I’ve got to admit, I was not very good about swatching before starting a project for many years. Most likely because I was using cheap worsted weight acrylic yarn that doesn’t really change gauge much for so long that I didn’t think it was necessary. Using real yarn has taught me the value of doing a gauge swatch first. That and reading the book Custom Knits Accessories by Wendy Bernard. I rarely follow a pattern to the letter, so swatching is pretty important.
I’ve even started washing the swatches to see how the yarn does in a normal wash cycle, so I know whether or not it will be okay to wash the final product. Much better to find out that a small square shrinks than having an oddly misshapen hat or glove at the end of laundry day.
I’m casting on two projects this weekend:Starry Stole (swatch 1) and Zooey (swatch 2). I knit the swatches Wednesday, hand-washed them yesterday, and now I am ready to measure once more to be sure and cast on.
Oh, and my other swatch project is still going strong. Up to 297 out of 400 right now according to my Google+ Photo Album. Only 103 more to go.