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Hudakore
Warming Up

USA
69 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2011 :  7:48:03 PM  Show Profile Send Hudakore a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The thing I dislike the most when starting a new project is making that all-important swatch for gauging my sts and rows per inch (usually 4"). Does anyone have a shorter way to check their tension?

"A stitch in time saves nine...unless the pattern is all wrong".

Consuelo
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
582 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2011 :  11:03:17 AM  Show Profile Send Consuelo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Believe me, if one existed, I would've found it or invented it... I have surrendered to the swatch gods and now do them religiously.

Consuelo
"Perfect" is the enemy of good!
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kbshee
Permanent Resident

USA
4165 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2011 :  11:54:21 AM  Show Profile Send kbshee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On rare occasions you can integrate the swatch into the piece. Example: a patch pocket for a sweater or a bag.

kim in oregon
http://kbshee.blogspot.com
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lacylaine
Seriously Hooked

USA
993 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2011 :  5:25:23 PM  Show Profile Send lacylaine a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've heard of knitters who use the sleeves of a sweater as the gauge swatch. But since you really need to wash and dry a swatch to find out how it really performs, I'm leery of that. OTH, if you're using the same yarn for many different projects, then the sleeve idea sounds perfect.

Melanie

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." Ecclesiastes 9:10

2010 FO: two pair felted clogs, two chemo caps for Mom 2011 FO: BYOB (market bag), Hedgerow Mitts, pair of wristers/sweatbands, Baby Alpaca Grande Vest; LYS mystery shawl




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briarrose
New Pal

34 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2011 :  03:48:26 AM  Show Profile  Visit briarrose's Homepage Send briarrose a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Another reason to swatch is to see if you're going to like how the fabric reacts. Either to the stitch definition or pattern. Also, you can practice the stitch, to see if you really want to make a whole sweater out of that stitch pattern.
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metromaples
Seriously Hooked

USA
878 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2011 :  06:25:10 AM  Show Profile Send metromaples a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You only have to swatch if you want the project to fit.
And if it matters if the knitted fabric is too stiff or too airy.
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jtingey
New Pal

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2011 :  07:59:10 AM  Show Profile  Visit jtingey's Homepage Send jtingey a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The hazard of not swatching, for me, is that I've had to frog projects when the gauge came out wrong. So, that could be your trade off: skip swatching, but be willing to frog.

As I have become a more experienced knitter, I find that I love swatching. It's like getting to know a new best friend most of the time. And when it's not, I'm really glad I spent the time swatching so I could find out that the yarn wasn't right before I was hours and hours into a project.
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lella
Permanent Resident

9712 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2011 :  09:34:11 AM  Show Profile Send lella a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The only thing I don't swatch for is socks and even then, if it's a new -to me - yarn, I'll swatch.

The reason is that my knitting is loose, and I have to use smaller than called for needles. Just every once in awhile, my gauge will match perfectly on the right size needles for a sweater and I need to know this before knitting a whole bunch of it. I do not like frogging.

Lella

Zippiknits

"Life is good if you don't weaken." Calvin Coolidge
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robinstephanie
Permanent Resident

USA
1257 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2011 :  1:06:29 PM  Show Profile Send robinstephanie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I agree with Lella and jtingey. I'm pretty new to knitting but so far have always swatched because I learn so much about how the yarn is going to behave, both on my needles and in the stitch pattern. I also use this stage to learn the stitch pattern itself, if necessary.

I like to wash/dry swatches before I knit, so I don't waste time and effort making a fabric that I don't like in the end.

Although at first I hated it, I've come to appreciate swatching. I love the anticipation of the project that swatching creates. It's become this marinating/stewing stage that's a really fun part of my knitting, and for me, it makes my knitting better, beyond things like correct tension and sizing. Swatching gives me more confidence about what I am doing. OK, wrapping it up; this is like a love letter to the swatching gods!

Robinsteph

Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
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lella
Permanent Resident

9712 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2011 :  5:26:58 PM  Show Profile Send lella a Private Message  Reply with Quote
An I will give you a little "agrees" button push on that Robinsteph. Good points about swatches. You can make doll blankets out of them, too. heehee

Lella

Zippiknits

"Life is good if you don't weaken." Calvin Coolidge
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Jane
SustaYning Member

USA
4388 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2011 :  02:51:59 AM  Show Profile  Visit Jane's Homepage Send Jane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ah, I think it might be time to revisit Clara's excellent Swatcher's Manifesto! The only time I don't swatch is when I'm using a sock yarn I have used many times before (yep, that would be Sundara...). I usually make a separate swatch, and I don't necessarily keep it it depends on whether I think I'll need those few yards or not!

