Swatch This! This Simple Square is the First Step

Posted by on Mar 5, 2013 in Knitting | Comments


While it might not be the most delightful task, swatching is a critical, totally necessary step when you’re preparing to make a sweater, Craftsy knitting instructor, Amy Herzog, explains. And we all know that knitting a sweater is fun. So, really, it’s the first step to knitting a sweater, which means that it’s part of the fun, see? In this free video, Amy explains why it is important, and how she measures her swatches. You don’t want to miss this. You also don’t want to miss her awesome class Knit to Flatter.

I’m Amy Herzog, knitting instructor at Craftsy.com and I have a tip for you on swatching. Nobody really likes to swatch, but it’s one of the most important things you can do if you want to wind up with a sweater that you love to wear. Not only is swatch important for gauge, but it’s your chance to audition the yarn that you’re using against the fabric that you want to create for the design that you’re knitting. I recommend making large swatches, that are easy to feel and play around with. And washing them the way you’re going to wash the finished garments. So that you have a really good idea of the fabric you’re going to end up with. To measure a swatch, make sure you’re knitting a square that’s at least 5 inches by 5 inches, so that you don’t get any wonkyness around the edges in your measuring.

Here’s how I measure my swatches. I take a ruler and put it as close to the center of the knitting where the stitches are more likely to be how they will be in my sweater and slowly and carefully count the stitches per inch. I like to count a full four inches because it’s really easy to pretend to yourself that that quarter stitch doesn’t exist if you’re only measuring one or two inches. And then do the same thing for rows; again close to the middle of the piece. You do have a little flexibility with natural fibers to block your gauge slightly larger if it’s required. One more thing to do as you’re knitting your sweater make sure that you’re continuing to check gauge to catch any changes due to your daily stress levels, what time of day you’re knitting, or anything else that might be going on in your life.

If you enjoyed that tip, and want to know more about knitting fabulous sweaters check out my class, Knit to Flatter, on Craftsy.com.

Want to know more about Amy, her inspiration, and why she loves knitting? Head here.

Comments

  1. Jane says:

    Thank you for the reminder to swatch and the tips on how to do it. Because sometimes I have to swatch several times to get gauge, I don’t always bind off each square for fear I’ll use up all my yarn. Do the yarn requirements in patterns take swatching into account or do you recommend buying an additional skein or hank to get all the yarn with the same dye lot? Thanks, Jane