My husband calls me a Hall Monitor. I’m the person that’s always saying, “Use your turn signal!” even when there’s no one behind us. My Hall Monitorness applies to knitting, too. I’ve often encouraged knitters to not only knit a swatch, but to wash it before casting on for a new project. I’d like to think that one or two people listened, but most of the time I’m sure that the allure of starting a new project is too great. Who has time to properly block a swatch and let it dry?
I’m hoping this example convinces some people. The above is a swatch that pre-blocking measured 6.25 stitches per inch. After blocking, the stitch gauge was 5.5 stitches per inch. That may not seem like much, but let’s put it into perspective. Say you had to cast on 100 stitches for the back of a sweater. At 6.25 stitches per inch, the sweater back would measure 16 inches, giving you a 32 inch bust. At 5.5 stitches per inch, the sweater back would measure just over 18 inches, giving you a sweater with a 36 inch bust. That’s a four inch difference!
So block your swatches, people. If you’re going to spend hours and hours knitting a sweater and you’d like to ensure a proper fit, it’s worth the time it takes to swatch and block said swatch. You can always browse more yarns and patterns while you’re waiting for that swatch to dry!
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