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Nine gifts to make mum for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and this is our first in our series of posts to inspire your gift-giving this year! Want to make something for mum? We have a roundup of nine gorgeous projects that she’ll love. Find all these and more in our Mother’s Day Gifts section on The Daily Stitch!

Nine handmade gifts to make mum for Mother's Day

Double gauze is the softest, lightest fabric and it makes a perfect lightweight scarf for spring! Teamed with pom pom trim, it’s whimsical and fun. This version is made with Adorn double gauze by Alison Glass. Find the tutorial here.

Double gauze pom pom scarf tutorial

A macrame plant hanger is a quick project with huge impact! Pair this gift with a fun pot plant and mum will adore it. You can use our reclaimed Hoooked t-shirt yarn like in the picture, or our cotton macrame cord! Find the tutorial here.

DIY modern macrame plant hanger tutorial

A cute little zip-top bag is perfect for storing essentials and running out the door or for keeping organised whilst traveling. Stitch it up in any fabric mum will love or bust your scraps and create a patchwork exterior. Fun! Find the tutorial here.

Zip Top Purse Tutorial

Our Year of Wreaths series is full of ideas for wreaths mum would love, but one of our favourites is April’s Felt Flower Wreath! The colours are just gorgeous. Find the tutorial here and the full series here.

Felt Flower Wreath tutorial

Decoupage a tray with a fun fabric to customise it for mum! We love this fun stripe, but it would also look great in a moody floral or wild tropical print! Find the tutorial here.

DIY mod podge decoupage tray tutorial

We love this striped tote for mum! The happy colour palette is pretty and springy, but of course could be customised just for her. Pick your favourite Kona Cotton Solids and find the tutorial here.

Striped Tote Tutorial

These simple ric rac-trimmed linen tea towels can be gifted on their own or added to a little basket of all of your mum’s favourite teas and biscuits! Find the tutorial here.

Ric Rac Tea Towel Tutorial

Does your mum love her garden? She’ll love a hand-stitched plant lady brooch! Pair the tutorial with our selection of wool felt for a lovely gift you can make on the go! Find the tutorial here.

DIY Plant Lady Brooch Tutorial

Give mum an excuse to picnic with our picnic basket liner tutorial! Choose a bright, happy print like these Rifle Paper Co. florals for a basket she’ll get loads of use out of. Wine optional! Find the tutorial here.

Picnic basket liner tutorial

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DIY Embroidered Plant Lady brooches tutorial

We are obsessed with Laura Howard‘s latest creation: Plant Lady brooches! Perfect handmade flair to show off your plant lady status or a fabulous gift – Mother’s Day is just around the corner and let’s not forget it! Over to you, Laura…

DIY Embroidered Plant Lady brooches tutorial

Add a bit of plant lady style to your outfits with these fun felt brooches! There’s an embroidered “plant lady” badge, a cute cactus and a massive monstera leaf.

These leafy designs would make great gifts for the plant-lovers in your life. You could also leave off the brooch backs and use the designs as patches to sew on your rucksack, jacket, or other items that don’t need regular washing.

Finished sizes:

Monstera – 3.5″ x 2.75″
Plant Lady – 2.25″ round
Cactus 2.75″ x 2″

Tools & Materials:

The template sheet provided
Evergreen, Grassy Meadows, Chartreuse, Fuchsia, and Cotton Candy wool blend felt
Matching sewing threads
Light green, mid green, dark green, light pink and white embroidery thread (I used DMC 699 for the dark green, DMC 905 for the mid green, DMC 907 for the light green, DMC 603 for the pink, and DMC BLANC for the white.)
Brooch clasps
White tissue paper
A pencil or fine pen
A sewing needle and pins
Sewing scissors or embroidery scissors (these are great for cutting out small shapes!)
Optional: an air erasable fabric marker
DIY Embroidered cactus brooch tutorialTo make a cactus brooch:

Use the templates provided to cut one green cactus from bright green felt, one plant pot from light pink felt, and one heart from bright pink felt.

One by one, sew the shapes to a backing piece of dark green felt. Use whip stitch and matching thread, taking care to sew the bottom edge of the cactus and the top edge of the plant pot flush with each other.

