I thought I might make a summer t-shirt type top for myself so found a cone of off white cotton in my stash and proceeded to make some swatches. I knit the first 2 swatches on tension 6 with this thin, slubby cotton and washed and dried the swatches in the machine to see how much the cotton would shrink. I was pleased with the feel of the fabric after that treatment, but I was surprised to see how much both the plain stockinette and the one with the tuck stitches biased -as you can see in the photo.
That would never work to make a garment! I knew some natural fibers want to bias depending on how they are wound. So, I made a swatch with 1 by 1 rib in tension 4, because I had read that making both purl and knit stitches in the row makes a yarn that wants to bias into one that is workable. It did indeed fix the bias problem – as per the second photo.
I now had a workable swatch. I am not one that knits with a lot of cotton, but this was an exciting discovery for me to find a solution. Swatching seems like a time-consuming pain, but there is absolutely no substitute to find out how your yarn is going to respond before you put a lot of work into making something. Now… onto knitting! 😊