Check out the rest of the Cascade Yarns 220 Line for even more options!Available online only. Superwash wool often enhances stitch definition (yay! This will come as no surprise, but you can wash superwash wool in the washing machine! Also receive daily new post notifications, It’s Not You, It’s the Yarn: Superwash Edition, how to save this article in your MDK account with one click, Knitter’s Notebook: Warm Hats and Good Friends, Yarn Detective: The Mysterious Phenomenon of the Gauge Shifters, Grist: A Secret Measurement for Substituting Yarn, Yarn Detective: Twist and Knitting Style, Part 2, https://www.pigeonroofstudios.com/from-the-studio/2017/9/5/superwash. It's also sometimes referred to as washable wool. But I still prefer good old wool. As a life long knitter, I’m rather nervous about doing that. When introduced to heat and agitation, such as the movement and hot water in the drum of a washing machine, these scales lock together with neighboring strands, producing a denser, felted material. I would appreciate it. The sweater pattern was knit with a merino, alpaca, silk blend. If the scales can’t lock together, then the knitted item can be tossed into the washing machine with reckless abandon (sort of). A fair price but worth it if you can afford them. For me this shows up most when superwash yarns are wet. Should I use Superwash, wool blend, cotton? “coat the yarn to smooth it” isn’t fully addressed. Maybe you’ve heard that superwash wool is toxic and should be avoided at all costs. If you are looking for a cable that stands at attention, superwash yarns can be a little, um, flaccid. I do not care about washability, but it is more likely to be next to skin soft. I breakout in a lovely rash. Thread did not seem to change the gauge, but supported the weight. What an interesting article! When you're knitting something that needs to stretch, you need the right stretchy cast-on to match. The color of superwash yarn can be concentrated and much brighter than the same color on a non-superwash yarn of the same breed/blend. It is the yarn most indie dyers use. The wind blows right through the fabric although it’s knit really tightly so I get cold. Does not need to be wound off. Consider line drying your superwash wool crochet items. Have you noticed that superwash yarns are grand and glorious, but they don’t really act the same as non-superwash yarns? BUT ... there are problems with superwashing that, depending upon the intended use of the fiber, can outweigh the advantages. I can run a skein of wool across my neck and red blotches/itching begin. Characteristics of wool also vary greatly among breeds. Is that a good combination? Is there a difference between superwash and “real” in how prone to run a bright yarn is? My impression of superwash is that it is really stretchy compared to “regular” wool. Most of the wool comes from China where they process it into superwash using toxic chemicals to remove the scales, and resins/ plastics to coat it. (Alpaca wool is rather straight and slippery. I wear it anyway even if it was more beautiful before. Autocorrected! There are some wonderful cottons out there, and I’m currently making myself a cotton pullover that I can use to transition into fall. If you peruse the sock yarn section of your local yarn store (LYS), you find an array of brilliant, deeply saturated colors. So I began to stabilize the ‘samples’ I made with whatever I had on hand: I added thread for light yarns, usually in an matching color to make it invisible. And it’s slippery somehow; installing the zipper was a nightmare. It seems to be a hot-button issue in the knitting and crafting industry, with many strong opinions about avoiding anything plastic. All about Knitting Needle Sizes (Hooray!). As with most environmental things, it comes down to personal preference. This website (knitfuriously.com) is owned and operated by the Furious Knitter (FK) and is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. My own kids had real wool sweaters that I washed carefully. The structural information all makes sense now. One good thing, my LYS (Stars Hollow in New Preston, CT) has some superwash that is minimally processed and not coated in plastic. In 100% superwash wool and a worsted weight, this yarn is an easy choice for everything from blankets to sweaters to accessories—and with the astounding range of colors, you really can't go wrong. I haven’t been able to find out much about the processes used though. The finished fabric may stretch with gravity and any shaping designed to allow a garment to pull in and hug the body may not be effective. Spirit Trail, which just closed its doors (sob! Author. The purpose of this post was the compile the