Add the stitched spines to the cactus, sewing lots of single stitches with two strands of white embroidery thread (out of the six strands in the skein).

Cut a small flower from fuchsia felt. You can carefully cut this freehand, or draw a flower on the felt with an air erasable marker pen and cut it out. Sew the flower in position with three strands of light pink embroidery thread, sewing one stitch along each petal as shown.

Trim away the backing felt, leaving a narrow border around the cactus design. Then use the shape you’ve just cut out as a template to cut a matching backing piece from dark green felt.

DIY Embroidered Cactus brooch tutorial

Turn over the backing shape. Sew a brooch clasp in position with a double thickness of matching sewing thread. Place the front and back of the brooch together and sew around the edges with whip stitch and more matching thread.

 

DIY Embroidered Plant Lady brooches tutorialTo make a Plant Lady brooch:

Trace the brooch design onto a piece of white tissue paper, with a sharp pencil or a fine pen. Roughly cut out the design and sew it to a piece of light pink felt with large tacking stitches.

Embroider the lettering and the outlines of the leaves with backstitch, sewing small stitches as you sew around the curves. Use three strands of dark green embroidery thread (from a skein of six strands) for the lettering, and two strands of mid green thread for the leaves.

Remove the tacking stitches and gently tear away the tissue paper, carefully removing any remaining small pieces of paper with a pin.

Fill in the leaves with two strands of light green embroidery thread, as shown.

Trace the circular brooch shape onto a piece of white tissue paper and cut it out. Position this over your stitching so it’s centred and pin it in place. Cut around the circle then unpin and discard the tissue paper.

Place the felt circle on a piece of bright green felt and whip stitch it in position with matching pink sewing thread.

Trim the green felt, leaving a narrow border around the pink circle. Use this shape as a template to cut out a matching backing piece of bright green felt.

DIY Embroidered Plant Lady brooch tutorial

Turn the backing piece over. Sew a brooch clasp in position with a double thickness of matching sewing thread. Place the front and back of the brooch together and sew around the edges with whip stitch and more matching thread.

 

DIY Embroidered monstera brooch tutorialTo make a monstera leaf brooch:

Use the template provided to cut out a monstera leaf from mid green felt. Place it on a piece of light pink felt and sew it in position with whip stitch and matching mid green sewing thread.

Embroider the veins of the leaf, using the photo and the drawing on the template as a guide. Use backstitch and three strands of mid-green embroidery thread (from the six strands in the skein). Start by sewing the central line down the middle of the leaf then add the other lines.

Trim the backing felt, leaving a narrow border of felt around the leaf. Use this shape as a template to cut out a matching backing piece of pink felt.

DIY Embroidered Monstera Brooch tutorial

Turn the backing shape over. Sew a brooch clasp in position with a double thickness of matching sewing thread. Place the front and back of the brooch together and sew around the edges with whip stitch and more matching thread.

Show off your Plant Lady brooches with the hashtag #thevillagehaberdashery so we can see what you make!

DIY Embroidered Plant Lady brooches tutorial

DIY Embroidered Plant Lady brooches tutorial

DIY Embroidered Plant Lady brooches tutorial

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Pun-tastic Valentine’s Cards DIY

We are getting into the Valentine’s crafting spirit hard in our shop, and Laura Howard is helping spread the love with some fab tutorials. Read on to find out how to make these truly wonderful pun-tastic Valentines for someone you love! Thanks, Laura!

Pun-Tastic Valentines DIY

Today I’m sharing templates for making cute and colourful Valentine’s Day cards inspired by silly puns. BEE mine, I’m PINE-ing for you, You make me HOPPY – whichever card (or cards) you choose, I hope you’ll have fun making these!

Pun-Tastic Valentines Cards

All these cards were made using the fab Super Colour 60 paper pad, which includes loads of great shades for all your paper crafting projects. Each pad includes a mix of light and heavy weight paper/card – I used the thick sheets for the cards themselves then cut out the shapes making up each design from the lighter weight paper. The lighter weight paper is also great for making coordinating envelopes.

You could also decorate a pack of blank cards and matching envelopes, or cut all the shapes from white paper and use colouring pencils, pens or even paints to add colour.

