A knitting hack: how to make a flat swatch that imitates knitting in the round.

Now that I know about rowing out, I face a dilemma when I am swatching for socks. I should knit the swatch in the round since that’s how I knit my socks, but it’s easier to determine your knitting gauge with a flat swatch than a tubular one. Here’s something else my knitting group taught me: how to make a flat stockinette stitch swatch without purling.

You can see the “ribs” made by rowing out in the first few rows of this flat swatch. I switched to knit-only rows for the rest of the swatch, so it is much smoother.

You start your swatch the way you would any flat swatch (I like to do several rows of garter stitch so the swatch will be easier to handle), but using two double-pointed needles. When you are ready, knit the first row of your stockinette stitch.

At the end of the row, do not turn the piece. Instead, slide the swatch to the other end of the needle and run the yarn loosely behind it. Then knit another row. Keep doing this until your swatch is big enough to make your measurements.

The back of my flat “in-the-round” swatch, showing the yarn carry overs.

While it’s a little fussy, it allows you to get a big enough swatch for making measurements with half the knitting it would take if you knit in the round, saving you both time and yarn.

My flat “in-the-round” swatch from the front. You can see the rowing out at the bottom of the swatch, how the rows look like lines instead of smooth like it is above.

Note: Because of the loose yarn across the back, the stitches at the very edge of the swatch may not be as tight, so make sure you stay towards the middle when making your measurements.

2 thoughts on “In-The-Round Swatch Knit Flat”

  1. so what’s the fuss about perl rows? I used to have a tension problem with them until I decided to try doing the knit row with the yarn on my left hand and the perl row with it on my right hand. Voila! Perfect tension that doesnt pull the rows i to pairs. Of course I have been knitting since I was 8 years old and that is almost 65 years ago now.

    1. My rowing out issues are apparently backwards from most people’s: my purl rows are tighter than my knit ones. But it doesn’t always happen! So this is just something I do when the yarn and needles I am using result in this challenge. Cool that you figured out how to fix it for yourself.

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