I’m going to confess this right now…I HATE doing gauge swatches. I’m one of those knitters The Yarn Harlot calls a “Product Knitter” (as opposed to a “Process Knitter”). My big thrill comes from the knitted item in question shaping into a beautiful finished project, which is why muddling along with little knitted squares just makes my teeth grind involuntarily. I’ve tried various things to stave off the boredom: knitting them in front of the TV, knitting them listening to music or a podcast, and my personal favorite – knitting them in public. Yes, there is nothing worse than some stranger, who knows NOTHING about knitting, coming up to you and saying something like:
“Oh, is that going to be a scarf???” Suuuuuuure…all 4” across of it.
“Is that your first project? How cute!”
“Is that going to be a little doll blanket?”
So, I’ve hit upon a solution that, come to find out, has already been thought of by several thousand other people in the world, but I figure I’ll share it anyway: If you are knitting a sweater, do a “gauge swatch” by starting on a sleeve. This has the advantage of getting you to do your “swatch” according to how you are going to knit the garment. If you are doing it in the round, you’ll most likely be doing your sleeve in the round. This is ideal for determining gauge for this type of knitting, vs. trying to knit back and forth, hoping that your back-and-forth gauge and your in-the-round gauge are going to be the same (Spoiler Alert…they’re NOT). Conversely, if you are working back and forth, you will end up with a nice representation of your gauge that way.
This way, if you are off on your gauge, it’s not going to be a major hardship to rip it out and start over again. If you are right, then you can keep going!
Haven’t hit upon an ideal gauge workaround for other types of knitted articles…I’ll have to get back to you on this…