Do I Need a Swatch to Add to My Knitting Accessories

There are many knitting accessories that you will come across when beginning this new craft, or simply beginning a new project. In order to determine how many stitches you knit, you have to make a knitting swatch at least four inches by four inches to find your gauge.

At the beginning of every knitting pattern, mixed in somewhere with other vital information like the yarn and needle sizes used, is the gauge. The gauge tells you how many stitches should be in every inch of your knitting if you want your knitted item to reach the size you desire.

Save Wasted Time
Experienced knitters will tell you that you have to create a knitting swatch for each project. They know it is extremely frustrating to work on a project and finish it only to realize that you can't give it to your designated recipient because it is not the size you had hoped. A gauge swatch is necessary to make your lovely knitted object the size you want it to be. There are two instances when creating a knitting swatch is not necessary.

A Knitting Swatch-Free Zone
You don't have to make a gauge swatch when it doesn't matter what size your knitted object turns out to be. If you know your knitting tendencies (tight, loose, average), you can guess what size needle you need and begin knitting. Scarves, dishcloths and even afghans might fall into the "whatever size it turns out is fine with me" category.

You don't have to make a gauge swatch if it won't save you any work (For example, if you're making a child's sock). Of course, the pattern gives the gauge. To make a proper gauge swatch, you would need to make a sample of the stitch used, knitting in the round as called for in the pattern (For many people, their back and forth gauge and their round gauge are different, so your gauge swatch has to be done in the type of knitting used in the pattern).

You might as well grab the suggested needles and start the actual pattern, measuring the gauge after you are several inches in. The gauge swatch would be about the same diameter, so it wouldn't save you any work to make one. Ask yourself: Is the beginning of the pattern similar in size to my needed gauge swatch? If so, just start right in. You might be at the right gauge and save yourself some time.

Chances are that you just have to make one. This step will allow you to get to know your yarn. Enjoy the feeling as it slips through your fingers.

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