It depends
Published On: March 11, 2024

Do I block my swatches? Eh, depends on what I’m using them for!

In this case, I was checking to see if I liked this stitch pattern with this yarn for a pair of socks I’m getting reknit. And since that was all I was doing, I totally could have just taken the wee crumpled bit of business (photo two) and stretched it out between my fingers and said ‘yup, that works’ and carried on.

But that only works because it’s a yarn I’m familiar with, getting turned into a thing I’m familiar with, where the sizing isn’t super important. I need them for sock photos, not necessarily for actual wear (though I assure you, they will eventually find their way to whoever in the household they best fit once their modeling career is done), so there’s a lot of flexibility there.

I went ahead and blocked it though because it literally takes five minutes and I just kind of like doing it, and because I like being able to show you what sort of difference it makes. Because really, you can just SEE it better once it’s blocked. Scroll back and forth between those pictures and tell me if I’m wrong.

Now, if I’d been knitting a swatch to check sizing, especially on a bigger project or one with more stringent fit requirements, I would have knit a bigger swatch (it really really really should be at least a five inch square, six is better) and been sure to block it.

But that’s not what I was doing, so I cheated, just a bit.

Oh and someone will ask, so the needles on the sides and top are just how I like to block my small swatches. Get it soaking wet, squeeze out most of the water, run a tiny needle up the selvedge stitches on the sides and along the cast on/off stitches on the top and bottom (I was low on needles and the bottom wasn’t rolling so I didn’t do the bottom here), and use the needles to lay and/or pin it out nice and straight and square.

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