I have written about how to make and measure a gauge or test swatch, but I feel I need to address what a “test” or gauge swatch really is, and its benefits.
Any project you decide to make requires that you knit a test swatch before you start the project. A “test” swatch is analogous to test driving a car you are interested in purchasing. You want to check a car out to see if it’s the right fit for you. A test or gauge swatch is a sample swatch knitted using the yarn and needles you plan to use for a project.
The benefits of knitting a test swatch include the following:
- you can decide if you like the yarn chosen.
- you can see if the yarn has the right drape, texture, thickness, and color for the project.
- if you get the gauge required for the project, and if your tension is loose or tight.
- ensures that your project matches the original design.
- knitting a swatch saves you time, and avoids mistakes.
From my retail experience, many customers would say that they will knit looser or tighter just to avoid making a swatch. Don’t try to change the way you knit to match gauge. This cannot be done. What you need to do is increase or decrease the needle size to obtain an accurate gauge.
So make that next test swatch, and I guarantee that your next project will turn out as intended.