I sometimes think that the habitual avoidance of gauge swatches is really just a strong desire to avoid finding out we can’t have what we want. I wanted to make myself a very nice bolero out of the homespun yarn my mother gave me. The first gauge swatch said I was knitting too narrow. Instead of 12 stitches making four inches it made two. I kept upping the ante, the needle size, but even at a size 13 needle with holes I could fit fingers through the stitches never became more than three inches wide. Meanwhile the length in rows grew as well, though much slower.
The result? I am forced to admit reality. This yarn will not do for this pattern. Now I either have to change yarn or change patterns. There’s no other answer.
Since the whole idea was to do something beautiful with the homespun I have to begin my quest anew. If it was any other yarn I could look at the label and narrow my search to “fingerling” or “dk” and avoid these little disappointments. The nice part of having done a swatch for gauge though was I now know that I should look for patterns that call for around 20 stitches per four inches.There now, reality didn’t hurt that much did it?