Emily M. DeArdo

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Yarn Along #82: The Swatch Post!

knittingEmily DeArdo2 Comments

Should this be Yarn Along Part A? Not sure. Because there will be a proper yarn along, as well, with shawl progress and book goodness, because who doesn’t need that in January (or anytime, really)? But this is the swatch and blocking post because I learned a lot from doing this and I wanted to share with you!

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First, though, we’re going to talk about this picture. Is this not awesome? It’s called “A Visit from the Angels”, but notice that Mary is knitting! I love it! I also love how Jesus is like, “Oh, angels. That’s cool.”


So, on to swatching!

I have never swatched before. But I thought, with the big Find Your Fade shawl coming up, that maybe I should. So I swatched, using the same type of yarn called for in the pattern (Knitpicks Hawthorne). You check for gauge in this case post-blocking, so I blocked it and measured it.

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Now, it’s not quite at gauge. I don’t really care about that, because it’s a shawl so it’s not like it has to fit a certain way. I’m actually under the gauge—the swatch should measure 4x4, but it doesn’t. It’s a bit short.

However, I knitted a few more swatches, because, why not? I used the same yarn, but in a different colorway, and what I noticed was what a difference blocking makes.

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On the left: a blocked swatch. On the right: Non-blocked. I mean look at that! Amazing!

I also knitted up swatches in different needle sizes: 4 (the size suggested), 6, and 8. It’s sort of hard to tell here, but you might be able to see that on the 8, it’s almost twice the size of the 4, which makes sense, but it’s also sort of sloppy. I had a hard time maintaining tension with this yarn on size 8 needles. After blocking it did look less sloppy, but it’s still pretty unpretty, so I’m using it underneath a vase on my kitchen table. :)




This is all post blocking: The 8 is in the back, 6 in the middle, 4 in front.

This is all post blocking: The 8 is in the back, 6 in the middle, 4 in front.

I didn’t hit gauge with the 6 needles, either—this time it was too big. I’m still relatively new to knitting, so I’m not entirely sure what this means….maybe I should’ve tried the five size needles? :)

Anyway, lessons to take away here:

  • Blocking is magic!

  • Swatches did help me learn how yarn feels on the needles, and I got used to working with this particular yarn.

  • It was also useful to see how it knits up on different size needles. Now I know, for example, that I’d never use this yarn on anything bigger than a 6. Maybe a seven. But on the 8s, it just did not work. A size six needle is OK, though.

  • I’m pondering doing a swatch blanket or something like that—it’s actually really relaxing to sit and swatch in garter stitch! And I think it could be a good way to stash bust as well.

Any thoughts on swatches, gauge, or other knitty things? Let me know in the comments!