Swatches and I don’t really get along… yet. Every designer and experienced crocheter recommends you to swatch if you will be doing a garment and it makes a lot of sense. Even if you are off only one centimetre from the designer’s gauge this can mean a considerable amount once you multiply that to get the length or width of what you will be crocheting.
After the experience with my tunisian vest I shouldn’t believe in swatches at all but I know that was not my best effort so I have to give them another chance, I have to do it properly this time.
I have started a new crochet garment, this time the Kolika top by Doris Chan. I got this pattern as part of a video class where she explains the basics of top-down construction and gives detailed explanation of how to make this top. I really LOVED this class, I had never worked something top-down but it has quickly become a favourite. Doris Chan is also a great teacher, very clear, encouraging and thorough in her explanations, so if you have never worked this technique before I really recommend it.
I made a swatch for this, but this time I did it properly. Even though it is quite small I took my time to finish it, I probably picked it up around four times during different days just to reflect how our tension changes all the time. Then I did to it what I will do to the finished garment: I blocked it according to the finishing instructions and measured my gauge before and after.
Before blocking my gauge was 0.5″ smaller than the designer’s gauge, but once blocked my gauge was perfect in some rows or 1/8th of 1″ smaller in others. This was very helpful for when I had to choose the size, and keeping a record of my gauge before blocking has helped me track how I am doing as I work the pattern.
I am almost finished with the body and even though I can’t tell exactly how it will look once blocked yet (since it will grow quite a bit) I am definitely pleased with the results so far. Gauge swatches are not perfect and the garment may not end up being the exact size that I planned for but after this exercise I am expecting it to be quite close. We will soon find out…!