The dreaded words every crocheter hates…gauge and swatch! Yup 5 letter words that make us cringe! Let’s put down our fear and learn to love them…
So really why must I do this?
+ Uniformity of your stitches-
When I start a project, I often notice that the starting couple of rows are tighter than once I get going. If you swatch out your project, yes I do mean all 4 inches or more, you can establish the uniformity in height of your project.
If you achieve gauge in your gauge swatch it helps you to better predict that you will achieve the specifications of the garment that your designer has so lovingly chosen.
+ Helps to get used to the stitch pattern
I like to swatch to know what I am getting into. Sometimes I love a complex stitch pattern, other times I do not. If I swatch properly I can assess what I am getting into.
Help…my swatch has too many or too few stitches…
1) Don’t panic it happens to all of us
2) Let’s assess the situation
– If you have too many stitches per inch–> Switch to a larger hook
– If you have too few stitches per inch –> switch to a smaller hook
3) Check your pattern to see how important the gauge is…
– Some patterns it is not as crucial, for example if your gauge is close to the pattern it is called for in an item like a scarf, bag or baby blanket its not a huge deal just realize you may need more or less yarn then the pattern calls for
– Gauge is ALWAYS important in a garment. (Can’t blame the pattern writer if your gauge is off)
So now I have all these gauge swatches what do I do with them?
In Lily Chin’s Crochet Tips and Tricks book, she suggests to
1) Start a crochet scrapbook and log what yarn with what hook and what project
2) Give the swatch as the gift if the bigger item isn’t finished yet (Brilliant Lily… now why didn’t I think of that
3) Make something new out of your swatches like a baby blanket, clutch or bag
(My two cents: I really like the idea of making coffee cup cozies and coasters- the summer brings ice coffee and I hate when it drips on my desk)
Some of my ideas
4) Make them into little doll blankets and or security blankies- My daughter can literally take my yarn swatches and play with them for hours
5) Bring them to your local stitching group so you can brag I mean share about all the cool techniques you are using
6) Frame them and decorate your craft space or studio with them
7) Use them to make a charity project-
Just remember when using them for a charity project please make the color choices cohesive crocheting for charity does not have to be ugly.
8) Make a patchwork scarf and then pin it on pinterest ! lol
What do you do with your swatches?
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Awesome Swatches on display at Purl Soho