Tools and Materials:
The printable PDF template sheets.
Coloured paper and card – I used the Super Colour 60 paper pad.
Scissors
A sharp pencil and an eraser
A fine black pen
A ruler
Felt tip pens or markers
A glue stick
Optional: scrap paper to protect your workspace.

To make each card:
1. Cut your chosen A4 card sheet in half then fold it in half to make a blank card to decorate. An easy way to do this is to fold a plain piece of A4 paper in half and use that as a guide to help you quickly draw a pencil line down the centre of the card. Carefully cut along the line then fold the card in half.

2. Use the templates provided and the instructions below to cut out all the pieces of coloured paper required to make up your chosen design. To cut out each shape, turn the template over and place it on the paper you’ve chosen. Use a sharp pencil to carefully trace around the paper template then cut out the shape and turn it over, leaving you with a finished shape with no visible pencil lines.

3. Arrange the pieces on the card and glue them in position using a glue stick. When gluing paper pieces, I like to turn the shapes over and place them face down on a piece of scrap paper – this way you can apply the glue right up to the edges of the shapes without worrying about getting glue on the table.

4. Use a fine black pen (or felt tips, as required) to add any necessary details to the design.

5. Finish the card by adding the pun-tastic message. For extra neatness, write the message in pencil first to plan the position and spacing of your words then write over the top in pen and erase the pencil once the ink has completely dried.

Pun-tastic Valentine's Cards A

You’re the apple of my eye.
Cut one red apple, one brown apple stalk, and one green apple leaf. Glue the apple then the stalk and leaf then use a fine black pen to draw a line down the centre of the leaf.

I’m pine-ing for you.
Cut one dark green pine tree and one brown tree trunk. Glue the pieces to the card.

You’re just my cup of tea.
Cut one pink or red heart and one cup in a contrasting colour (I chose bright blue). To cut out the hole inside the handle of the cup, cut through the shape at the top or bottom where the handle joins the bowl of the cup. Glue the cup then add the heart. If you want you can also use a fine black pen to draw wavy steam lines rising from the cup, or to add extra decorative details to the cup.

You’re purrrrrfect.
Cut one cat in a colour of your choice (I chose orange), two bright pink cat eyes, two pale pink cat ears (one left and one right) and one pale pink cat nose. I gave my cat heart eyes to be like the cat emoji, but if you prefer you can cut normal eyes for your cat. Glue the cat face to the card then add the small pieces. Use a fine black pen to give the cat whiskers and a smile (and, if needed, pupils for the eyes).

Bee mine.
Cut one yellow bee, one white bee wings, one flower (I chose lilac for this), one contrasting flower centre (I chose a bright orange), one pink flower heart, and two green leaves (one left and one right). Add a small bit of glue to the bottom of the wings, and stick them to the back of the bee, so the curved wings stick out as shown. Glue the flower then add the bee, flower centre, heart and leaves. If you find cutting out the small heart piece tricky, you can draw a heart with a pink pen instead! Use a green felt tip pen to draw the flower stalk, and a fine black pen to add stripes, a stinger and a smiley face to the bee.

You make me hoppy.
Cut one grey bunny, two pale pink bunny ears (one left and one right), two white bunny eyes, and one pink bunny nose. Glue the bunny face then add the small shapes. Use a fine black pen to give the bunny a smile, small whiskers, and big teeth, and to add pupils to the eyes.

Pun-tastic Valentine's Cards C

I’d be lost without you.
Cut one compass outer circle from a dark colour (I chose dark brown), one compass inner circle from a pale colour (I chose pale blue), and one compass points piece from a bold colour (I chose blue). Glue the outer circle to the card then add the inner circle so it’s centred on the larger shape. Then add the compass points in the middle and use a pen to draw four lines and the North, East, South, West markers.

I love you sew much.
Cut one bright thread piece (I chose bright pink), two bright buttons (I chose turquoise and lilac) and the top and bottom of the spool in white, cream or pale brown. Glue the thread and buttons, position the top and bottom spool pieces so they slightly overlap the thread, and then glue the spool pieces in place. Use a fine black pen to add detail to the top of the spool and the buttons, and to draw a sewing needle. Then use a felt tip pen matching your chosen thread colour to draw a curving line of thread running from the thread shape and through the eye of the needle.

