Swatch Library Project, First Steps

In the last post, I invited you to join in the swatch project. Together we will build our own library of information so we can make better informed substitutions. We’ll do this by researching details about the yarn and swatching.

There are many other projects to help you learn to swatch. My goal for this project is to help you build a personalized library of your favorite yarns, stitches, and the swatches you create.

Tools

We’ll begin with one yarn and research and swatch it thoroughly. Here are some suggested tools you should gather:

  • Yarn, it can be the remains of a skein, but you should be able to make two, approximately 4 inch (10 cm) square swatches.
  • A knitting needle or crochet hook in the size you think you want to work the yarn.
  • A way to record your research and findings. This can be a notebook, a folder to keep sheets of paper, or a spreadsheet.

I created a free worksheet to help you begin to record things. This first version (2020-08-28) is a very basic document. All of the information included within it is available in this blog post. The PDF provides some structure to formatting your information to help you make comparisons to different yarns and swatches later.

Information to record

We’ll begin with the yarn.

  • What is its name?
  • Are you using a specific colorway?
  • What is the yarn weight?
  • How is the yarn put up? Is it a hank, skein, cake, cone, or some other type? This is where I also record the yardage and unit weight.
  • What fiber is this yarn made of? If it’s more than one, what are the percentages? You can often find this information on the label.
  • How is the yarn structured? Is it a single strand? 2-ply?
  • How is it suggested you care for this yarn. If you don’t find anything on the yarn label, there my be care symbols, check the company’s website.

What I’m swatching

My first swatch is in Oink Pigments Coven.

  • Yarn Name: Oink Pigments Coven
  • Colorway: Cautionary Whale, variegated teal, navy, and light grey
  • Yarn Weight: Light fingering
  • Put up: Skein, needs winding
  • Unit Weight: 100g
  • Yardage: 460 yds
  • Fiber(s): 65% Silk, 35% linen
  • Structure: 3 ply (not cable), balanced gentle twist — not high twist, not loose
  • Care: Hand wash cold, lay flat to dry.
  • Additional notes: The grey looks much lighter than the image on the website.
Swatch Project Worksheet on wooden desk with information in list above filled out, the caked yarn and "The Knitters Book of Yarn"

If you need help describing your yarn, there are many resources available. I often turn to The Knitter’s Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn by Clara Parkes.

Next steps

Next time we’ll fill in information about our needle or hook, and details about the first swatch.

Reader interactions

2 Replies to “Swatch Library Project, First Steps”

  1. Great article and starting information for my first swatch library project. As a beginner knitter, this is exactly what I was looking for in helping me through my progress. Do you have any suggestions for ways to store the actual swatches for future reference. Would notebooks and/or binders work for storing these as well or is there any other storage option that I should look for?

    Thank you for your insight and am looking forward to future swatch library project articles.

    Reply

    1. Hi Kristie,

      There’s many different ways and I’ve used several over the years. Just try something and see what you feel comfortable with. I’ve used sheet protectors in a binder, sewn swatches to pages of a notebook, tied tag-labels to swatches and tossed them in a storage box, photocopied the swatches to labels pasted that into my notebook and tossed the swatches in a storage box… if all your swatches are similar then you could turn them into either an objet d’art or something actually useful. I turned handspun swatches that were knit, crochet, and woven into a banner. The possibilities are endless.

      Reply

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