I love gauge swatching. I always do swatches. Always, except when I don’t. I have three projects either on, or going on, needles right now that I have no plans for gauge swatching, which I openly admitted in my newsletter, but I thought I should provide some clarification.
Gauge Swatches: Lisse Hat
I didn’t swatch this one because I have made it before, have had samples made by others, and it is such a small project that I would happily just rip it out if it didn’t come out right. Remember, I created the original, so I’m pretty clear on what goes into this project in terms of techniques that might impact my gauge.
Result: I love my hat. The gauge is close enough (as yet unblocked) for this project, and the row gauge, which is significantly different, seems to be working out.
Gauge Swatching: Esperance Cowl
- I don’t care about the size of the finished object–I’ll wear it however it comes out.
- It is a moebius so swatching is difficult.
- This is handspun, so I’m not likely to ever replicate this exact piece.
- I have plans for things I can do if the finished size isn’t what I’m expecting.
- I need a little freedom sometimes.
- Because I really can’t tell what the gauge will be until way into the project, I did WPI to get an idea of the gauge I might get.
Result: I’ve only cast on and am on the setup round, so the jury is still out.
Gauge Swatching: Taos
I am going to use the yarn I chose with the size needles I call for in the pattern. I think my yarn is a little finer than what I’ve used in the past, but I don’t mind if this comes out with a more open gauge. Also, this piece starts with working a 23-stitch panel, so I’ll have a good idea if my plan is working by the time I’ve gotten the equivalent of a swatch length of that panel. If I have any doubts I can block the panel after I have enough for it to be a good swatch.
Result: I will pause once I get about 6″ into the Bottom Panel to assess and maybe block.
Gauge Swatching: Why Do I Insist on Them?
I really believe you need to be familiar with the yarn, the stitch pattern, and the techniques (that might impact gauge) before a project takes off. Of course you can commence a project with none of that familiarity, but I do like things to work out.
Of course I like gauge swatching, so it is actually more difficult for me to not make a swatch. All the projects listed above are one-skein projects and so the investment in time is fairly small. I don’t mind ripping things out if they aren’t right when it is something small. I do not enjoy having a major project go off the rails because I didn’t do my due diligence. Then I have no one to blame but myself, and that doesn’t serve anyone.
Gauge Swatching: Information is Knowledge
Sign up for my newsletter and get a valuable two-page document giving you almost everything you need about gauge swatching. Already a newsletter subscriber and want to get this helpful tutorial? It will go out to subscribers also be available through the the newsletter on Thursday. Watch this video to find out how I take gauge.