Tutorials and Articles for Knitting a Gauge Swatch

Let’s talk about knitting a gauge swatch. Did I hear a few groans? I understand. Knitting a gauge swatch is not really one of my favorite pastimes, either. And honestly, I don’t do it as often as I should. The problem is that when one has the perfect yarn and the perfect pattern, it’s so difficult to avoid just diving into the knitting! But most of us probably have a cautionary tale of what has happened when we knitted a project without knitting a gauge swatch first. A sweater that would have fit only an elephant (or a mouse); hats that would maybe work better as mittens; socks that would have effectively cut off circulation to one’s feet if one attempted to wear them. These are the kinds of problems you risk if you attempt to knit a project without a gauge swatch. Of course, there are plenty of projects in which knitting a gauge swatch — sometimes referred to as “swatching” — isn’t necessary. Scarves are one fine example. Blankets (or blanket squares) are another. Dishcloths and washcloths are still further examples. But if the project in question is designed to fit perfectly around or over a certain part of your body, you really are asking for trouble if you don’t swatch first. Now, before I list a series of articles and tutorials about swatching, I’d like to offer a caveat. Swatching is NOT foolproof. That is, it is not a guarantee that the project you knit will fit perfectly. Many factors can influence swatching, and those factors could well cause your gauge in a swatch to differ from your gauge in the actual project. This is not to say that swatching is a waste of time; it is simply to remind you that while swatching will help you make informed decisions about your yarn, your needles, and your stitches, it is not a magical way to guarantee that your projects will be perfect. So then, let’s get to swatching! Articles and Tutorials for Knitting a Gauge Swatch Swatch Out: This is perhaps the finest tutorial I’ve ever read for swatching. It’s in-depth, wonderfully descriptive, and comes with photos. It’s everything you could want in a tutorial. Gauge-less Gauge Swatches, or “Dating Tips for Knitters”: This fantastic post from the TECHknitting blog offers a slightly different perspective on swatching, with some great suggestions for getting to know a new ball of yarn through swatching. Circular Swatches Knit Flat: Another TECHknitting blog post, this one offers two methods for knitting a circular swatch on two needles. You may have heard of the first method, but perhaps not the second. I didn’t, and I hope to try it soon! Gauge, Again: a Cautionary Tale: The final TECHknitting blog post here reminds knitters of what can happen to gauge when you switch from double-pointed needles to circulars, and back again! How to Knit a Gauge Swatch: Here’s a video tutorial for those of you who prefer videos to help with knitting techniques! Why Swatching Doesn’t Have to Suck: If you hate the very thought of swatching, if you resent the time it takes away from your actual knitting, you may want to give this article a read. Knitting Instructional: How to Measure Your Gauge Correctly: This video tutorial shows you how measure your gauge swatch accurately, so you know exactly what needle size changes, if any, need to be made after knitting a swatch. We hope that this selection of articles, tutorials, and videos will help you with knitting a gauge swatch for your next project — let’s do it this time!