Knitting Swatch

When working with yarn and following a pattern, you will come across instructions on the knitting tension. This is the manufacturer's recommendation for how loosely or tightly you should knit your design. The type of your yarn, the material of your knitting needles, as well as your knitting style, will all influence the knitting tension.

Before you start your project, it is recommended that you knit a swatch. By knitting a swatch, you can make sure that you are knitting as recommended in the pattern.

You will then get the right results in the end, and you can avoid a situation where you suddenly find yourself running out of yarn and needing more yarn skeins to finish your project.

How do I make a swatch?

It only takes 10-20 minutes to make a swatch before you begin your project, and it may benefit you greatly in the long run that you started by making a swatch.

You can measure the knitting tension by knitting a number of stitches on your knitting needle (preferably over 12cm). Once you have cast on your stitches, you can use a standard measuring tape or a ruler to find out how many stitches you have on 10cm.

It is a good idea to cast on more stitches for your sample than what is stated in the pattern. You can achieve a more accurate and precise result.

So, for example, if the specified knitting tension is 28, you should cast on around 38 stitches.

Different ways to adjust the knitting tension

Oftentimes, you will either have too many or too few stitches than the knitting tension in your pattern indicates. Once you have made your swatch, you can adjust the tension in several ways.

This can be done by using either thicker or thinner knitting needles. If you have too few stitches, try using knitting needles that are 0.5-1mm thinner. And should you have too many stitches, you can try out some thicker needles.

If the yarn is to be used for making clothing, pay special attention to whether your knit may shrink in the wash. You can, for example, choose to wash your knitting sample before you start your creative project.

While it can be a time-consuming preparation process, it will save you a great deal of irritation and frustration at a later point if your new jumper or dress shrinks after washing, and you were not aware of this beforehand.

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