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 Washing swatches
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rebeccaL
Seriously Hooked

721 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2003 :  5:57:50 PM  Show Profile Send rebeccaL a Private Message
Do most of you wash your swatches? I have NEVER washed a swatch and was just reading a book that recommended you do this. Have I been playing with fire all this time? I usually reclaim the yarn once I've knit the swatch and use it in the project.

achrisvet
Permanent Resident

USA
5986 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2003 :  7:07:09 PM  Show Profile Send achrisvet a Private Message
I just washed an aran swatch and it expanded widthwise from 9 inches to 10 inches!

Anita

See my completed projects!
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BLN3320
Permanent Resident

USA
3808 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2003 :  8:55:55 PM  Show Profile Send BLN3320 a Private Message
Hi, Rebecca: Hate to tell you I hardly ever make a swatch and its not because I think I know what I am doing. Its because I am too lazy. Not only that, I usually knit flat things, you know, afghans, scarves--that type thing. Don't really need something that fits. I don't think you have made an error not washing but then coming from someone who hardly ever makes the swatches I don't know really what to say. It might be a good idea, though not only to make but wash the swatch. That way you can see how it hold up through washing. You might even make two and machine wash one and hand wash the other. The machine wash swatch could be put into a mesh bag and washed with something else. Take care. Beverley

"Be kind to your neighbor, he knows where you live!"

Bev
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phlame
Permanent Resident

USA
1561 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2003 :  9:42:23 PM  Show Profile Send phlame a Private Message
For any knitted article that you are going to be wearing, it is imperative that you wash and dry the swatch in the same manner that you will the garment. Otherwise, you may get a big surprise after it is laundered. That is one of the main reasons for making a swatch.

Shirley

Too much is not enough!
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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2003 :  10:15:48 PM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
Washing the swatch may save you from knitting a whole garment that does not fit. There are some yarns that I have used many times and I feel confident how they will behave. I don't even swatch those, just recheck my guage after I have started the article. But any yarn that might shrink or full or I have not used before gets swatched and washed before use. If there is no change after this procedure then it becomes a "good" yarn that I will use again and again. For scarves, afghans, and other flat knitting, I don't swatch, but then there is really no size to change there either.


Fran

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megknits
Sustaining Member

USA
729 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2003 :  5:50:22 PM  Show Profile Send megknits a Private Message
Actually, I sometimes wash the swatch twice. The first time I use the "ideal" washing conditions suggested by the manufacturer. The second time, I torture test the swatch to see what would happen to it if I don't follow instructions.

For example, I got a skein of Cherry Tree Hill superwash which was supposed to be dried flat, not in the dryer. For the second washing of the swatch I chucked it in the dryer with a load of laundry and discovered that (for my machine at least) I can get away with machine drying that particular yarn.

Meg

"Do not meddle into the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup."
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moxie
Seriously Hooked

844 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2003 :  07:35:57 AM  Show Profile Send moxie a Private Message
Uh-oh.

I hadn't thought of the work shrinking or growing when I wash it.

I had better make a swatch right away for the absolutely perfectly fitting cardigan that I have been struggling over.

Oh well, I can also practice my buttonholes on the swatch.

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patt711
New Pal

32 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2003 :  2:24:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit patt711's Homepage Send patt711 a Private Message
I think this answer has pretty much been said, but thought I'd add my two cents since I haven't in a long time: I took a class at Stitches from Lesli Solomon on sweater finishing thinking it would be all about sewing seams, etc. Much to my surprise, she started by sitting on the floor and pulling out all kinds of swatches. Most amazing--some were the before and afters of washing, and oh oh. What a difference a washing can do!
Basically, if you're doing something that doesn't require a fit, like a scarf, it might not matter so much. But you also have to think about colors running, felting or shinking, so you might consider washing, no matter what.

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betz8w
New Pal

USA
5 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2003 :  3:29:57 PM  Show Profile Send betz8w a Private Message
I always knit a swatch,I have never washed a swatch, and I have never had a problem with the size being any different after blocking. Maybe I have just been lucky all these years!

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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2003 :  5:17:59 PM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
I agreed with you Betsy, until I knit my first cotton sweater. Cottons are totally unpredictable, and I understand linens are too but I have not yet made anything with linen.

fran

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gloriaf
New Pal

USA
2 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2003 :  7:49:35 PM  Show Profile Send gloriaf a Private Message
Ugh!{xx(} I've made swatches, but not thought to wash them.
Should you check your guage before or after washing? I would
think before, but not I'm not sure.

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MissPooh
Angel

USA
640 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2003 :  06:05:27 AM  Show Profile Send MissPooh a Private Message
I always wash and block my natural fiber swatches when making something that has to fit. The gauge needs to be measured after the washing and drying. Yarns can change a lot in the washing and drying. I usually don't bother washing the swatch when working with acrylics as they don't change much.

