Gauge swatch question

I just got some lovely new yarn to make a pillow case with. I am going to do a gauge swatch to determine how many stitches etc…
My question is, once i do the swatch, wet it and dry it, then measure, can I unravel it and use it to start my pillow case?
Could I perhaps just gauge it without wetting it? I don’t want to use up the yarn on the swatch as I might not have enough to finish the project then.


Yes, you can just cast off very loosely so it is easy to undo

It isnt always necassary to block 9the wtting and drying) a swatch, particularly for somthing like a pillow ase where fit and size aren’t uber important. I often do swatches which i don’t block that i don’t cut the yarn for and can then unravel and re-use.

If you do unravel a blocked swatch, you can re-knit with it, but you might find that it has a lot of kinks in it and is difficult to work with without giving it a chance to relax, which can be done in a few ways such as by hanging it straight with a small weight on, wrapping it loosely back into the skein or dampening and drying straight and flat (re-blocking it).

Thanks for your replies. So if my pillow is 14x14", should I aim to make it a little bigger to allow room for possible shrinkage when I wash it? Actually, I think the yarn I have is more prone to stretch, Alpaca Silk Aran, 80% Alpaca, 20% Silk.
What do you think?



I’m guessing you’ll handwash in cold water–if so, it’s been my experience that alpaca tends to “bloom” and get a bit bigger. Since your yarn has so much alpaca in it, I’m guessing it might do that.

The yarn says it can be machine washed, but I think I would just wash it by hand anyway. I read somewhere that silk tends to stretch when washed.
Anyway, I think I will do the gauge swatch without blocking it and make it 14.5 x 14.5.
Does this sound like a good plan, or is there something I do not know that would cause a problem?
Thanks everyone. This is my first time trying to do something other than a scarf!


If that 14.5 is in cm, then I’d say you’re good to go. If in inches, you probably don’t need a swatch quite that big. :slight_smile:

What I meant was I will do a gauge swatch and not block it. Then I will start knitting the pillow and aim to make it 14.5 x 14.5", instead of the pillow size of 14 x 14".
The swatch will be 4 x 4".
Does this sound ok?


That should be fine as long as your gauge swatch supports it. You might just want to wash the swatch though, and see if it shrinks or grows.