information I’ve learned from various yarn, fiber, and knitting resources over the past few years. Because more dye makes a deeper color, and altering the scales on the fiber allows for increased absorption of dye. A too-tight cast-on makes even the most beautiful pair of socks unwearable if you can't get it... Hello! Yes, you need to make sure you are picking up the thread as you knit, but it has not seemed a problem. I used Lansinoh religiously when I breastfed my four children. It’s one of the few wool yarns I could wear next to my neck. A long time ago I only knitted with acrylic. What makes superwash yarns both super and washable is the removal and/or suppression of the tiny scales that cover each individual fiber. While it was blocking my cat pulled two very long strands out from the front panel. Asking a superwash yarn to have superior stitch definition is like trying to thread cooked angel hair pasta through the eye of a needle. Truly a machine-wash and machine-dry yarn, the 220 Superwash from Cascade is 220 yards of the softest Peruvian Highland wool for all your washable projects. Yeah, superwash yarn is weird. The would like to hear about them. I use superwash when making things for my granddaughter, because my daughter won’t handwash. Love this environmently friendly wash cloth idea. I knit furiously, meaning that I am a fast and prolific knitter and that I swear loudly every time I drop a stitch. Superwash is a process that makes wool less susceptible to felting when it is washed and dried by machine. The cable swatch in the photo is knit with bulky yarn, with many plies, at the gauge suggested by the ballband. Why does wool pilling occur? I'm the Furious Knitter (FK), and I write KNIT FURIOUSLY to share what I've learned from over 15 years of knitting. Merino and those breeds that have a lot of merino in their breeding are my go-to for spinning and yarn buying. A beautiful sweater that was truly warm — without making me sweaty — was pretty elusive. Also polymer does not equal plastic. Plastic is now believed to be in our water cycle. IMore thought and swatching now imperative thanx!!! First, a little bit about wool and the superwash process. I, like many others who commented, prefer non-superwash outside of sock knitting and gifts for people who won’t hand wash. Great article. Better to be sad when choosing a pattern instead of after putting in all of the expense and time of knitting something you don’t love. Many knitters choose yarns made of superwash wool for projects that will need to be washed frequently, such as a pair of socks or baby clothes. I love malabrigo and I don’t want to stop knitting with it. BTW…can’t get Anny Blatt in Australia any more…. I’m very pleased with the results, but I will only be wearing the cardigan over a shirt. Some of us are, unfortunately, sensitive to the structure of the animal hair itself. Do you have any experience making garments with this yarn? If you’re choosing a pattern on Ravelry, I highly recommend looking through the projects people have made. In this article, I’m going to attempt to outline what superwash woollen yarn is in a factual manner. Her go-to method for balancing ease of use with durability is to wash the superwash socks on the gentle cycle with cold water (and normal detergent). My daughter and son-in-law are both too busy to be handwashing garments, but they ALL love it when I knit for them. Depends on the brand, & the superwash process used, but generally speaking yes, superwash yarns do need to go through a warm dryer. Oh wow how serendipitous this post was!!!! Experienced knitters know that using the right needle size can mean the difference between a well-fitting and overly large sweater. Alpaca is supposed to be hypoallergenic as compared to sheep’s wool as it doesn’t have the lanolin sheep’s wool has. I also seem to have trouble with alpaca. Organic cotton and linen are MY current favorites. I know there’s a lot of debate back and forth on Superwash to begin with, but this completely gives me a different sense of perspective to consider in the future. Superwash treatment is used to prevent wool from felting in the washing machine. Is it soft or rough, stiff or drapey? I am a crocheter. I am going to frog back beyond the pockets and redo shorter, then if it stretches it won’t matter. I use crochet thread sometimes to support heavier yarns. This is why I don’t buy loosely spun superwash anymore. Shorter staple fibers tend to create a halo around yarn, which is quite beautiful, but encourages pilling … Superwash Merino is wool that has been specially treated so that it's machine washable and may be machine dried. Superwash wool yarn is a somewhat controversial yarn for fibre