Mary Lou
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ladyknight90
New Pal

USA
22 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2003 :  12:17:46 PM  Show Profile Send ladyknight90 a Private Message
I once knitted a pillow cover, and after washing the first time, the cover ended up being considerably large than the form. That said, the last few sweaters I haven't washed my swatch, even though I should have learned my lesson. I am lucky if I bother to swatch at all, much less washing the swatch.

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Milinda
Permanent Resident

USA
3817 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2003 :  2:37:19 PM  Show Profile Send Milinda a Private Message
This is exactly why I love this site so much! I always swatch but it never occured to me to wash this first before I began the project. In the past, I was quite bad at estimating the amount of yarn to purchase to complete a project, meaning I would be sweating bullets to make sure I didn't run short. I couldn't afford not to use the yarn from the swatch. Now I'm much better at my estimations and always buy extra. From now on, I will wash my swatches. So far, I've not had any nasty surprises when I've dunked my treasures in water, but there is always that first disaster which I am glad I will avoid now. Thanks!

M L
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Patience
Permanent Resident

USA
1080 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2003 :  6:59:48 PM  Show Profile Send Patience a Private Message
Patt711,

You took the words right out of my mouth! I was going to post the very same thing about the very same class by Leslye Solomon! We were probably at the same one and didn't realize it. I think if I am taking one in the future I'll ask out loud before class starts if there are any poeple present who regularly log onto Knitter's Review.

You're right about the huge difference in some of the swatches before and after washing....it was a shock because I don't always swatch, but since then I do, and I wash and abuse the swatch to see how it will hold up. I got the idea to abuse swatches from our own, darling, Clara

Regards, Patience
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BLN3320
Permanent Resident

USA
3808 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2003 :  7:35:47 PM  Show Profile Send BLN3320 a Private Message
Hi: Who is Lesley Solomon and where does she teach her class? I am out west and we all know about us. Take care. Beverley

"Be kind to your neighbor, he knows where you live!"

Bev
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sfraz29608@aol.com
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2003 :  10:22:12 AM  Show Profile Send sfraz29608@aol.com a Private Message
I always swatch, but I never wash. I knit mostly boxy shaped sweaters that come just below my waist. If something turns out a little larger or smaller, it doesn't affect the fit that much. Plus, if I knit a sweater and assembled it, I can't imagine washing it before I would wear it.
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Carolyn
Chatty Knitter

USA
284 Posts

Posted - 04/27/2003 :  3:38:11 PM  Show Profile Send Carolyn a Private Message
quote:

Should you check your guage before or after washing? I would
think before, but not I'm not sure.



To be useful, the gauge must be measured both before and after washing. Then you'll know the gauge with which to knit your garment to end up correctly after washing.

Carolyn

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mbmoody
Gabber Extraordinaire

583 Posts

Posted - 04/28/2003 :  4:14:37 PM  Show Profile Send mbmoody a Private Message
If you read the book Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified, it doesn't tell you to wash your swatch, but it does tell you to expect your sweater to grow by 2 to 3 inches around after washing. It seems like the less a wool is processed prior to knitting, the more potential it has to grow after knitting. And if you've ever read a Rowan pattern written for both their denim yarn and another cotton yarn, you can see the difference in before and after washing measurements. The denim pattern is written to allow for considerable shrinkage.
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achrisvet
Permanent Resident

USA
5986 Posts

Posted - 04/30/2003 :  3:04:51 PM  Show Profile Send achrisvet a Private Message
I wrote earlier that I washed an Aran swatch and it grew by an inch, from 9 to 10 inches wide. I showed it to the guy at my LYS and he suggested I wash it again, but instead of drying it on a towel to dry it on the kitchen counter. I did it and it went back to about 9 inches! Turns out the towel was holding it stretched out. I'm glad because I had already done a lot of calculating based on the 9 inches.

Anita

See my completed projects!
http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?p=999&gid=977585&uid=619962&members=1
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RooKangas
Warming Up

99 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2003 :  12:17:24 AM  Show Profile  Visit RooKangas's Homepage Send RooKangas a Private Message
I just machine washed and dried the second swatch I made for Sitcom Chic (CottonEase). It shrunk 4%. I was hoping it would help me get the right gauge. I was one to two stitches off with size sixes and size sevens and thought washing would split the difference and be right on. No - now I'm getting 19 stitches to 4" washed, instead of the needed 18. The row gauge is way off - I'm getting 24 stitches in 3" instead of 4". With the raglan decreases, this could actually matter, I guess. I usually don't worry about row gauge. Anyone else's experience with this sweater and gauge, washing would be appreciated.

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