Why I don't swatch my colorways!

I have been asked numerous times "why don't you have knitted swatches"?

Well here's why I don't swatch. Lets say I knit a 4x4 swatch using size 2 needles. I knit the swatch flat. Most of my yarns are going to show some sort of pooling or small stripes in a 4x4 swatch. Now lets say you see said swatch and think oh my gosh I just have to have that yarn, based solely on the swatch. You may be very disappointed once you start knitting with your yarn. 

In the photo. You can see im making fingerless mitts. Im using a size 2 needle. as you can see there is some pooling happening. Now lets say I want to make a shawl using size 7 needles. Pic below.

As you can see on size 6 needles the yarn looks completely different with small striping effects and some speckling. 

My reasoning for not swatching is this. Every one has a different gauge. Every one will start at a different point in the skein, giving much different results. If you buy a skein of yarn based off of a swatch you may be very disappointed in your projects outcome. For example in knit pretty loose. So for a shawl im using any where from a size 6-9 knitting needle. Which will give my shawl a completely different effect. Now I have to use size 1-2 needles to make socks. For someone who knits tight and has to use much bigger needles. May not get the same pooling effect. They may get more of a striped look. Here are some examples of yarn that pools. 

Yarns that have pooling will have big blocks of color like pictured above. Depending on your project you will either get pooling or small stripes throughout your project. Yarns that are more variegated pictured below. 

The three photos above. You will have a more variegated look to your projects. Little to no pooling, and very little striping. These skeins are more blended, instead of having blocks or color, which will give you the variegated look. 

I hope this has helped answer any questions on how to read a skein. And why its difficult for indie dyers to swatch and have there swatches come out to match a finished project. All skeins even though dyed in the same batch can come out completely different, with larger spots of color to smaller spots of the same color. No two skeins are exactly alike. 

Stay wicked!!


  • I never knew that. Thanks for the information well explained

  • well said, that’s why I love hand dyed yarns! every project comes out so differently and unique! you can never have enough of them.

    Bing Reyes
  • Thank you! Your explanation of why you do not show swatches helps me understand, and what to look for in a skein when deciding on the yarn to use for a specific project. Again, many thanks. I love your dye colors!

    New knitter

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