artists. On the other hand, I don’t think that it is necessary to feel ashamed by your knitting purchases either. Case in point, a Better Bucket hat knit for my sister in Malabrigo Rios would have fit a basketball when it came out of a handwash bath in Eucalan. I think the quality of the yarn can make a big difference in the feel and look of a final product. I will research that before buying. Ready to knit from outside of the ball! More chemical pollution in our water we don’t need, right? (Many acrylics can pill, too.) The article further says people shouldn’t argue against superwash b/c that will damage the American wool industry, while acknowledging that perhaps it is not an environmentally friendly process. The process of making superwash wool prevents the wool’s ability to stick to itself and felt together from the agitation and heat of the washing machine. I crochet. My favorite yarns are both superwash: malabrigo Rios and malabrigo chunky. When the yarn hits the water all of my beautiful knitting goes limp like a tired toddler asked to pick up toys (shrieking, optional). No reaction. Finally, because the scales can’t lock together, superwash wool tends to be less effective at trapping warm air. Have you tried yak or camel? I was wondering the same… Gonna have to get myself some and find out…. Sock yarn is almost always a mixture of acrylic for elasticity and superwash wool. There is nothing approaching crisp stitch definition unless it is knit tightly. We use superwashed fiber only in … This yarn comes in 50g / 32m balls. I have learned the hard way, how it can react in a garment if not knit to a tight gauge, but I love it for shawls, accessories, and baby gifts. These harsh chemicals and pollutants are therefore avoided. — and pull them as you knit (as I mention in my other post below). This results in a yarn that is generally stretchier than natural wool because the strands slide past, rather than cling to, each other. Yes…more please on what superwashed yarns are treated in the US with healthier chemicals. I want to make these great slippers I found on YouTube. That cabled swatch is also flat and limp because that particular yarn is not spun tightly. Superwash yarns remind me of my neighbor’s cat: beautiful, and when you pet her in exactly the right place she happily purrs. As someone who suffered with scratchy wool socks & clothing as a child, all in the name of warmth, you can keep the so-called natural stuff for anything but carpets & outerwear that will never come within 5 yards of bare skin. N.B. Though it may have started as this, superwash Merino has taken on a life of its own and is a mainstream fiber these … Raíz by Amores Yarn Studio is dyed just for us in a palette of harmonious contrasts. My local shepherdess ( who is biased ) told me about superwash, and why she doesn’t like it. Care: Machine wash warm, tumble dry. Superwash producers use a chlorinated gas to erode the scales from the fiber strands. The stuff is just no longer “wool” as you do well describe. There are some interesting fibers out there made of things like soy and milk. Coating the yarn, like putting pomade on your hair, compresses and smoothes the fibers, making the yarn dense and even. It is the perfect combination of affordability, quality and versatility that can be used for a wide range of projects. That’s easy: washability (duh), softness and color. Snippets is the Saturday newsletter full of MDK news, specials, and first look at new offerings. And another thing: odors stay in the fabric untill they’re washed – with non-superwash it’s enough to air the garment. Supposedly the manufacturing process is kinder to the environment. Maybe you’ve heard that superwash wool is toxic and should be avoided at all costs. The superwash treatment makes the wool easier to wash, and it also keeps the yarn from expanding or blooming as much as it would in its natural state when wet finished. Thank you for the eye opening article on Superwash yarns! Sign up for our weekly newsletter full of MDK fun, and you'll save 10% on your next order. Superwashed wool I can wear with no problem for the most part. Color is always what always brings me to superwash yarn. She then removes them from the load, reshapes them gently, and lets them air-dry. I can now fully absolve myself from blame for the sagging mess of a hooded vest I made years ago. The takeaway: Come for the color and softness, but arm yourself with a little knowledge about how this yarn likes to be knit. I have to go down a needle size to get the same gauge I get with a similar sized non-superwash yarn that knits to the same gauge. But that doesn’t necessarily follow! Jillian Moreno spins, knits and weaves just so she can touch