Swatching, interlude

Yarn and pattern matching, interlude.

Ok, so here are the five swatches it took to figure out which yarn I wanted to use. There’s still one more to come where I figure out sizing info, but these were what it took just to settle on a yarn.

One of the most common questions I get is what I do with my swatches. Usually I just rip them out. But as always the real answer is a bit more nuanced.

For swatches like these, where I am trying to match yarn and concept, but not yet trying to figure out gauge, I don’t generally block. Now, if you’re trying to figure out gauge, you ABSOLUTELY have to block. No room for argument. But if you’re just knitting a couple of rows, saying ‘nope, that’s not quite what I was looking for,’ and moving on, there’s no reason to block.

And if a swatch hasn’t been blocked, and hasn’t sat knitted up for too long, you can just rip it out and reuse the yarn whenever you want.

But if a swatch has been blocked, and even sometimes if it’s just sat in the swatch for more than a day or two, the yarn will be kinky when you rip it out. If that’s the case, you need to soak it and let it dry flat to get the kinks out (I’ve written about why you don’t want to knit with kinky yarn and what you do about it on the lots and lots and lots of times before).

So when I knit my next swatch for this hat, the one that will determine gauge, that one will get blocked. Meaning, when I rip it out, I’ll need to soak and dekink that yarn before I reuse the yarn. But these are already ripped out and wound back up onto their balls. And swatching totally doesn’t waste yarn.