The Swatches: This time it’s personal

Despite the many warnings about the fickle nature of swatches from my amazing fellow knitters, I went all out this time around. I have measurements from: fresh-off-the-needles swatches, wet swatches, and blocked swatches. And I have an answer – well sort of. I have some choices to make.

KnitPicks’ Comfy Fingering Weight in Doe: US#3 and US#4 respectively


On the one hand, I had a Harry Potter moment when I measured the blocked US#3 swatch. It’s a perfect 4’=24 x 32 Stst gauge. However, that means I’ll be knitting this project on six inch US#3 DPNs, of which I have ten.

No big deal, this is the OG of knitting tech, right?

Wrong. The missus disabused me of this with a bit of research. It turns out that way back when there were knitting guilds and you had to have a six year apprenticeship followed by years of travel to learn new techniques and amass the right kind of portfolio, these manly knitters used circular needles. DPNs didn’t come into prominence until knitting lost some of it’s prestige and people began to knit for themselves. Think industrial mixer to your every-day counter top Kitchen Aid. She also gave me a really concerned look and asked if it would just be easier to invest in some circular needles for this kind of thing. Clearly, she is the best wife ever and is the person in this relationship with all the sense because I am still considering giving it a shot.


  • I like the fabric I get with the US 3’s
  • If I work with the DPNs that I knit the swatch with, I’ll be sure about the end result
  • I don’t have to buy one more thing.


  • The prospect of knitting the collar using US #0’s
  • Dropped stitches/the sweater has to stay at home


On the other hand, I could do some math and still use the US 4’s, in which case, I am all set with the interchangeable needles. The gauge becomes a variable in this case since there isn’t a perfect translation between straight needles and circulars….

-I’m going to end up buying the circular needles aren’t I?

Sigh. I have got the be the one knitter who hates shopping for stuff. I can’t help it. It’s the minimalist in me. That said I need to be true to the conclusion I came to in my last post: it’s all about having the right tools. It isn’t as if I’m only making this one sweater and I won’t ever use them again. I’m likely to need these size needles since I’d like to exclusively wear knit tops I’ve made.


I’m off to KnitPicks, where I will ignore the potential free shipping and just buy what I need. Just needles.


10 thoughts on “The Swatches: This time it’s personal

  1. Your wife is the best! Good luck with “just” buying needles at KnitPicks! Have you also thought about checking out Ravelry or one of the other knitting sites to see if someone is selling theirs for less than brand new ones? I can’t remember if it was you or Hannah who had written about knitting karma wrapped up in old knitting needles and having the essence of the previous knitter πŸ™‚ So, that might not be an option. Anyways, great job on finding the perfect needles for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She’s all sorts of serious awesome – and more of a minimalist than I am so if she’s saying to buy stuff….
      I think one of the first posts I wrote was about knitting mojo in other people’s needles. I feel it’s a bit eerie to knit with other people’s gear. You can literally feel how they held their needles and it almost feels like the needles are resisting the new owner.

      Or that’s how it goes with metal ones anyway πŸ™‚ I have nothing against investing in a good set of tools – it’s just the having more actual stuff in my house that’s the issue. The way I’m dealing with it now is for every thing that comes in, one thing goes out and so a couple of books are finding a new home.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t even imagine being a minimalist; however can relate in wanting to get rid of some stuff. I feel that my office / craft room is out of control and needs more organization and purging. Of course, I cannot get rid of my yarn, needles, crochet hooks or project bags πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We’re aspiring minimalists – partially because we like everything streamlined and partially because we live in a space just shy of 500 sq ft. πŸ™‚ I’ve come to think of it more as being selective. If I have only the yarn I know I can use within a few projects then there is more room to store sock yarn which is more of an on going thing.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. She’s got some serious research game!
      While writing this post I finally saw sense and I ordered two circs. They seem a bit unwieldy and difficult to store properly but I’ll probably end up using them enough so that I don’t have to worry about that too much πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Is this a good time to let you know you might end up buying more circs just because the ones you bought might not be your favourite types? There’s so much to choose from 😳 Anyway, congrats on the getting the good things in life right: the wife, the knitting, the exploring the world of new gear πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Lol! I don’t know about the everything else, but I am confident that marrying that girl is the single smartest thing I’ve ever done – even after 14 years.

          I was afraid you’d say that about the circs. I really hope I have a Harry Potter moment with these because I don’t know that there is a rhyme or reason to figuring out which circs would work best. I know I like knitting with wood, so I went with birch, but the connection and the plastic bit is kind of a gamble…

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well, good luck with the new needles! I chose mine (Chiao Goo Lace) because I like the extra sharp tip, the bendable cable and I obviously like knitting with metal… To each their own πŸ˜€
            And think of it this way: if you’re happy in love, karma will make you struggle with something else. Given the choice, I’d say bring on a needle conundrum πŸ˜‚

            Liked by 1 person

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