I’m sweet on you.
Cut three sweets in assorted bright colours (I chose purple, orange and pink). Glue them to the card and use a fine black pen to draw a wrapper around each sweet.

Pun-tastic Valentine's cards D

I think you’re egg-cellent
Cut one white egg white, and one yellow egg yolk. Glue the egg white, add the egg yolk and use a fine black pen to give the yolk a smiley face.

I only have eyes for you
Cut one alien in a bright colour (I chose lime green) and lots of white eyes. Glue the alien to the card, then arrange the eyes and stick them in place. Use a fine black pen to give the alien a smile and to add a pupil to each eye.

You’re a-maze-ing.
Cut one maze from your chosen colour (I used pink). Glue it to the card then use a ruler to mark out the maze lines, using the template or the photo as a guide. You can draw the lines directly with a fine black pen, or draw them in pencil first then draw over them with pen when you’re happy with the design. Don’t forget to draw the lines around the outside of the maze, leaving a gap or to for the maze entrance(s)! Then cut a bright pink heart and stick it in the middle of the maze, or use a pink felt tip pen to draw a heart instead.

If you follow this tutorial to make any Valentines, please share them on Instagram and tag #thevillagehaberdashery so we can see your awesome work!

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DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile

Today we have such a fun project for you mums to be, or for anyone wanting to give a handmade gift to a new baby in the family/friend group! This sweet and colourful weather-themed baby mobile was created by Laura Howard. Take it away, Laura!

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

Today I’m sharing a how-to for making a cute and colourful felt baby mobile inspired by the weather. Learn to sew fluffy clouds and rainclouds, a smiling sun and a bright rainbow then combine them all to make a mobile!

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

This mobile would make a sweet addition to any nursery or a special gift for new parents. You could also use the tutorials to make individual ornaments or fun brooches – just add a ribbon loop or a brooch clasp. As with all mobiles, this is a decoration not a toy so make sure you hang the finished project well out of reach of little fingers.

You will need:

The PDF template sheets: cloud templates, rainbow templates, sun templates
Felt in white, grey and 6 rainbow colours. I used the following shades of wool blend felt: White, Silver Grey, Red, Hallows Eve, Banana Cream, Pea Soup, Turquoise and Wisteria.
Matching sewing threads
Black sewing thread
Black and Turquoise embroidery thread
White embroidery thread (or clear plastic “invisible” thread)
Black seed beads
Toy stuffing
An embroidery hoop (about 8 inches)
Sewing needles and pins
Large, sharp sewing needle
Sewing scissors
Embroidery scissors (these are great for cutting out small shapes!)
Air-erasable fabric marker

To make a white or grey cloud:

  1. Use the templates provided to cut out two matching cloud shapes from white or grey felt. I’ve included templates for two different cloud shapes (Cloud A and Cloud B), so you can make a mix of clouds in the different shapes and colours.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

  1. Place the cloud pieces together and whip stitch around the edge with matching sewing thread. Stuff the cloud gradually as you sew around the edge, adding small pieces of toy stuffing to firmly fill the cloud shape.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

To make a raincloud:

  1. Use the templates provided to cut out three cloud shapes from white or grey felt: two matching clouds (Cloud A or Cloud B) and one matching inside piece (Cloud A Inside or Cloud B Inside). Also cut out three small and six large raindrops from turquoise blue felt.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

  1. Cut a piece of turquoise embroidery thread to match the raindrops. Knot it at one end and sew a vertical stitch through one of the small raindrops. Remove the needle and set the raindrop aside. Repeat this step for the other two small raindrops.
  2. Layer the raindrop pieces so each small raindrop is sandwiched between (and hidden by) two large raindrops. Sew around the large raindrops with whip stitch and matching sewing thread, starting and finishing your stitching at the top of each raindrop. You should now have three felt raindrops, each suspended from a length of embroidery thread.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

  1. Use the embroidery threads to attach the raindrops to the inside cloud piece.

Sew a single vertical stitch upwards through the felt, adjust the thread until you’re happy with the position of the raindrop (remember that the finished cloud will be slightly larger – make sure you leave enough thread so the raindrops will dangle freely!). Then secure the thread and trim any excess. Repeat to secure the other two raindrops to the felt.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

  1. Layer the cloud pieces, so the inside piece is sandwiched between (and hidden by) the two larger pieces. Whip stitch around the edge with matching sewing thread. Stuff the cloud gradually as you sew around the edge, adding small pieces of toy stuffing to firmly fill the cloud shape.

