes the failure to swatch makes the entire project a waste of time, yarn and energy. It’s so disappointing when that happens. But what if you could get some insight into how the project is likely to turn out for you? What if you could say with authority that you tend to knit two stitches tighter or looser than the recommended stitches on the yarn ball band?
Spending a little time and energy making some general swatches with the yarns you use most can give you an understanding of how a project will likely turn out for you without knitting a swatch for each and every project. Of course, I’d still recommend taking the time to swatch for big projects such as sweaters. But the understanding you obtain with this will make it easy to jump into most new projects with confidence.
The Path to Knitting Enlightenment:
- Take a dive into your stash and find some basic yarns in different weights. Bulky, Worsted, Sport, and Fingering if you have them. On the band for the yarn you’ll need the following information: Recommended Needle Size and Expected Stitches per 4 inches
- Enter the information for each yarn on its’ own worksheet (Found on Left)
- Using the CAST ON number you calculated on your worksheet, knit a swatch with the yarn until it’s square.
- Wash your swatch, block it lightly and count the number of stitches and rows per four inches
- Calculate your personal knit style to determine if you tend to knit tighter or looser with that yarn.
Now the next time you start a new project, you can say to yourself – Hmmmmm. I’ve noticed that I tend to knit 2 stitches tighter with worsted weight yarn, so I can go up a needle size to get closer to the designer gauge. OR, I’ve knit looser than the ball band states with the fingering yarn I have, so I’ll go down a needle size to get my knitting to match the recommended stitches per 4 inches.
This at least gives you some perception about YOUR knitting. And looking within helps you achieve knitting mindfulness. Or what I like to call Knitting Nirvana.