Stretching a swatch?

First post ever – so glad to find this forum! I live in Tokyo and am learning to knit to make sweaters and scarves for my 2-year-old and me.

As a massive beginner (only simple scarves so far), I’m about to try a very simple pullover sweater. Yesterday I showed my garter stitch swatch to my mother-in-law, a most experienced knitter who proceeded (without asking) to yank and pull it in all directions. Hard.

She said, you need to do that to see how much the yarn will stretch. Is that generally the case? None of my knitting books or magazines said to do that.

Also, a friend who knits told me to wash the swatches to see how much the yarn would shrink. Washing did appear to shrink my swatches (stockinette and garter both) by about 1.5 stitches each.

So long question short – should I stretch swatches? Should I wash them? Thanks so much for all your help!

i haven’t heard of the super-stretch method… then again, i’m still new at a lot of this. but i thought you might find this article from knitty.com useful: http://knitty.com/ISSUEspring03/FEATswatchout.html because it talks about why to do a swatch, how to wash a swatch, measure a swatch etc. it’s especially important as you move from basic garments to clothing that needs to fit specific measurements. - X :wink:

and also, welcome to KH! :wink:
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