In a Pickle with Swatching?

Let me help you!

You see, we’ve all been in a right pickle with swatching before. Too big, too small, sometimes even just jumping 0.5mm with your needle size pushes you from too big to too small. It can make you want to rip your hair out at times.

Some people don’t see the point, some obsessively swatch. It’s divisive, but I think completely necessary. When knitting something without swatching, it’s easy to wonder why it’s always coming out too big, but that could be solved with one easy fix: changing your needle size. You, of course, wouldn’t know that without swatching or getting so far into your jumper that ripping it back causes physical pain.

It’s all about time investment. Invest two hours (if that) of time into knitting a swatch before you knit ‘the real deal’ and you’ll be pretty sure (95%, about as sure as you’ll get when making things) your sweater will fit as intended by the designer. Knitting a whole something will take significantly longer than two hours, and if it’s disastrously too small, is your smaller friend really worth that investment of time? I’m a selfish knitter and only knit for myself, so of course I’d say no. You may be a nicer person than me, and that’s great too.

Follow the flow chart below, it may help you achieve a better knit…

Of course, it doesn’t need to be this complicated, this is planning for every eventuality…

You see, the flow chart above was triggered by this instagram post, where I talk about how you can substitute yarns, and use almost any yarn in your stash to knit almost any pattern (of course, within reason). I had so many messages and questions about it, that I thought the most simple thing to do was to make a flow chart for everyone to refer to when required.

This flow chart obviously doesn’t work for every pattern and every yarn under the sun, but hopefully it should help you out a little, even if you only need to follow the first few ‘flows’ on the chart.

Remember to always ask your local yarn store for advice before purchasing yarn if you think it’s going to be risky, or you’re not sure it’s the right yarn. I guarantee that they’re almost all happy to help. Also always ask the pattern writer for advice too, they wrote the pattern, and if you can use this chart to say “well, I’ve swatched twice and it’s still coming out too big on a 5.5mm needle”, they’ll be in a position to help you more easily. They may even be able to suggest alternative yarns and where to buy them from. If you’re making alterations to the pattern then publishing them on Instagram or Ravelry, always ask the pattern writer’s permission before doing so - it’s most often completely ok, but it’s courteous to ask.

Please note: No Frills Knitting takes no responsibility for any issues that arise after following this flow chart. It is designed as helpful suggestions only, not instructions.

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