Creating Knitting Patterns, Day 5: Knitting Swatches

Welcome to Day 5 of the Complete Guide to Creating Knitting Patterns series! Today, we are going to talk about knitting swatches.

So what exactly is a swatch?

A swatch is a small sample of knitting in your selected yarn, needle size and stitch pattern.

Usually, two or three pattern repeats are worked to see the resulting texture without having to knit a larger piece.

Swatches Are Your Friend

Most people consider knitting swatches to be very annoying (this includes me) but I can assure you knitting a swatch is a step in the design process (in every knitting process, actually!) you should not avoid.

Knitting a swatch serves two purposes:

  • Determining your knitting gauge, which is essential especially when designing garments, and
  • Checking if the texture of the resulting fabric from your needle/yarn combination is okay.

Always Knit Swatches Larger Than Necessary

For checking the texture alone, a swatch in the size of the desired stitch count for a 10 by 10 cm (4 by 4 in) might be sufficient. For further calculations, working a larger swatch is recommended – the larger your swatch, the more precise your calculations will be. (That’s an advise I barely follow myself. I’m a lazy swatch knitter. Shame on me!)

Exercise: Knit Swatches For Your Selected Stitch Patterns

Knit a swatch for each of your selected stitch patterns. Go and get some practice now – creating knitting patterns in easier than you think. You can do it, too!


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