Knitters come in many shapes and forms with infinite approaches to their craft. In my experience, this is very much shaped by personality and nothing is more revealing than someone’s approach to swatching.
Knitting designers and pattern writers, knitting magazines and project books all, almost without fail, emphasise the importance of swatching. Getting gauge is one of the ultimate knitting goals and one must not dream of starting a WIP without it.
However, I believe the reality is often quite different. How many of us really do swatch without fail?
Do you always knit that little square of yarny mathematics for every pattern you embark upon?
These are my swatches; I keep them in the
folly belief that one day I will be able to make a blanket from them, a mosaic of all of my knitted objects.
As you can see, either I have only knitted three items (the observant among you will see two swatches in one yarn…that must have been a real fit of enthusiasm), or I tend not to swatch. I will let you work it out.
My approach to swatching tends to reflect my approach to most things…I just wing it. I throw everything into the arms of the knitting fates. Generally this tends to pay off; I know enough about my knitting to know that as a rule of thumb (what is that? I have no idea but it sounds good) I get gauge. Shhhhh, don’t say it too loud, the knitting fates don’t like it to be known that swatching isn’t always necessary.
There is some rationality behind this though. There have been very few occasions (once that I can recall right now) where I haven’t ended up with (oh, just remembered another) a garment that fits. One being where it fit a friend instead and consequently I swapped the offending cardi for some absolutely gorgeous handspun yarn, so a great result for me; the other being where poor old Mr Knittingkitten ended up with a rather outsize jumper and as a result, refuses to have another one knit for him, another great result for me (I’m a selfish knitter). So you can understand why I’m not especially motivated to swatch.
Moving on to stonecutter, I have finished the first sleeve:
It’s looking fab and I have started the back. However, I had to change the increases otherwise I was going to end up with one that was waaay too long. I can’t really work out why, apart from the fact I’m knitting with a different yarn than the one recommended by the pattern….did I mention that I don’t swatch?!?