Here is a swatch I love.
Here is a swatch I am learning to love.
This little swatch saved me from making a very big oops. This is a swatch of KnitPicks Andean Silk, an alpaca silk blend. The yarn is generally classified as a worsted weight yarn and the label recommends knitting it with US size 6-8 needle. I knew I had a sweater's worth of yarn, and thanks to the wonders of Ravelry, I was quickly able to see what other people are making with it. I noticed a Lush and Lacy sweater which was something I had been keen on making. I got home, looked at the yarn, looked at the gauge of the sweater and thought "No, way." I was right. The sweater calls for 16 stitches to 4 inches on US size 9 needles. I was getting 18 stitches on the Andean Silk with US size 9 and I didn't like the knitted fabric. The yarn needed to be knit at a tighter gauge. I rummaged my stash, taking all of 2 minutes to decide on the Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Aran I had just received from Webs at a huge discount. As you can see from the second swatch, not only is the swatch bigger than the Andean Silk, but it knits up to a perfect 16 stitches over 4 inches on US size 9.