Stellar Swatching

Some tips and tricks for swatching, including how to knit an in-the-round swatch on a small, flat piece.

The yarns I used for the swatches is Australian Superfine Merino by Cleckheaton. For more information (including info on free shipping), visit their website.


The colors of Cleckheaton yarn I used are Soft Blue, Mid Navy, Coral, and Smoke.

Instructions for knitting the stockinette swatch:

(The number that your pattern lists as stitches over 4 inches = X)
Cast-on X, plus 10
Bottom Border: Knit every row for 9 rows (you will have 5 garter stitch ridges)
Row 1 (RS): Knit across all stitches
Row 2: K 5, P “X”, K 5
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until you’ve worked the number of rows in your pattern states as 4 inches.
Top Border: Knit every row for 10 rows (5 garter stitch ridges)
Bind off.

Information on things you’ll see in the video:
The cowl I’m wearing is a new free pattern which will be released December 17 – watch for it!

The stitch pattern for the cabled coral swatch is called “Windswept”; from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary, Volume 2, Cables.

The stitch pattern for the diagonal lacy pattern is called “Slanting Open-Work Stitch”; from Interweave Press Harmony Guides, Lace & Eyelets.

The little bamboo marking pins I use can be found here.

The circular needles I use in the video are by Knitter’s Pride/Knit Pro.

The watch ring I’m wearing is by Davis, and can be found here.

The nail polish I’m wearing is by Julep, color “Lupita”.

12 comments on “Stellar Swatching

  1. Thank you so much, Staci! 🙂 I was wondering, in the first swatch that you showed in the video, were you using a 16″ circular? I ask because I am on the lookout for a set of 16″ circs. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Great video! Over the months learning from very pink, you have imparted on me the importance of swatching. It is important to me to know how a yarn knits up so that I can plan on enough yarn–AND the right needles. I recently overheard a knitting teacher talk about knitting up a swatch IN THE YARN SHOP(!), to assure correct gauge and needle size. I think that if I plucked a hank from the bins and fired up my needles, they would make me pay for the yarn–gauge be damned! I have never witnessed this in a yarn shop and wondered if it was an accepted practice. (Well, I AM a newbie to knitting.) This would be uncomfortable for me to do this.

  3. Julie – I don’t think that grabbing yarn off a shelf in a yarn shop, then swatching with it without the solid intention of buying it is okay. If you know you’re going to buy the yarn, sure. But you can’t really put a “used” ball of yarn back on the shelf if you don’t get gauge. Buy the yarn you intend to use, then adjust your needle size accordingly to get gauge.

    That’s my opinion and experience. I suppose some yarn shops may have different policies.

    S t a c i

  4. thanks for tutorials!!you really are the best including answers to questions..its amazing how you leave the info for the questions in my head about all the lovely items in the so nice!

  5. Staci,
    As always, your tutorials are informative and fun to watch. …About the cowl you are wearing… I am looking forward to getting your pattern. Will it be available on Ravelry or here on your website?


  6. Hi Staci,
    I have been knitting for a year, but I was knitting only scarfs, have been practicing I wasn’t working on any big project, so never have to work swatches. Can you please explain to me what is blocking?

  7. The sweater pattern I’m about to start uses 2 different sizes of needle but doesn’t specify which one was used for the gauge. Is it the convention that it’s the larger needle (i.e. the needle that’s used to knit the body of the sweater)? Thanks!

  8. Yes – the needle size used in the body of the sweater is usually the correct one for checking gauge. But contact the pattern designer to be sure!

    S t a c i

  9. Hi Staci, watching the video I had a question. What do you do if the stitch gauge is right on, but the row gauge is off? Wouldn’t changing needle size just make the opposite happen?

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