knitting, socks

This is how I swatch

I know that swatches are good things. And that you should definitely do them if you want things to fit. But I hate doing them anyway.

I took a Knitting Boot Camp class a couple of years ago, and it was recommended that for every project you make at least a 5” by 5” square, with nice garter selvedges, that you then wash, block, dry and measure.

And while that sounds very sensible, I just don’t have the patience to do all that before I start a project. It also sometimes feels like a waste of good yarn. So I’ve made a compromise with myself. It looks like this:

sock swatch


This is my swatch for the Triton Socks that I started yesterday. I’ve had this pattern and yarn combo in mind for a while, and I finally decided it was time to go for it. I love the idea of this sea blue yarn being used in a sock named for the Greek god of the sea. What I did not love was that I needed to check my gauge. I was hoping that I could get away with a smaller needle than suggested, as the last socks I made on 2s seemed a bit loose for my liking. I swatched on a 1 1/2 and knit only enough to be able to squeeze my ruler onto it and then measured.

gauge swatchBy some miracle, even though I’m usually a tight knitter, the 1 1/2 needles put me right on target.

I didn’t bother with a soak or a block. I just ripped out the swatch, and used the same yarn to begin my sock.

While I know this isn’t the optimum way to swatch, it generally works for me. I at least do a check without holding up the beginning of a project too much. To be fair, I don’t really knit sweaters (where I would probably actually do the whole big swatch, wash, block thing), just socks and mitts that – so far – have fit  by using this shortcut method.

This is one of the things I like about knitting: everyone has their own methods. As long as it works for you, keep going with it!



7 thoughts on “This is how I swatch”

  1. I never swatch for socks. I figure that item is small enough that I’ll just rip it out and start again.
    Your stitches are so neat and even:)

  2. I too do mini swatches for small items or for new yarns that are similar to ones I’ve workd with before. I, however, find it handy to keep the swatch and lable it with the yarn, needles and date. This way if I don’t need to swatch the next time i use the yarn – or i have a better idea of where to start.

  3. That’s a good idea! I try to keep good notes on what I did on Ravelry for future reference, but nothing beats having the actual example.

  4. Thanks! Depending on my mood, I do that too. I started another pair of socks yesterday and I am completely winging it – I don’t even really have a pattern!

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