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Swatches aren’t meant to be perfect

design knitting learning making process swatch

I (and maybe you too) love seeing perfect swatches. They could be in your LYS (local yarn store) or on Instagram, but they’re always pleasing to look at. It would follow then that we, as crafters, strive to make the perfect swatch…anytime we do swatch. A perfect square that represents what the project will be, which of course will also be perfect.

But let’s be real. That’s not how it works - nor should it.

I recently thought I made a mistake in a swatch for the upcoming fall collection. It’s a colorwork design and I was following my sketches to make these little ghosts. Halfway through the swatch I looked at the ghosts and thought “I don’t know if that’s going to look good.” So, I changed the motif for the second half. I also realized after I had finished my swatch that I knit the ghosts facing the “wrong” way! What a mess. I was so frustrated - here I am trying to be a good designer and I completely messed up my swatch. I took a moment to look at the work I had done and I showed it to my partner. He thought it looked great! He loved the mirrored ghosts (which I thought I had done wrong) and the ghost motif I thought didn’t look good, he thought were super cute! Maybe I was being a little too hard on myself. Turns out, my swatch not only helped me figure out the gauge but also helped me figure out my design in a way that paper just can’t.

Swatches are there to help you prepare for a project (which will also probably not be perfect). Mistakes are going to happen but they can be incredibly useful at helping us learn more about our craft. So, don’t be too hard on yourself when something goes wrong in a swatch. Take a breath, fix something if you need to, and keep going. After all it’s a swatch and, like us, it’s not meant to be perfect.

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