swatching, tips for practice

This month I’m advocating the practice of swatching, calling it my September Swatch Project. As the month draws to a close, I’m beginning to reflect on how it’s been to play with yarn. With that in mind, today’s post explores how a period of focused swatching will change how you interact with yarn.

They become a habit

You may find yourself winding yarn for the sake of seeing what happens when you play with it. Non knitters or crocheters love to ask “What are you making?” If you are in the habit of swatching in public, “I’m not sure yet” is a legitimate answer! I’ve found I’m as likely to work on a swatch as a current sock in progress. After swatching for fun(damentals), you may find that you now are willing to swatch for gauge. A fun swatch proves how you can play with the yarn and a gauge swatch tells you how you can play with the yarn.

Your stitch dictionaries will feel loved

I have a set of stitches I work with for each yarn in my swatch project, in order to be able to make comparisons across yarns. However, after years of using the same default motifs, lace patterns, and stitches, I now want to mix it up. The other day while flipping through a stitch dictionary I remembered that there are different variations within each of the types of stitches I’m working. It’s been fun to discover new stitches!

Castonitis is real

A common side effect of swatching is casting on multiple projects as you fall in love with different yarns. That’s ok. It’s a normal reaction. I’ve also found that when I actively swatch, designs happen. Even if they don’t relate at all to what I was working with. Perhaps it’s because I can let my mind wander while I work the simple stitches, or maybe it’s because I want something opposite to what I’m doing. In any case, design sketches and pattern ideas are filling my notebooks this month!


pile of knitting/crochet books with ball of yarn on top

I hope the posts this month help you learn more about swatching. Next week I’ll write about the biggest challenge as a result of all this swatching. Where and how to store them.

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