I decided to make a sweater for Gretel and this time wisely took the traditional advice of making a swatch first. It's a simple set of ten rows of ten single crochets but it's so easy to skip. So much of the time I just want to get on to the project at hand and I choose to believe everything will work out in the end. But creating a swatch will indicate whether my tension is too tight or too loose, if I need a different sized hook and most importantly, whether the finished product will be the correct size. If I'm making a blanket I don't worry about it too much because who cares what size the blanket is at the end? But in this case, the sweater needs to fit. Initially I figured that Gretel will just grow into it if it was too big, but my sister pointed out that the sweater might end up being too small. She knows me well -- I would be all kinds of irritated if that happened. So last night I made the swatch and tonight I'm ready to start the sweater itself.
So all of this swatch talk is making me wish there was a swatch system in place for other things in my life. Instead of a Sweater Swatch what I could really use is a Marriage Swatch, Childrearing Swatch, a Career Swatch. Something to tell me whether my tension is too tight or too loose, if I'm using the right tools, if I am heading toward success or destined for disappointment. So far so good, but that is the case with crocheting any garment and really doesn't indicate what the end result will be. And problems typically so easy to correct if you catch them early on and hopeless if you catch them too late. It's not that I always think of my life in craft terms (seriously, this is just a metaphor of the moment) but you have to admit: there is something appealing about knowing before you start whether things are going to work out, knowing what you need to change to make them ultimately good.