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:
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.
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!