Wednesday, March 7, 2012

EZ Swatch

I'm not one for swatching.  I usually don't swatch at all.  If something isn't working out I just rip it out and try a different needle or something to adjust for whatever problem I'm having.  Needless to say I have done my fair share of ripping.  Its not that I don't want to swatch, its just that my desire to knit the project now overcomes my thoughts of swatching anything.  (knitting ADD)
A few years ago I watched an Elizabeth Zimmerman's DVD on knitting that I borrowed from the library. In it EZ knit a large swatch for gauge on the yarn she knit with the most often. She used one yarn, knit a few inches and switched to the next size needles, knit for a few inches, switched to the next size needles; she went on this way through quite a few sizes of needles.  After she bound off her stitches she labeled each section with needle size and stitch count per inch.  What she had made was a master swatch in stockinette of the yarn she knit 
with most often in a selection of different size needles.  
Hmm - a master swatch. . .

After I finished my "Totally Vanilla" socks I had more then enough yarn left to do a master swatch of my own in a fine weight yarn (LionBrand Sock - size 1).  I started with a size "US 0" needles and worked my way up, through my sock needles, to size "US 7" (10 different sizes including half sizes).  I separated each needle size with a row of purl.  When I ran out of yarn I bound off my stitches and blocked the entire piece.  I still have to label and count stitches per inch but I now have a master gauge swatch of fine weight yarn. This swatch is a great reference piece since a lot of patterns, even those written for fancy stitches, call for gauge in stockinette.  
I am now stoked to do my next master swatch.  
I think I'll use a worsted yarn, size 4 weight, like Cascade 220.

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