There. I’ve said it. I don’t swatch for gauge when I begin a new project.
I’ve held this dirty secret for years. I know I should swatch. I know my finished project will be more predictable in size and shape. I know it’s a sign of a sophisticated, grown-up knitter.
I don’t swatch.
When I start a new project, I like to shop my stash. I have a pretty good stash. I will pick up one or two balls or skeins of yarn on special trips (like festivals, new shop visits, a quick trip to my favorite local yarn shop, a Saturday, you know. Those special trips). I don’t buy a lot of yarn at one time, but I like to buy something that I find beautiful and could imagine being in some specific category (maybe socks, fingerless mitts, a shawl, cowl or a scarf). Then, when it’s time to start something new, I browse my collected patterns in Evernote or scan through Ravelry categories for something that catches my fancy. Sometimes I will search up some pretty yarn I have by brand in the Ravelry project database and see what lovelies other knitters have created.
And then I begin to knit. I follow the pattern with the needle size suggested. And if it feels too loose or too tight or just doesn’t look right, I don’t hesitate to pull the project out and begin again on a different size. If it still doesn’t turn out, I will file away the pattern for another day.
I’m an impatient knitter. I don’t want to make a little 4″x4″ square. Especially one in pattern and one where I would have to wash and block it. And if I have to do it in the round, in pattern followed by washing in blocking, I would have to wait forever—For. Ever—to actually start knitting my project. That is the opposite of what I want to do which is to just knit something pretty.
Of course I make sure I have the suggested amount of yarn in the pattern. Sometimes I’m right on. Sometimes I have a lot left over and once in a while, I have to adjust my pattern a little to accommodate less yarn (I had to do this for my Colonnade Shawl. Though surprisingly, this happens so infrequently that it’s more the exception than the rule.).
I’m pretty good at estimating what I need for a scarf or hat. Fingerless mitts usually turn out exactly how they’re supposed to. Socks are a new item in repertoire and they have all been toe up to date and made for me. I try them on as I knit and end when I’m done.
If I ever start making sweaters or more complicated items, I have a feeling this devil-may-swatch attitude may just bite me in the butt. Until then, I intend to knit dangerously.
What is your deep, dark crafting secret?