technically, this is not a swatch. it's a neck warmer we made on Monhegan Island last year. but it's smallish like a swatch and boy did i learn a LOT.
Lisa recently took a little survey over at our FB page, asking: Who likes to learn new techniques by working on a project and who prefers swatches? This, in turn, leads me to ask you for your best swatch (or failure to swatch) stories. Back when I was strictly a garter-scarf knitter, swatching didn't matter. And even when I tentatively stepped into the world of patterns, there were definitely moments-- let's call them Lessons Learned the Hard Way Moments-- when I thought, "Swatch? Who needs to swatch?" So yeah, let's just say I wound up with some very interesting sizes in the end.
When I interviewed designer Deborah Newton for the Summer 2009 issue of Interweave KNITS, I remember her going on about how much she just loves swatching. At the time, her proclaimed love didn't really resonate for me-- I had learned to tolerate swatching, but love it? Really? Maybe something that factors into Deborah's love is that she does have a team of dedicated knitters who take her designs and swatches and crank out the prototypes. But I suspect that, more than this, she really just likes playing with little squares of textures and weights and colors and patterns. I try to bear her attitude in mind whenever it's time for me to make a swatch, to set aside whatever impatience I'm feeling to work on the actual project, and to just take my time and enjoy the preparation.
What about y'all-- did you ever ignore the advice to swatch and just dive into a sweater only to have it turn out eight sizes too big? Do you always swatch? Do you stick with projects that don't really require swatches? (I love making socks with yarn I know well, so I'm guaranteed that they will turn out the size I want w/o having to stop and swatch.)
Or maybe you just like swatching because.... well, because you've dedicated your life to only knitting swatches and nothing else. Can that be possible? I guess it could be-- you could eventually sew all the swatches together and make a sort of quilt. Hmm...
Please, your swatch tales-- share them!