Okay, nobody has really fully explained samples anywhere I’ve looked, they just say you should do them and they are supposed to somehow give you an idea of your work?

What is involved in a sample, and how does it express your work than would be done by actually starting on your project?

The main point to a sample is to determine your gauge. Every knitter knits slightly differently. One knitter gets the recommended gauge using the yarn and needle specified in the pattern, the next one does not.

On some items gauge isn’t really important, but when you are knitting garments like sweaters and socks it is critical. After all the work and time learning you made a sweater that fits your 6 yr old niece but was intended for yourself is very frustrating.

You don’t have to bind off the sample or complete it. Knit enough (usually about a 4 inch square in garter or a common pattern stitch based on your pattern) and then measure it, count your stitches and your rows and compare it to the pattern’s gauge.

I hope that helps.


With some yarns, it might be a good idea to wash and block your sample. This will give you an idea how the finished garment will behave and if your gauge is just a bit small, you can determine if blocking will give it the correct dimensions.

In addition to what the others said… a sample is more commonly known as a gauge swatch or just a swatch. Thought I’d mention that if you came across that those terms. :wink:

Thanks you guys have been most helpful.