The Beauty of the Swatch Well Done
Margaret is knitting a sweater. More precisely, she is making the Modern Wrapper Fine, a wonderfully roomy cardigan with pretty drape. She is a small woman, so the extra small size seems just right. The finished cardi for her size will measure 54" across the bust. I know what you are thinking....can that be right? And yes, the sweater is intentionally large.
So when Margaret began swatching, she was careful to get pretty darn close to gauge. She made swatch after swatch, then washed and blocked each one before measuring. She did that until she had the needle size that would get her spot on. Her sweater should fit her perfectly.
Often, when we swatch, we give up before we get it right. After a couple, we think it's 'good enough'. Or we just don't have that next needle size available. But, just a small difference can add or subtract inches in a large garment and be the difference between it fitting or not, between you loving it or not. And we all want to adore wearing the things we spend time making for ourselves, right?
In the case of Margaret's sweater, using the needle called for in the pattern would have added two stitches every four inches to her gauge and would have made her sweater 4 inches smaller around. Yes, 4 inches! That is the difference between the garment fitting as intended and maybe not fitting at all.
Swatching to get it just right is a beautiful thing so don't start a sweater without it!