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Once upon a time I used to never swatch before beginning a project. I would pick my yarn and my needles and charge forward like the light brigade! Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead. There would be a lot of frogging along the way and a lot of frustration in the middle because things wouldn’t work out like I had hoped. Sometimes I would wonder if I was a knitter at all. Finally I gave up and began swatching before beginning projects, especially if the person I was giving the project to was someone I considered extra special and I wanted to impress them or it was a project I considered important as a reflection upon me. Yeah, I guess I am a selfish knitter. Scarves and hats just seemed to fall into a totally different category, unless lace was involved or a lace stitch.
Then, one day, I made a small little pair of fingerless mitts for a child and suddenly size mattered and I wanted the things to fit and be beautiful and it didn’t matter exactly that I didn’t know the person. What mattered was that the mitts were right. Since then I have been swatching, and I have begun to notice a subtle difference in how my knitting has changed.
It hasn’t changed in the fact that my knitting is better or “more professional” as a friend of mine claimed, but it is better in the sense that each piece done really does look better and it does fit better. Catching mistakes is easier when I make a swatch now than when I barrel ahead in a pattern.
I believe my Mamma would say I’ve finally grown up some. This makes me happy.