I received a few queries about my ZigZag swatches so I thought I would hold a little swatch tutorial today.
1. Why are your swatches fringed?
It's not fringed, it was knit in the round (sorta). My gauge is different
in the round than flat (common for most knitters), and the garment is made in the round. The way it's done: you knit a row, move the yarn to the end of the circular again, wrap the working yarn around the swatch loosely and then knit the next row. The swatch curls in a bit, so you cut it and it makes a funky fringe. But since every row is knit, you get a knit-in-the-round assessment of gauge.
It's the most accurate way to do it outside of knitting a sleeve or a hat.
2. Why is your swatch in pattern?
In this case the pattern instructs you to swatch "in pattern". Since the whole sweater is in this cable pattern it makes sense to swatch in the pattern. Some just ask for a swatch in stockinette, but since many people's gauges change when cabling or doing lace it makes you'll have a more accurate indication if you're on gauge (especially if substituting yarn).
As for doing it, this time I worked Chart A which shows 30 sts. which made the swatch slightly larger than the indicated sts. (21 sts =4"). I knit the required number of rows (mostly because I'm lazy--30 rounds=4").
And, swatching in pattern gives you a chance to try out the pattern--to see if you like it and work out any bugs before jumping into the whole project. After 4 swatches, I'm a pro at ZigZag.
I did find some time to work on Lara a bit last night. I casted on for the right side. I wanted it to match the left side (the edge of which is a cast-off edge) as much as possible so I tried a crochet cast-on. I didn't like it and I got smarter and made little 6 stitch samples to find the best method. The long-tail cast-on won and I did one row before bed so no photo since there's really nothing to see.
There's good TV on tonight (but where the hell is The West Wing?) so I see my ass on the couch knitting tonight.