Skip swatching at your own risk


We were out to dinner last night and it was a bit breezy and cold. It was ideal for the Swarm of Bees sweater by Lisa Kereliuk in Reclaimed. Just the incentive I needed to cast-on and get started. It’s a good thing I took the time to work the swatches.

Bee Swarm Swatch - Smaller

The Swarm of Bees sweater is shaped by strategic placement of stitch designs and by changing needle sizes. Talk about a project that absolutely demands swatching. But, it is knit in the round which means you need to swatch in the round to get an accurate measurement and count.

Bee Swarm Swatch close-up - Smaller

I decided to use the Magic Loop technique and double the number of stitches for each of the swatch patterns. The two repeats, and Magic Loop, made it possible to knit the narrow tube in the round. I added four stitches on each side of the halves for a garter stitch border between each side. It also made it easier to lay flat later for measuring. It took two balls of Capra DK to work all three swatch patterns which is exactly what Lisa recommends.

That brings me to an observation. I suspect that some knitter’s don’t want to “waste” yarn by swatching. Or, you may already appreciate the importance of swatching but you may be cutting it close in terms of having enough yarn. I had an epiphany. When you are ordering yarn for a project, get into the habit of adding an extra ball JUST FOR SWATCHING!


I didn’t do that which is why I was so careful knitting my swatch in the round so I could use the yarn later if necessary. I chose to use Capra DK in Topaz. My swatch turned out well, by some miracle, so I am going to be casting on in the next couple of days. I can’t wait to enjoy wearing the Swarm of Bees on its own or layered with a long-sleeved shirt.


  1. Greta / November 21, 2013

    Ironically I just recently finished knitting this sweater and I didn’t swatch. It ended up growing quite a bit after I blocked it, and instead of keeping it, it’ll now be a Christmas present for my mother in law. So, I would absolutely recommend swatching for anyone about to make this sweater! 🙂

  2. Ashtan A. / November 7, 2013

    I don’t know how taboo it is, but I just unravel my swatch and reuse the yarn. I don’t really make any garments, so I don’t really ever make anything that would require a swatch to be blocked.

    • jen / November 11, 2013

      i’m in the same boat. i like making accessories and if i do make a swatch, i frog it and use it in my project.

    • Kate A. / November 13, 2013

      I do that too, unless I have a major amount of extra yarn left over. And, sinful as it, sometimes I just work an inch or two of my swatch, measure, and rip out. Yes, I’m a bad girl 🙁
      Thank you for the reminder though Kelley! I hope that your sweater goes well! I’m in the process of making a rib and lace top and an aran sweater for Christmas presents – don’t worry, I DID do swatches for those! 😉

  3. Ashley / November 7, 2013

    I’m sure the solution of buying an extra ball has occurred to many people, but most of us just can’t afford to do that all the time.