Swatching with VERY limited resources

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Top 75 Contributor
Posts 75
on Mar 30, 2013 4:04 PM

I've been given what every knitter probably dreams of - a gift of luxury yarn! Big Smile  Awesome!!

There is just enough yarn to make a small item, so I am wondering what to do about the mandatory swatch leg of the challenge. I would like to experiment with different stitch patterns, but HOW on earth am I going to get even a tiny sample out of this yarn and still have enough to do my project??

I know that some knitters rip out samples to finish off their projects if necessary, but here are my concerns with this:

  1. Ripping out a sample is even worse that ripping out final work. I don't know about you, but I'm impatient. I don't want to do samples in the first place, so why the heck rip it out once I've actually gotten around to making it? That just means that I'll only end up having to make another one in the future. (Assuming that I get my hands on any more of this crazy delicious yarn Sad  .)
  2. I imagine that some yarns are affected more by blocking than others - would it not be odd to rejoin already blocked yarn into an unblocked project? I'm just theorising, but I'm picturing a t-shirt with one sleeve forevermore softer that the other.

What do you guys do when you have a small amount of yarn (especially luxury) and there is not enough for a sample?

I really appreciate any help!

Top 25 Contributor
Posts 407
Merlich wrote
on Mar 30, 2013 5:51 PM

Hi Alexandra,

I think if you have that problem it would be worst to have a finished garment with that "crazy delicious yarn" that won't suit you because you didn't want to sacrifice a little to do your swatch and be sure about your tension. Of course, once you block the yarn it changes in lenght and width. Don't rip out blocked swatches. The results will be different as in a non blocked yarn. I know it is a hard decision, but there are occasions we have to. I also have two ridiculuos ideas: (1) You can buy a skein of the same yarn. It won't be that expensive. Or, (2) Ask someone you trust, if she has ever knitted with the same yarn to give you some suggestions about the needles she will recommend you to use. That way you will skip the swatch thing. But, I really suggest you to do your own swatch. Swatches are always different even if you knit the same yarn in different colours. I learnt it in a bad way. I thought it wouldn't mind but it did.

At the end, it is your decision. Wait for more suggestions. Maybe somebody else can give you a better advise. Or, if you post the characteristics of your yarn the ladies who have already knitted with that same yarn can direct you better.

Wish you luck!


Patience, persistence and love are the main ingredients for wonderful knittings.

Top 75 Contributor
Posts 75
on Apr 1, 2013 9:50 AM

Hi Merlich, Thanks so much for your response. I know exactly what you mean about making a garment without a sample - back when I was a beginner I refused to make samples, and ended up with a waistcoat six sizes too big!! With that occurrence, I learned my lesson long ago. So believe me, I am really experienced enough to know the importance of swatching!!

What I'm really trying to get across is that I am in a real catch 22 - I know that I cannot make a garment without a sample, as this would just be stupid, especially since I have not worked with this yarn before. But if I do make a sample, I won't have enough for the garment... Which means that no matter what I do, I won't really benefit. Sad {note: just in case any well-meaning person wants to suggest just making a scarf or pillowcase... please don't... I'm already sad enough.}

In response to your idea number (1) Merlich - unfortunately, yes it will be expensive to get more of this yarn! It is not available where I live, so the added cost of expensive yarn + shipping costs would make this a purchase that borders on insane... That's why it's luxury yarn, that's why I got it as a gift, and that's why I've asked this question.

I'm going to do as you've suggested - wait for more responses, and see if there are any knitting fairies out there with a magical solution, ha ha.

If it makes any difference to this discussion, the yarn content is 53% cotton and 47% linen. I've done a lot of research on knitting with linen, and this has convinced me more than ever that I simply cannot get away with not making a sample.

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