The “S” Word Activities

If you cringe when you hear the word swatch, chances are you didn’t get introduced properly to this amazing tool!

If you swatch only to “get gauge” for things in knitting you have only scratched the surface of this rock star in the knitting world! No, I am not kidding! There are so many uses for swatches apart from making sure the number of stitches you make per inch on a certain size needle.

You can get the ultimate yarn education from a swath of knitted stitches! You can create a blank canvas to be used for an array of designing creations! You can practice techniques in pattern stitch work as well as picking up stitches! You can practice seaming or embellishments! You can think around the edges, across the tops, along the bottom…there are so many ways to dig deeper in knitting education and adventures!

Where can you start? Well first… did you watch this video?

You have? Well let us begin applying ourselves to seeing this thoughtful friend (our swatch) in a new light apart from gauge!

Simply put a swatch is a small sample of fabric intended to demonstrate the look of a larger piece.

But who wants to hang around with “simply put” for too much time? Let’s think bigger!
We can use a swatch not just to demonstrate the “look of a larger size” but to experiment for the greater good of our knitting!
PROJECT 1: Grab a skein of yarn you have had waiting around for something “special”<—-This is that!
Look through a stitch dictionary and pick out 4 patterns you have never tried before—making sure 1 of those 4 is one you said you would never try. Now try them! For now don’t go huge. Based on the information from the ball band on your skein shoot for 4 to 5 inches (no, that isn’t big at all…you should see some of the swatches over here at our hale!)
As you work through each, be sure to jot down things you notice as you work:
  • do you like the way the yarn feels?
  • how does the colour of the yarn work with the stitch pattern?
  • does this yarn remind you of another yarn you have used before?
  • how do you think it would look if you went up/down a needle size— or two?

Once you have the swatch finished be a detective:

  • how does it look? hold it in your hands and look. set it on the table and look. Stand a foot or two away from a mirror and hold it up looking at it…how does it look now? what stands out? what blends in?
  • how’s the drape?
  • here we get a bit cliché: what are the stitch and row counts?

Soak and block your little friends. Then repeat all 7 of the bullets listed above.

Once you do that take a few moments and consider what you’ve discovered!

Then be ready for the next steps in our adventure! We don’t need to do it all today! We won’t do it all today!

Check back on the next 3 activities on the days listed blow its link! To ensure you don’t miss a thing and also to get these activities as a free downloadable pdf to keep make sure you are on the With∞Mel mailing list. Not on it? Head here! Already on it? Awesome! You are set to receive it and some other treats too!

Part 2 Posts on 3.14.15

Part 2 Posts on 3.14.15

Part 3 Posts On 3.20.15

Part 3 Posts On 3.20.15

Wrap Up Post 3.27.15

Wrap Up Post 4.5.15

Be sure to be social! Share your discoveries and thoughts below in the comments! And make our knitting world more diverse: share this post in as many ways as you can simply by clicking on that pop out arrow below (and to the right a wee bit!)

You’ll have my heartfelt gratitude for introducing me to your friends!

5 thoughts on “The “S” Word Activities

  1. Pingback: Let’s Get Together! | WITH∞MEL

  2. linnstercrafts says:

    Great post! Okay okay I’ll do it today. Lol! I have been procrastinating ever since I purchased the SLYMI class to begin so this will get me started. Putting aside the gift knitting for today and giving myself (and future recipients) a knitting education.


  3. Connie Crill says:

    So excited to learn proper experimentation techniques! I’m a self taught knitter, and have never swatched! Now I know why a couple of sweaters that I have finished aren’t my favorites! Can’t wait! Frogging an ugly sweater to create a swan!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Annie Reardon says:

    I so love that you have recycled , repurposed, renewed the idea of the (formerly dreaded) swatch!
    Looking forward to these swatching activities, and to making a project from them!
    Thank you for continually re-educating me in the art of knitting!


  5. Lisa Ragan says:

    This is so exciting! First, I have been so caught up in projects and trying to balance my knitting time, and mom time, and homeschooling time, that swatching hasn’t been a priority for me, although I do it “when I need to.”

    Second…I’ve been contemplating and praying about where my knitting and knitting teaching might lead me in the long term, and what has come clearly to my mind in the last couple of weeks is that I really need to spend some time working on swatches rather than whole projects. I need to spend more time getting to know yarn and stitches in a way that is hard to do if you’re trying to finish a sweater or a hat. I had barely begun formulating a plan to do these things in a systematic way, and BOOM!

    On the heels of my becoming more excited about this idea and concept of “continuing education” in my knitting, I found this post! It could not have been more timely!

    I am so excited about following this little adventure as a beginning to a much longer-term process. Thanks!


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