Being by stitching along the bottom of the cloud, making sure the raindrops are hanging neatly as you sew past them.

If you’re making a grey raincloud you can stuff the cloud on one side only (i.e. with the smaller inside piece pressed against one of the outer pieces). If you’re making a white raincloud the blue embroidery thread inside the cloud may show through the felt and be visible on the outside. To avoid this, add stuffing evenly to either side of the inner cloud shape so all the blue thread is hidden by a layer of stuffing.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

To make the sun:

  1. Use the templates provided to cut out two yellow sun pieces and one orange sun rays piece.

Tip: when cutting out the rays, I found it easiest to roughly cut around the shape then to cut down one side of each “ray” first, and then to cut up along the other sides to reveal the final shape.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

  1. Draw a smiley face on one of the yellow sun pieces using an air-erasable fabric marker: a smile and two dots for the eyes. Cut a length of black embroidery thread and separate half the strands (so use three of the six strands). Use the black thread to backstitch along the smile, sewing small stitches for a smooth curve. Finish your stitching neatly at the back then trim any excess thread.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

  1. Add two black seed beads for the eyes. Use black sewing thread, sewing each bead flat like an O with three or four stitches. To avoid the black thread being visible through the yellow felt, don’t carry your thread between the eyes – instead start a fresh piece of thread for the second bead.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

  1. Line up all three sun pieces carefully so the rays are sandwiched between the two yellow circles. Use yellow sewing thread and whip stitch to sew the layers together. Turn the felt back and forth as you sew, so you can check that your stitching is in the right place on both sides. Sew most of the way around the circle, leaving a gap for stuffing.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

  1. Stuff the sun with small pieces of toy stuffing, gradually adding stuffing to both sides between the layers until the sun is evenly stuffed. Then sew up the gap, pinching the felt firmly between your fingers to make sure the layers are in the right position and sewn together neatly.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

To make a rainbow:

  1. In this step you’ll be using seven paper templates to cut out six pieces in rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. This is a slightly different way of cutting out felt pieces than usual, so read the whole of this step before you begin cutting!

Use the largest template (A) to cut out the first colour (red). Position the next template (B) on the red shape you’ve just cut out, lining the template up in the centre of the base line and pinning it in place. Then carefully cut round the curve of the paper template, cutting away the strip of felt above it in one single piece. This curved strip of felt will be the red line of the rainbow.

Repeat this process to cut out all the colours, working through the templates in decreasing size to cut out all six rainbow pieces. When you get to the smallest templates, you may find it easier to hold them in place instead of pinning them.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

  1. Position the smallest (purple) rainbow shape on a piece of white felt. Make sure the bottom (straight) edges of the curved shape are level with each other and that you’ve left plenty of space to add the rest of the rainbow pieces.

With matching sewing thread and small running stitches, sew a line down the centre of the curved shape. Hold it in place with the thumb and forefinger of your other hand as you sew.

Tip: Don’t sew too close to the bottom edges as you may need to trim them slightly later.

  1. Add the next line of the rainbow, sewing it with a line of running stitch in matching thread as before. Repeat this step to add all the rainbow colours one by one.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

  1. Cut out the rainbow from the backing felt. Carefully trim the bottom of the rainbow (if required) to create a straight edge.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

  1. Use the rainbow shape as a template to cut out a matching backing piece from white felt.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

  1. Join the front and back of the rainbow together, sewing the edges with whip stitch in white sewing thread.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

To construct the mobile:

  1. Follow the steps above to sew all the felt designs. To make the mobile pictured you’ll need four white clouds, two grey clouds, one grey raincloud, one sun and one rainbow. The larger you want your mobile to be, the more pieces you’ll need!

Plan the arrangement of your mobile, laying out the pieces in columns to get a mix of designs across the mobile – each column will be one strand of the mobile.

  1. Cut three long pieces of white embroidery thread – one for each strand of the mobile. If you’re making a larger or smaller mobile, cut more or less thread as needed.

