Generally speaking I have a severe allergic reaction to the thoughts of knitting a swatch. It's not that I don't see the use of them, it's just I'm usually so excited to begin a project that I couldn't possibly waste any time making a tiny square to check my tension.
So I'm a seat of your pants type knitter, knit it and see, fudging it and whispering 'it'll block out' under my breath a lot. I've been lucky so far, too as I haven't had any drastic knitty disasters to shame me into producing the 'stress square'! Yet, when it came to my newest design, I decided to make a swatch.
A very new concept for me, this pre-planning. I have knit centre repeat, a full border repeat and an edging and I have discovered the merits at last of trying something out on a smaller scale rather than just gong with the flow.
I now now, that my original idea looked better on paper than it did as a piece of fabric. I knew where I wanted to make my changes too, so that was an easy fix.
I also learned that the edging I had picked blocked out rather squished, so I now know I can use more border stitches per point than I originally did and it will still look great (with less knitting, woohoo!)
I also know that the glory of pure wool is a wonderous thing and I may not have to add additional gathering at the corners to make it block out flat.
For good measure I also knit a second square as a mini shawl which was so much fun I see many more in my future. I think I might frame it for the wall, it's so pretty.
So I have learned quite a bit from taking a few days out of the excitement of a new pattern to knit up what I had envisioned in my head.
I'm excited to make my changes to my paper pattern and begin in earnest in the next few weeks. Am I going to knit another mock up just to check on the final product, I hear you whisper, absolutely not! I haven't thoroughly let go of my seat of your pants mentality yet and I'm going to happily wing it!
I have also been very naughty and cast on for The Williamson Stole by the Ravelry Heirloom Knitting Forum using Jamieson and Smith 1ply Shetland Supreme in natural white (my most favourite ever yarn) and am happily curled up on the sofa, knitting away on the first border.