Swatching Stripes

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like knitting gauge swatches. 
I know they’re necessary – having learnt from past experience that NOT knitting a gauge swatch and measuring it properly can cause you to have to rip back huge quantities of knitting – so I always do them, but they always feel like a chore.

I want to get on with the exciting part of actually knitting whatever it is I want to be knitting.

Imagine how I felt then knitting not one, but four – yes FOUR – swatches for the project I’m about to cast on!


I’m knitting a striped sweater, the Satsuma Stripes sweater by Sharon Matarazzo to be exact, and I had yarn in three colours already in my stash that I wanted to use for it.  The problem is, I didn’t know what combination of those three colours I wanted to use.

The yarn is Colourmart fingering weight shiny cotton, a gorgeous cashmere / cotton / angora / viscose / merino blend.  It really is yummy.  On the cone it looks nothing special, but once the machine oils have been washed out it plumps and fluffs up beautifully.  I have some in a dark red, dark purple and a dull-ish pink. 

Last night I knitted the following swatches:

Pink with purple stripes

Pink with red stripes

Red with pink stripes

Red with purple stripes

This last one looks different because it is unwashed.  From the other pictures you can see how the yarn fluffs once washed.

I don’t have enough of the purple yarn to make it my main colour, otherwise there would have been 6 swatches!  I think purple with pink stripes would have been my first choice, but it wasn’t to be, without buying another cone of yarn.

So, decisions, decisions.  Which colour combination was it to be?

I immediately discounted the red with pink stripes.  I think I would have liked this combination if both colours had been slightly brighter, but it looks too dull to me. 
Red with purple stripes is a little better, even though it’s even darker the tones seem to complement each other more.

But it came down to a decision between pink with red stripes and pink with purple stripes, and finally the pink and purple won.   That combination is the reverse of my “ideal” so I suppose it makes sense that I’ve decided to go with that.
I shall hopefully cast on this evening, and begin to enjoy the knitting of the sweater now I’ve done 4 times the amount of swatching I normally do!
I think it was worth the extra effort though, to make sure I was choosing the right colour combination.
What about you?  Are there times when you make extra work for yourself on a stitching project?  And if you do, is it worth it?

1 comment

  1. I like the colour combo you've opted for. I'm not a particularly skilled knitter, I take so long to knit anything that I resent making the swatches too. My Aunt-in-law told me she was taught as a child to save them up and make them into a patchwork blanket, I quite liked that idea :)


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