Thread a large sharp needle with one of the pieces and tie a large knot at one end. Pass the needle upwards through the first shape you want to add (the one which will hang at the bottom of a strand), carefully squashing the shape down so you can gently poke then pull the needle through the entire shape. Repeat to add all the pieces to the 3 strands of thread.

Tip: This step can be tricky so take care! Alternatively, you can use “invisible” clear plastic thread and running stitch to sew up the back of each piece – because the thread doesn’t show up, you can sew in and out of the felt without worrying about your stitches being visible when the mobile is displayed.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

  1. Tie the three strands of embroidery thread loosely to the inner ring of an embroidery hoop (approximately 8 inches wide), so they’re evenly spaced around the hoop. Adjust the positions of the felt mobile pieces until you’re happy with them then knot the threads securely to the hoop.

Now bring all three threads into the centre of the hoop and knot them together, making sure that the hoop hangs level. You can trim any excess thread once the mobile has been hung in position.

DIY Felt Weather Baby Mobile Tutorial

IMPORTANT: please note that this mobile is not a toy should always be hung securely, well out of the reach of babies and young children.

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How to knit a gauge swatch (and why you should!)

We’re excited to have Allison and Rachel from Yarn in the City writing some yarn-focused blog posts for us to help inspire you with your knitting and crochet projects. This edition is all about swatching, what is is and why it is a good thing to do. Take it away ladies…

how to knit a gauge swatch

Do I really have to swatch?

Who among us hasn’t asked this question at one time or another? You’re in the grips of the excitement of starting a new project, and you just want to get going! But then come those dreaded phrases – “adjust needle size as needed to get gauge”, “please swatch to ensure adequate yarn,” “swatch to avoid disappointment.” Argh!

Even though we are firmly in the camp of Swatching Is Good, we still get frustrated by having to pause in my casting on frenzy to knit a square, block it, wait for it to dry, measure it, and repeat ad infinitum until I get the correct gauge. But it is true that swatching is important, and there is a right way to swatch. There are also a number of factors that play a big role in whether or not your swatch tells the truth.

Why Swatching is a Good Thing by Allison and Rachel from Yarn in the City!

Why swatching is important:

You certainly don’t have to swatch – there are no swatching police! But if you want your project to end up the correct size and match the schematic measurements, swatching is a critical part of the process. Don’t do what Rachel did and spend several months in uni knitting an entire cabled sweater without swatching only to discover that the finished object fit her with 40 cm of ease! Particularly if you are starting a project for which fit is essential (jumpers or socks), swatching can save you hours of wasted time, additional expense and considerable heartbreak!

Why Swatching is a Good Thing by Allison and Rachel from Yarn in the City!

How to swatch correctly:

There’s no gold standard for how to swatch, but there are some general guidelines. Be sure you make your swatch big enough! The minimum size for a swatch is about 10 x 10 cm, but I’d definitely recommend making one bigger then that if you can stand it.
Work a garter stitch border around your swatch so it will lie flat when it’s finished. For all the swatches pictured below I cast on 26 sts and worked the first and last three stitches of each row in garter stitch, with 6 rows of garter stitch to start and finish.

If your project is knit in the round, you should swatch in the round. You don’t actually have to work a tube – use circular or double pointed needles, cast on and work one row. Slide the work to the other end of the needle and work the next row, leaving a long float across the back of the swatch so there’s plenty of room for it to lay flat when you’re done. Keep going until the swatch is the size you want, bind off, and block. You can cut the floats if you like, but just be sure to fasten them off so that the stitches are even along the edges.

Also make sure to treat your swatch as you are going to treat your finished project. Block the swatch in the same way as the final project, and let it dry before measuring the gauge.

To measure the gauge lay the swatch flat without stretching or pulling. Take a ruler or a measuring tape and lay it across the portion of your swatch between the garter edges. Measure this section and then divide it by the number of sts in the swatch (not counting the edges). Do the same for the row measurement. Then you can extrapolate to sts/rows per inch/cm.
Why Swatching is a Good Thing by Allison and Rachel from Yarn in the City!

A word about interpreting measurements: swatches with looser gauge will have fewer stitches or rows per unit measure. Swatches with tighter gauges will have more stitches or rows per unit measure.