all of the fibers. A tighter spin, like in the other 2 yarns, makes up for some if the properties that superwash can be lacking in. Remove and smooth the scales, and the fibers have no natural way to grip each other. Fiddling with the scales on the fibers in the superwash process affects how the fiber behaves. While some brands say that they are fine for the washer and dryer, I have found that even superwash yarns tend to felt a bit in the dryer. So colourful! On subsequent washings, for my own superwash sweaters, I've just tossed in the dryer (or, from now on with the one that was not-so-washable-as-I-thought, will lay flat). This article is very informative. And pill. I was loving my Millamia fair isle WIP – so soft! I guess the merino puzzle in my case may be because allergies mean I’m very sensitive to generally itchy fibres (mohair, alpaca with long guard hairs, even my own hair) as well as allergic to specific fibres if I inhale them or they get into my skin. I like them for my grand kiddos garments…but I used a Superwash to knit Marie Greene’s Foxtrot KAL. But with a bit of a dull knit, variegated thread adds spark. The wool is non Superwash. Most of us are knitting with cotton, linen, and silk, or blends of these three fibers. This is such a good article! So far, I have used superwash because minus scales I seem to be okay. With a diverse colour palette to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect colour for your next project! “Superwash wool was the answer to our desire to machine wash and dry our knits. Two questions: How about a guide to the most vivid colors in non-superwash yarns? My only guess is that as a breed merino was isolated a long time ago and is just…different. It’s coated with plastic. I’d like to make them in something soft but wont stretch out. I encourage you to read up about it and make the decision based on your personal preferences. Universal Yarns Deluxe Worsted Superwash Yarn is available now at Jimmy Beans Wool with Free U.S. Flat Rate shipping for orders over $75, $5 U.S. Flat Rate shipping on all other orders! It stretched beyond belief. I use superwash for socks and I will use it on every once in a while on shawls/mitts/hats (for the ability to wash and dry more easily), but for the most part I avoid it. Plastic washes out of fabrics right into our waste water that we will eventually drink. Eco-Concerns About Superwash Wool. How it’s processed makes a big difference in how the skin reacts to it. If you prefer natural wool, you will have to wash it by hand, cold and dry it flat ... which is in any case advised with all wool … I know my shepherdess and her sheep, and I like buying yarn from her because I like supporting local farmers. Sweaters with superwash are a recipe for disaster and disappointment. I also suggest that you investigate different breeds of sheep and keep experimenting with touching wool. Shorter fibres have the tendency to create pills. / … Is that a misnomer!!! the wool itself does not come from China, but because of the rules of international trade its country of origin is listed as China if it has been spun, dyed, or superwash treated there. For each ball of the original yarn you will need 2.5 balls of this. Some types of fabrics are typically made out of shorter wool fibre. I now need a secluded cat free area for blocking!! Here 8n Australia you can buy merino undergarments. Then I washed it and VOILA it stretched to the pattern! Question: why does some yarn pill and others don’t? ), but at the same time, can affect the ability for those stitches to hold their shape, and – most frustratingly – shows off inconsistency (boo!). Oh, what a enlightening article! Ahhh, allergy. Superwash yarn feels delightful; it’s smooth and supple. I’m not sure if wearing it next to my bare back/stomach would cause a flare up. But I don’t like the softness. Having tested allergic to everything with fur or feathers, wool and hair included, I can nonetheless wear high quality merino next to my skin. I avoid Superwash if I’m knitting for myself or for somebody that I know I can trust to hand wash. I’d much rather use some lovely Shetland, Blue Face Leicester or alpaca yarn that mellows with age. I am looking forward to more info on how the “de-scaling” is achieved. Superwash yarn is extra smooth, and the color is so intense that it looks like a cartoon idea of yarn. Heritage Silk has a lovely drape and subtle sheen throughout the yarn at 437 yards, this yarn is great for lace shawls of all sizes. I am sure some of you out there have chemistry backgrounds and can share suggestions that would make reading yarn labels easier. However, I also am glad to have learned about the superwash process so that I can decide to purchase it for a specific reason. 