August 13, 2013


Love swatching because it’s awesome, not because you should.

Every knitter knows they should swatch.

We know we should swatch to get gauge.
We know we should wash and block our swatches.
We know we should use swatching to try out new techniques.
We know we should embrace swatching for these, and a million and a half other reason.

Seriously, we get that we should like it (or at least embrace it.)
But most of us don’t.

And I suspect most of us don’t love swatching precisely because we should.

Tell me to love something because I should, and watch how quickly I don’t.
And I suspect I’m not the only one.


The thing is,

I adore swatching.
love it, love it, love it, love it, love it.

But not because I should.
And not because it tells me my gauge.


I love swatching because it’s awesome, and because you can’t screw it up.

With a project you’re knitting towards a finished object, and there are plenty of ways to mess that up.
But with swatches you’re knitting towards an idea, and the only way to mess that up is to not get it perfect this time. But there’s always next time.

Swatches are about playing, and experimenting, and exploring.

Swatches are a space to play in. They give you the freedom to explore, and the permission to experiment.

If your shawl (or garment) is a canvass. Then swatches are pages in your sketch book, the sketches that aren’t the final piece, and may not resemble the final piece at all, but are just as important precisely because they’re not the final piece.

There is no wrong in swatching. There is no “not good enough.” There are no catastrophes. There are now blow ups.

There is no such thing as a “failed swatch,” because there is nothing to fail. It’s just a swatch.

There are no shoulds in swatching.*
Which is precisely why I love it.

There are no shoulds in swatching.

Swatching is about playing, experimenting, and exploring.


*including, whether or not you should swatch for any given project.




This post is part of the Exploration Party – a celebration of our inner explorers, led by Tara Swiger of Explore You. You can find other tales of adventure from artists, crafters, writers and biz smarties – and share your own story – right here.”