Friday, March 15, 2013

CAL: Reading The Pattern and Making A Swatch

Good morning and Happy Friday to you!  I have been looking forward to this day all week...been a busy bee and up to my neck in yarn with Crochet 101 tutorials!  Lots of fun.

Today marks week 2 of our crochet along, and today we'll be skimming through the pattern and making a swatch.  Anytime you start a project, just a bit of planning makes for a smooth and happy experience.

I want to note that each of you has their own way of working a pattern, these are some things I do, you don't necessarily have to do each and everything,  If you have something that you do or have any additional tips, please share them below in the comments area too, we would love to know about them!

The first thing I do after selecting the pattern is print it out. (click here for pattern)  Again, some of you may or may not do this, I've done projects with just my tablet nearby with the project bookmarked, or simply jotted it down on a scrap piece of paper.  However, printing it out is my favorite way.  I later put it in a binder with all of the others I've collected over time.  I like to grab a pen at this point and make any notes or circle anything that I want to make sure to remember.

After printing and skimming the pattern, I will then select yarn and hook.  We talked a little bit about that last week too.  I chose this pretty orchid color and an I hook.  Which brings me to the swatch, I know some people really do not like to do this and want to jump right in, but if you have any doubt about your yarn, hook, etc, I recommend making just a small square of fabric to get a good sense of what you are getting yourself into.  So many times after making a swatch with a yarn I was so in love with ended up being better suited for something else.

If you notice, I am using a different hook that what the pattern calls for, so I wanted to make sure everything looked OK.  Fortunately this pattern is very forgiving and does not need to be the exact same size as the one in the picture (or it can be too, if you want it to be).  When I designed this piece, I made sure it would be flexible in that regard, as it is a pattern to learn from.

Because I am using a different hook and different yarn than the pattern, I personally really felt the need to make a swatch (I'll show you how I did it below), I'm glad I did because it looked lovely and eliminated any doubt I may have felt about using different supplies.  Patterns will rarely instruct you to make a swatch, so you'll usually have to make one on your own.  Important to note here: be sure you take into account yarn that you use for your swatch and either subtract it from your skein or what I usually do is work it up, then pull it apart and use it again for the project.

Here's how I made my swatch:

  • I made about 12 chains or so (does not have to be exact)
  • SC in the second chain from hook, and work a single crochet in each chain across.
  • Work about three more rows of sc.
  • Chain 2 and turn.  Work a dc in each st across.
  • Work about three more rows of dc.
  • Chain 3 and turn.  Work a tr in each st across.
  • Work about 3 more rows of tr.
Of course you can make your swatch any way you please, but this was a great sampling of all of the stitches used and gave me the best sense of what to surprises!  So, let's swatch away!  If the first (or second) yarn is not working out, not to worry, just keep trying different yarn and hooks until your swatch looks how you want it to look.

Please be sure to share too...thoughts, comments, pictures:
Next week we'll be jumping right in with our beginning chain and single crochet section...can't wait!  Below is our CAL schedule in case you missed it:


  1. That cowl is so pretty. Perfect for this time of year. Your tutorials are great, thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment! :)


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