Boreal swatching.....

It is interesting to me, that many accomplished knitters don't swatch, have never felt the need to swatch, and don't really know how to swatch.

I meet one of these knitters on the Norway cruise....an accomplished knitter......Kaffe Fassett Tumbling Blocks throw, Kaffe cushions, Debbie Abrahams mystery blankets......all done without swatching.

We discovered that we shared a great admiration for the designs of Kate Davies.  (I've mentioned her before and I'm going to mention her again because I'm sort of on a Kate Davies knit quest these days LOL!)  When discussing Boreal via e-mail since our return from Norway, my friend (name withheld to protect the innocent !) admitted that she really didn't swatch, and didn't know how to "read" her swatch.

So this is for you........and anyone else who doesn't swatch and wonders why they should.

Make a swatch - knit enough stitches and enough rows that you can measure over a 4" square. Wash your swatch in one of the great wool washes that are available - I LOVE Eucalan (no affiliation).  Stretch out gently, patting here and there - leave your swatch to dry.  Once it is dry, you MIGHT want to lightly press on the back - depends on the content of the yarn you are using....this is wool so I gave it a very light steam press on the back.  You'll need those long knitters pins, and a measuring tape to accurately measure your swatch.
I'm looking for a gauge of 5 stitches and 5 rows to the inch.....so I insert the pin horizontally across the top of a row of stitches.....count down 20 (4 x 5 rows).......insert the pin at the bottom of that stitch row.  (Each stitch forms a V inserts the pins at the top and the bottom of the V.)

AFTER you have inserted your pins designating the number of rows you want....THEN you measure!  Lay your measuring tape over the pins -- you can pull the pins out a bit so that you can see where the pin shaft is.......it's even easier to do when counting stitches....
So looking at my swatch measurements - I'm getting exactly 20 sts per 4 inches, so that's 5 stitches per inch, and ever so slightly less than 4 inches for my 20 rows.  I'm comfortable with that as I can either add an extra row or two in length somewhere, or block my finished garment more vigorously for length.

Swatch until your counts are right - saves a lot of aggro in the long run.  If you are the kind of knitter who is always running out of yarn for your projects....you have to go back and buy more....well, it's probably just a matter of gauge.

Happy Knitting

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