Swatching on the Ball

In my advocacy of swatching, I’ve encountered many reasons knitters list for skipping swatches. Swatches are boring, they know their gauge, they don’t want to wast yarn. Not wanting to “waste” yarn or the fear that swatching will leave you short is a valid concern and one I have a solution for.

While I enjoy getting to know the yarn through swatches occasionally there is a skein that is so precious that loosing any yarn to a swatch holds me back from casting on. I am also prone to purchasing single skeins or just enough for a small project. Again, this makes for yarns that enter my stash and sit neglected for years. The solution is alarmingly obvious.

Knit your swatch but instead of binding off the stitches, slip them to wast yarn. This way you can easily unravel the swatch once you have collected all the info you need. Because you don’t break the yarn, there are no ends to splice and no snags from unraveling the bind off. So simple.

Here are a couple I knit last week. The pink to brown yarn is Fleece Artist’s now discontinued 12 ply cashmere. I have a limited amount of it and no options for purchasing more. It is the most decadent yarn in my stash! The blue swatch is Misti Alpaca; I have two skeins and probably could find the colourway again but I’m attempting to curb my stash building.

Both of these yarns will likely be used in my next two projects but, as things can change, it is good to have a lasting record. Ravelry’s stash feature is a convenient place to keep notes. Having the record online means you can easily access them from anywhere, without having to dig through your stash or flip through notebooks. Adding photographs provide a visual record of how the yarn knits up, I find including a post-it with the gauge and needle size is helpful.

If you are on Ravelry,  visit my Fleece Artist and Misti Alpaca yarns to see what I thought important to record. Now that you can safely swatch without fear of running out of yarn, what will you make note of? Remember, swatches aren’t just for gauge, they can tell us much about how our yarns and stitch patterns will behave.


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