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 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.
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.
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.