Swatching & Washing Kraemer Yarns

Swatching & Washing Kraemer Yarns

Swatching is important to understand how the yarn will act when knit by you, with your needles and in your knitting style. It is the best way to understand the gauge you are getting so that your finished project will be the size you expect. Washing and blocking can change your gauge, so it’s important to treat your swatch as you plan to treat your finished garment. This blog will show you how!

We’ve knit swatches of three of our yarns: Naturally Nazareth, our 100% wool, in Moonlight, Perfection Worsted, our wool-acrylic blend, in Alligator, and Tatamy DK, our cotton-acrylic blend in Cherry. A quick one inch bit of knitting is not good enough to be accurate! You need at least a 4-inch square as this avoids edge distortions and for you to relax into the knitting process. Also resist the temptation to measure before your swatch is bound-off. In progress swatches won’t be accurate! If you’re concerned that you need to be conservative with your yardage, know that you can always unravel the swatch later if you need it! We knit each swatch with the recommended needle on the label. 

After you’ve knit your swatch, you’ll want to give it a bath. This step helps relax the stitches, removes dirt or oils your hands may have gotten on to the yarn, and evens everything out. Follow the directions on the yarn label and consider how you will wash the final garment. We soaked three swatches with Eucalan. The other three swatches were run through the washer and dryer. 

Our preferred method is to soak a swatch for 15 minutes in warm water with a little bit of wool wash, then lay flat to dry, as shown on the left. Do not stretch or pull at the swatch! The swatches that took a ride through the washer and dryer emerge curled up, as is the nature of stockinette stitch fabric. 

We used blocking pins to help the curled swatches lay flat and used a wooden ruler to measure the number of stitches and rows in four inches. 



Gauge on Label

Needle Used

Handwashed Gauge

Machine Washed Gauge

Naturally Nazareth

20 stitches = 4”

US 8

18.5 stitches and 23 rows = 4”

18 stitches and 27 rows = 4”

Perfection Worsted

20 stitches = 4”

US 8

18 stitches and 23 rows = 4”

18 stitches and 23 rows = 4”

Tatamy DK

22 stitches = 4”

US 5

23 stitches and 30 rows = 4”

23 stitches and 30 rows = 4”

Our knitter’s swatches are different from the yarn label, and are likely to be different from your swatche as well. Multiple knitters do not knit exactly the same and the individual differences result in different gauges. Knowing how the yarn works up when you use it is what is important! If the same knitter were to knit these swatches again in a few months, it is possible their gauge would be different, given how tense or relaxed they are when knitting.

We are proud to see that this knitter achieved the same gauge for their hand washed and machine washed swatch with the Perfection and Tatamy! Garments and accessories made in these yarns are easy-care and you don’t have to worry about accidentally shrinking something you’ve worked so hard on. We are not surprised at the difference in gauge with Naturally Nazareth - 100% wool will shrink when machine washed and dried. 

Keep in mind what you want to knit, how you will care for it, and if you like the fabric that is created. Knowing your gauge with these factors will help you select the correct size for your garment. Taking the time to work a swatch will help you understand if the Kraemer Yarn you want to use will be an appropriate alternative to the yarn called for in the pattern. 

Your future self will thank you for taking the time now to learn all you can about the fabric you’ll create. Let us know how your swatches turn out!


Beth Aidala

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