220 Superwash® Yarn is a 100% Superwash Wool, 100g - 220yds per ball. Knit a Norwegian sweater for son 2 years ago. But I want to knit another one and I want to be sure that I’ll have the right size. I typically block superwash like I would anything else, the first time, so it looks really nice for gifting and pictures. Cascade 220 knitting yarn is now available in Superwash! Oh it’s funny! Garments made with alpaca wool eventually will show some pilling, especially where there is a lot of friction, like underneath the armpits. Thanks! It may be coated, but it still is a protein fiber at heart and retains many of the inherent properties of protein fibers. I hesitate to make a blanket statement about the itchiness of superwash wool because much of the texture is determined by the diameter of the fiber, measured in microns. Superwash wool was the answer to our desire to machine wash and dry our knits. The process of making superwash wool prevents the scales from locking together, either by removing them entirely or coating the entire strand in a polymer. They’re cruelty-free, durable fibres that can certainly withstand a more vigorous washing than natural wool. haven’t been able to for a long time. Trying to decide if that is a big mistake. I have heard recently that some people in the U.S. are making it using less toxic methods. Finishing a couple commissioned blanket and was pondering an Autumn sweater for myself in superwash fingering!!!! Do I lie in bed at night feeling guilty about this? They say you can put superwash in the dryer(gasp) to get it back to size. The silky fiber and long hairs of alpaca wool limit pilling. You can often find her on the couch, eating snacks and knitting furiously (in both senses of the word). Most knitters who are not allergic or sensitive to wool love using that natural fiber for warmth, springiness, and great wearing in garments. Can you elucidate? Superwash yarns (mainly merino, but other superwash yarns, too) have properties that make a knitted fabric that is a little different from their non-superwash sisters. When I washed and “blocked” I was furious. They tend to be very silky and lovely to wear, although my experience was that they will pill. That is one flat cable. (Ashley from the Woolful podcast wrote a post summarizing her research on superwash, including finding the patent for Hercosett 126, which dates from the 1950s.). Felting is a natural but sometimes unwanted property of the wool fiber. To further reduce the “stickiness” of the fiber, the strands are sealed with a polymer or resin called Hercosett 125. The people who try to tell you merino wool is super soft are probably the same ones who tell you so-and-so veggie burger tastes exactly like real beef. My guess is that I am irritated by the wider end of the hair shaft, possibly because it was cut rather than having a tapered end like the other side. The most common way to create a superwash yarn is to remove the scales and then coat the yarn to smooth it (more about this process in an upcoming post). Available online only. It would be interesting to include discussion of the chemical process used when creating superwash yarns. As one who uses superwash for a lot of gifts, I have knitted a lot of samples (my word for swatch) to look at the colors and patterns. The colour, lovely in the skein, just doesn’t satisfy me knitted up. Instead I have a stash of polyester/acrylic that I use for hats and mittens etc for the family. I first heard about superwash wool in the knit.fm podcast. Superwash is actually more elastic than acrylic. So back to the drawing board. Sleeves and body lengthened by 4 (!) Now I know not to block like I would other yarn. Purses, clothing patches, jackets, even pillows. Each strand of wool is covered in microscopic “scales”. Let’s push the American wool industry to support less toxic and more environmentally responsible s/w processes and, in the meantime, let’s continue to raise awareness of what the s/w process is and why it needs to change. I use it for gifts because even those who know better sometimes pitch a scarf or hat into the wash without thinking, although I did knit myself a sweater from superwash because, YES, the COLOR! There are two ways most commonly used to make a superwash yarn. It is jamieson and smith for me all the way now . I’ll just have to throw it in the machine and not treat it like he heirloom I was hoping. Sigh. Isn’t there a test you can do with yarn samples that will identify plastic coatings on yarn, a burn test? For the most part I have never had family or friends who knit (online has been an all time bonus!
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