Swatching in the Round with Kraemer Yarns

Tips for swatching hand-dyed yarn from Kraemer Yarns

Hand-dyed Kraemer Yarn, in the skein and caked

A hand-dyed yarn is a thing of beauty! Did you know that Kraemer Yarns carries a wide variety of natural, undyed yarns that can be hand-dyed? Shown above is a skein of Lesley, dyed by Sharon Ivy, in her “African Parrot” colorway. You could jump right in and cast on your next project, but if you take the time to swatch you will learn a lot about the yarn including your gauge and how the colorway works up. 

Crochet swatch and knit swatch of hand-dyed yarn

Washing and blocking the swatch the way you intend to care for the final garment or accessory is an important step to determine an accurate gauge! This is true for both knitters and crocheters! Today we’re focusing on knitting. Many knitters will find that their gauge is different in a piece knit flat versus in the round. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s simply that by making a knit or purl stitch, the yarn is held slightly differently. In a flat stockinette piece, one row is knit, the next is purled. Stockinette in the round only involves knitting the stitches. So, what if your item is to be knit in the round for a sweater, hat, cowl, or socks? You could cast on and begin knitting a tube as your swatch, but there is a shortcut for swatching in the round!

Shortcut for swatching in the round

Cast on your stitches using a long circular needle. 

At the end of the row, do not turn the work, rather slide the stitches back to the beginning of the needle.

Carry the working yarn behind your row of cast on stitches, and begin knitting across the row. 

At the end of this row, do not turn your work, slide the stitches back to the beginning and carry the yarn behind.

If you keep your fingers holding the needle in between the needle and the yarn carried behind, that should help avoid pulling that carried yarn too tightly in back!

If you’ve ever made an i-cord, this will feel familiar! Continue on until you have a sizeable swatch and do not worry about those loose side stitches. 

Treat this the way you would a flat swatch - wash and block! Everything flattens out! If your yarns across the back get twisted as shown above, that is ok. 

Compare a swatch knit flat and knit in the round

Both stockinette swatches were knit using a US2 fixed circular needle. The flat swatch has a gauge measurement of 8 stitches/inch where the circular swatch checks in at 8.75 stitches/inch. You can also see the swatch knit flat shows a simple stripe while the one knit “in the round” shows a simple stripe with subtle flashing. In our opinion, that’s a good gauge and style for socks! We’ll be casting on a pair of summer shorty style socks. Stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram feeds for the result!

Would you like to win a skein of this beautiful hand-dyed yarn to practice this new technique? Leave a comment below letting us know if you always swatch or never swatch! We will draw two winners on July 8, 2019. 

Don’t forget to pin this post! 

Swatching in the round shortcut with Kraemer Yarns

Beth Aidala


Beth Aidala

I always swatch, but have only ever swatched flat. Next time I’ have a project ‘in the round’ I’ll definitely try this! Thank you!

Beth Aidala

I have never swatched because I’ve never made anything that it mattered for. I plan to try my first socks and sweater soon and will definitely swatch for them. Thanks for the great info!

Beth Aidala

I swatch when making a garment. I don’t swatch when making scarfs or shawls.

Beth Aidala

I swatch sometimes for sweaters. This is an excellent tip for swatching in the round. I didn’t know it was different from flat knitting. Thanks.

Beth Aidala

I’ve swatched for garments but not for accessories.

Beth Aidala

I only swatch if I am making a garment.

Beth Aidala

Never have swatched. That yarn color is beautiful!

Beth Aidala

I’ve always thought swatching in the round was really difficult. Thank you for teaching me it’s not, and there is truly value in doing so to see what should be made with the yarn. I do swatch new yarns, but I also have a tendency to use same yarns over and over again, in those cases I only swatch when doing a different stitch than before. I Especially like Simply Nazareth and Mauch Chunky. Always true to guage.

Beth Aidala

I almost always swatch, using the needles and the method that I intend to use for the project. I don’t often wash the swatch unless I think the yarn may react to washing. Most of my hand knits are “washed” using SOAK, then spun in the machine to get the excess water out. Because I journal my projects I don’t swatch if it’s a favorite yarn.

Beth Aidala

I don’t usually swatch. Shawls, wraps, etc don’t usually matter. As long as my sock pattern takes the same size needles I don’t swatch. If it was something more fitted like a sweater I would definitely swatch.

Beth Aidala

I always swatch but never tried this “ in the round “ method.

Beth Aidala

Never swatch, though I am still a beginner, so “never” may turn to “sometimes” or possibly even “always” in future.

Beautiful colorway, regardless.

Beth Aidala

Yes, always swatch. I couldn’t bear my hard work to be wasted with a bad result.

Beth Aidala

I never really swatch but I am trying to start searching for everything!

Beth Aidala

Wow, how cool is that?! I try to be better about swatching, but really I just want to jump on in!

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