Jane

Betty deserves everything and more: Make a Donation
Blog: Not Plain Jane
Photos: Flickr Album
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Ceil
Permanent Resident

USA
1796 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2011 :  9:36:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit Ceil's Homepage Send Ceil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I admit to cheating a little bit when I swatch. I use a circular needle so that I can slide the piece onto the cable (almost like taking it off the needles). When knitting socks, I measure bumps on the purl side to get the gauge after knitting just a few rows. But mind you: I'm a combination knitter, so my ks and ps use roughly the same amount of yarn.

Ceil
(Ravelry: ceilr)
Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
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AngieSue
Permanent Resident

USA
1606 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2011 :  05:21:45 AM  Show Profile Send AngieSue a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I used to hate swatching. Now I can't wait to try a new yarn. I love seeing how a yarn can change after a good wet blocking. But, I've also discovered that, afer blocking, the yarn I wanted to use will not work for that project. Like others, though, I never swatch for socks. I can look at a sock yarn and know which needle and number of CO stiches will work for me.

Angie

Ravelry: AngieSue
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lacylaine
Seriously Hooked

USA
993 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2011 :  09:31:24 AM  Show Profile Send lacylaine a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One last thought - swatching can be the perfect on-the-go kind of project. Sometimes I just can't face another dish cloth but I don't have an easy project going. Swatching for my next project keeps me happy and motivated to finish my current WIP. I recently discovered that the size needles called for by the yarn label are just too small for the vest I want to knit. Now I need to order another pair since I have none above my size 11s. Sigh. But at least I know!

Melanie

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." Ecclesiastes 9:10

2010 FO: two pair felted clogs, two chemo caps for Mom 2011 FO: BYOB (market bag), Hedgerow Mitts, pair of wristers/sweatbands, Baby Alpaca Grande Vest; LYS mystery shawl




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Chicken Stitches
New Pal

Israel
31 Posts

Posted - 08/01/2011 :  10:43:41 PM  Show Profile  Visit Chicken Stitches's Homepage Send Chicken Stitches a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I almost never swatch.

One - because I very rarely use someone else's patterns. I design my own as a go along. Admittedly this is not for everyone. But I love knitting improvisations.
Two - I get my knitting off my needles after the first two inches. This is when I measure it and check out if I am on the right track. It is a lot more reliable than making a swatch. Of course if I do not like what I got I will happily rip it out.
Three - Swatches are deceptive. I get different tension in a different mood or even different weather. This is not something one can see in a swatch. Taking my knitting off the needles, checking it out and measuring it a few times during the course of knitting a project works a lot better for me.
Four - I will swatch to try out a new pattern stitch. I will want to know how it behaves and get accustomed to it. This way as my fluency in this pattern grows and I relax my gage will relax too.


Henya

Want to know me better - visit my blog http://chickenstitches.blogspot.com/
For unique patterns and stitch markers visit http://www.chickenstitches.com/shop
Visit my Etsy shop - http://www.etsy.com/shop/ChickenStitches
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Grand-moogi
Seriously Hooked

Australia
783 Posts

Posted - 08/03/2011 :  06:47:28 AM  Show Profile Send Grand-moogi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For a long time I did not need to swatch because I knew that whatever size needles the pattern said, I had to use two sizes smaller because I was a very loose knitter. However, there is now a greater variety of yarns on the market and also patterns from all over the place. I cannot depend on the old "Use 2 sizes smaller" rule. Therefore I have to swatch altho I cheat and only knit a little bit. I have recently found out that my knitting seems to have tightened up and I now seem to knit closer to the reccommended guage. Also I do not block. I knitted successfully for 50 years before I even heard of blocking so why should I do it?
However, you are gradually converting me. My daughter always swatches and blocks. She even bought some foam stuff to set out her blocked garments on. It is like that foam rubbery stuff they make mats out of. In fact it is supposed to be a mat for a child's play area. It is in four big squares and she puts two or more together in whatever configuration she needs.
I remember suggesting some time back that swatches can be used as pockets but I really like that idea of making dolls blankets out of the swatches. I will keep it in mind.

I knit a hug into every stitch
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