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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

My Sloppy Swatching

Here's my Sloppy But Generally Reliable swatch technique.

Really it's no big deal. I don't go whole hog but sometimes I get surprised on fit. The truth is it's REALLY important, especially for us who just kind of wing our projects without much in the way of patterns.

Here's what I do:

Figure what needle you will want and cast on about 10 stitches. Knit all rows back and forth for at least 10 rows (this will be fast) and see if you like the way it's coming out. If you plan to do your thing in other than garter stitch, do that stitch after two rows all knit and take a look.

If you like the size and look of the stitches, great. If not, go to a bigger or smaller needle. No need to start a new swatch by the way. When you get the stitches looking the way you like them, rip out this swatch.

With the needles you like, cast on 16 stitches, or whatever you will need to yield a swatch between 3 and 4 inches wide.

Knit two full rows in garter stitch, then knit the first and last two stitches of all rows and do your chosen stitch between.

Do enough so you feel like you would get a good measure - probably about 3 to 4 inches high - then garter stitch last two rows and bind off LOOSELY, leaving a big loop where your last stitch was. DON'T break your yarn.

Measure the stitch pattern against your KNIT CHECK. Count the stitches in two inches and divide by two. Do this with the KNIT CHECK positioned at various points in the swatch to be sure you're getting an accurate reading.

When satisfied, rip out the swatch and use the yarn for your project.

Cutting it, washing it, all that is just a waste to me. Like I said, doing it by the book yields 100% reliable results, but knitted garments are springy and will hide a multitude of sins, not the least of which is sloppy swatching.


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