OK, let’s take a look at some factors that will affect your gauge and how those factors can be used to your advantage.

Stitch pattern:

This may seem completely obvious, but the stitch pattern that you use for your swatch will affect your gauge dramatically. Case in point: the three swatches below were all knit on the same needles with the same number of stitches cast on and the same number of rows. They were all blocked the same way.

Why Swatching is a Good Thing by Allison and Rachel from Yarn in the City!

You can see that the cables pull the fabric in dramatically, while lace patterns open the fabric up and give fewer stitches per cm.

Tools:

The type of needles you use couldimpact your gauge. The four swatches below were all knit with 5.0 mm needles of different materials. One swatch was knit on metal needles, one was knit on plastic needles, and two were knitwith wooden needles – one set smooth and polished, the other set rough. All swatches were worked over the same number of stitches for the same number of rows, and were blocked the same way.

Why Swatching is a Good Thing by Allison and Rachel from Yarn in the City!

Here’s how the gauge came out: Metal needles: 16 sts/22 rows per 10 cm; plastic needles 22 sts/23 rows per 10 cm, smooth wooden needles: 18 sts/25 rows per 10 cm; rough wooden needles: 16 sts/ 24 rows per 10 cm.
The plastic needles gave the tightest stitch gauge, while the metal and rough wooden needles gave the loosest stitch gauge. Metal and plastic needles gave similar row gauges, while wooden needles had looser row gauges. Generally speaking, smoother needles will give tighter gauges, while rougher needles will hold on to the yarn and give a looser fabric at the same needle size.
The take home message from this experiment is that if you are swatching and having trouble getting correct gauge, but changing needle size is too much of a difference, try a different type of needle.

Yarn choice:

The yarn you choose for your project plays an integral role in how successful you’ll be. The first thing to consider is the yarn weight – all knitting patterns should indicate the weight of the yarn used. Sometimes that will be explicit and sometimes you need to do a bit of digging, particularly if you are going substitut a different yarn. If the weight isn’t given in the pattern, look up the yarn called for on Ravelry, which will tell you the yarn weight.

Another clue is the gauge: if there are more stitches listed in the gauge over 4 inches/10 cm, the yarn is finer. For example, a project worked at a gauge of 32 sts over 4 inches/10 cm (a 4-ply gauge) uses a finer yarn than a project worked at 12 sts over 4 inches/10 cm (super chunky gauge).

On other thing to keep in mind: the terms used to indicate yarn weights vary regionally, and the name for a particular weight of yarn in one part of the world may refer to a completely different weight of yarn somewhere else! To help you navigate this tricky area, we’ve included a table comparing US, UK and Australian names for different weights of yarn, along with the approximate stitch gauges for each weight.

US UK Australia Gauge over 4 inches/10 cm
Laceweight 1 ply
2 ply 2 ply 32-40 sts on 1.5 – 2.25 mm needles
Fingering 4 ply 3 ply 27 -32 sts on 2.25 – 3.25 mm needles
Sport – 5 ply 24-27 sts on 3.25 – 3.75 mm needles
DK/Light worsted DK 8 ply 21-24 sts on 3.75 – 4mm needles
Worsted Aran 10 ply 16-20 sts on 4.5-5.5 mm
Bulky Chunky 12 ply 12-16 sts on 5.5 -8 mm needles
Super Bulky Super Chunky 14 ply Anything less than 12 sts per 4 inches/10 cm

Finally, your fibre choice can affect your project, particularly if you are substituting yarns. A general rule of thumb is to try and match the fibre content (I.e. wool for wool, cotton for cotton) and the meterage.

Be aware that some fibres change more after blocking than others, particularly superwash wools, which can grow dramatically after they get wet, leading to much looser gauges than you want or need! The swatches below were all knit out of the same superwash wool, but were blocked differently: the left swatch wasn’t left unblocked, the middle swatch was wet blocked and air dried and the right swatch was wet blocked and tumble dried. Air drying resulted in a larger swatch than the unblocked version, while tumble drying produced a smaller swatch.

Why Swatching is a Good Thing by Allison and Rachel from Yarn in the City!

Hopefully these tips are enough to get you started on your swatching adventures. Happy knitting!

Thanks Ladies!

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