To swatch or not to swatch, that is the question.
The answer in many many cases is “yes – you should”.
Don’t worry, I won’t spend this time trying to lure you over to the side of pro-swatchers. Today I want to talk about swatching in the round.
When you are knitting a project in the round it is imperative you test swatch in the round too. I am sorry to say that this is something I did not learn, till later in my knit-life. It seems that the difference in our tensions from flat knitting to circular knitting can be extreme! Extremely extreme!
So if you are about to knit a project that requires you to knit in rounds then follow these steps to make a swatch.
1. Using the needles you would like to knit with (these will be either circular or double pointed needles) cast on stitches sufficient enough for a swatch. It is desirable to have at least 10cm to measure, since most gauges are given over 10cm. If my swatch is for a stocking stitch fabric I like to do a little boarder of garter stitch so that the swatch won’t curl as much when I am trying to measure, but this is optional. Work your first row.
2.When you get to the end of the row drag your stitches to the other needle point. Don’t turn your piece to the other side!
3. Leaving a long stretch of yarn flopping across the back or the knitting, work into the stitch you have positioned near the tip of the needle (the first stitch in the previous row).
Repeat steps 2 and 3. Eventually you will get something that looks like this on the back side. You see how it is important to keep those runs at the back as long as possible so your swatch can lie flat for measuring.
Once the swatch is blocked many people will snip the long runs at the back before measuring, but if it is laying flat without cutting you don’t have to cut.
Before you measure, block your swatch. Now go ahead and measure.
Here is a quick video you can watch to see the swatching in action: