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. inches after wet blocking. The yarn cannot be trusted over that weight of fitted fabric. 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). And I love knitting for them, but boy I don’t enjoy the feel of superwash yarns. One good thing, my LYS (Stars Hollow in New Preston, CT) has some superwash that is minimally processed and not coated in plastic. Why do we love them so much? I know my shepherdess and her sheep, and I like buying yarn from her because I like supporting local farmers. When it comes to most sweater knitting I love a non-superwash wool if you/the recipient can handle the feel of it. There’s going to be a follow-up article apparently. I think for those of us who mostly buy online, that’s especially potent — it’s hard to appreciate subtle colors online. You may have seen “Superwash” wool written on the label of a yarn hank and wondered what exactly this distinction meant. As a life long knitter, I’m rather nervous about doing that. I would appreciate it. A long time ago I only knitted with acrylic. I’d like to make them in something soft but wont stretch out. “coat the yarn to smooth it” isn’t fully addressed. It would be great if you would publish an article on how to block/resize superwash. These days, pretty much anything I knit will pill and I have used a great variety of brands including chain yarn. I think the quality of the yarn can make a big difference in the feel and look of a final product. Superwash is a process that makes wool less susceptible to felting when it is washed and dried by machine. She then removes them from the load, reshapes them gently, and lets them air-dry. Pilling is preventable! I contacted my local, much loved woollen mills (Bendigo Woollen Mills ) where I buy a lot of knitting yarn to use in my weaving projects. Because the fibers aren’t hanging on to each other, superwash yarns work best if knit tightly to help give them some of the structure that they are missing. Had NO clue at the time as to why. Merino and those breeds that have a lot of merino in their breeding are my go-to for spinning and yarn buying. I am looking forward to more info on how the “de-scaling” is achieved. However, I knitted a wonderful sweater with Rios and when I blocked it grew like twice the size. Same goes for sweaters. 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. Pilling depends on many factors including the action of the wearer - there is a greater chance of pilling generally if the wearer is more active, or whether the garment during wear constantly comes into contact with other surfaces that tend to cause abrasion, such as sitting for long periods at a desk. However if the garment is likely to be machine-washed (mainly for babies and children with very busy parents), I use a yarn that will stand up reasonably to the process, either Superwash wool, cotton or a mixture like Baby Bamboo. The cable swatch in the photo is knit with bulky yarn, with many plies, at the gauge suggested by the ballband. Oh wow how serendipitous this post was!!!! 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. Without prior knowledge even researching the ‘ingredients’ isn’t easy. I am a knitting newbie…..with a wool allergy. Are there other great fibers that would work for me besides wearing a turtleneck under all my projects? Also, it seems to pill more. Knitted gauge according to pattern, but gauge must have looser than called for by the band! Some types of fabrics are typically made out of shorter wool fibre. Thanks! But choice is useful. Sigh. Anecdotally speaking, I also find superwash yarns to look a little bit shinier than those made of natural wool. Thank you! The longer the staple, the less likely the fiber is to pill. What makes superwash yarns both super and washable is the removal and/or suppression of the tiny scales that cover each individual fiber. It is also easier to dye and does little or no pilling. Specially the hats I don’t wet block because I don’t want them to get huge. Like you, Maureen, I only knit with superwash yarns when making garments for our grands. It seems to be a hot-button issue in the knitting and crafting industry, with many strong opinions about avoiding anything plastic. A compromise for the sake of convenience.”. As with most environmental things, it comes down to personal preference. But that doesn’t necessarily follow! Pictured above are three superwash merino yarns, from the top: Neighborhood Fiber Company Studio Sock (shade: Hampden), Malabrigo Rios (shade: Apple Green), and Fiberstory Core Bulky (shade: Flutter). It squeaks! 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. This yarn comes in 50g / 32m balls. A lot of us are switching over to warm-weather yarns now, many of which are much less prone to pilling that cool-weather favorites such as wool and alpaca. Might you share just what the process is that removes the yarns scales? I’m not a sock knitter but might consider using SW for that. I’m like you — one of the big benefits of learning to knit was being able to wear a sweater that wasn’t nylon, cotton, or acrylic — it’s really limiting when you go shopping. It may be coated, but it still is a protein fiber at heart and retains many of the inherent properties of protein fibers. True, they aren’t as enjoyable in the hand as knitting with an animal fiber, but it’s hardly a struggle. I like them for my grand kiddos garments…but I used a Superwash to knit Marie Greene’s Foxtrot KAL. Since some of the natural structure is missing from the yarn, it’s splitty, less elastic, and it compresses easily. And of course there are many alternatives to wool too. Double whammy! I’ll never use it for a sweater again. ), but at the same time, can affect the ability for those stitches to hold their shape, and – most frustratingly – shows off inconsistency (boo!). So back to the drawing board. But I want to knit another one and I want to be sure that I’ll have the right size. I’m in no way saying that superwash yarns are bad, wrong or anything negative, but they have a feel and behavior very particular to themselves. BUT ... there are problems with superwashing that, depending upon the intended use of the fiber, can outweigh the advantages. This results in a yarn that is generally stretchier than natural wool because the strands slide past, rather than cling to, each other. A fair price but worth it if you can afford them. But, there’s a lot more to consider than just this, so read on to get a lot of info on yarn and its care. Sign up now to receive 10% off your next order in the MDK Shop! Trying to even the stitches out again, has become a nightmare. Ahhh, allergy. Is that a misnomer!!! Gauge: 5.5 sts per inch on US#6 (4mm) or 5 sts per inch on US#7 (4.5mm). Sweaters with superwash are a recipe for disaster and disappointment. But with a bit of a dull knit, variegated thread adds spark. Most of us are knitting with cotton, linen, and silk, or blends of these three fibers. (Alpaca wool is rather straight and slippery. Mechanical? It brings a languid drape to your shawl, like reading and swinging in a hammock on a summer afternoon. Depending on your personal tolerance for plastic, you may decide that superwash wool is not something that you are interested in buying. But there is something so nice about throwing it in wash and dryer. My favorite yarns are both superwash: malabrigo Rios and malabrigo chunky. My next sweater is going to have colorwork and all three skeins are superwash. link to All about Knitting Needle Sizes (Hooray! Just after I let a comment I went to malabrigo site to read about the yarns and I just saw that chunky is not really superwash! It also reduces pilliness. Just my 2 cents worth, but as long as the addition is strong it works for me, ( but you have to remember that I am an improper knitter. Also polymer does not equal plastic. The takeaway: Come for the color and softness, but arm yourself with a little knowledge about how this yarn likes to be knit. haven’t been able to for a long time. There is nothing approaching crisp stitch definition unless it is knit tightly. Sleeves and body lengthened by 4 (!) Thus, there is a trade-off: to retain the drape and texture of a hand-knit garment, you usually must wash the item by hand. I’ve knit all kinds of things out of superwash yarn in a variety of gauges, and the knitting and the resulting fabric are never quite what I expect. Very hot water and excessive agitation may remove some of the superwash coating, which will eventually lead to felting. When I washed and “blocked” I was furious. They say you can put superwash in the dryer(gasp) to get it back to size. And it’s slippery somehow; installing the zipper was a nightmare. It feels dense and squishy. yes, superwash really behaves differently – but even more: not long ago I knit a beanie in some superwash, but I don’t like wearing it anymore because I either sweat or freeze in it. Like the samples in the article above, you may find that the pattern looks baggy, stretched out, or loses the stitch definition in those projects. 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! I’d appreciate a piece clarifying and comparing the environmental costs of non-fuzzy animal choices (superwash, synthetics) and maybe others as well (cotton, bamboo, linen must go through some processing as well). I knit with superwash wool, primarily in the form of sock yarn as gifts for my mom. Basically, wool has something called scales that pop out whenever wool gets wet. What do these yarns look like when used in a crochet? I always put a towel or two in with it. Purchasing is, at a very small level, voting with your money. A wool may or may not note that it's superwash, but if it says it's machine washable, you know that it must be! I made a second sweater “Roger”, but this time a little tighter tension and have not blocked yet. All about Knitting Needle Sizes (Hooray!). Imagine a game of Red Rover where the defending team stands shoulder to shoulder, but doesn’t hold hands. With wool, staple length varies greatly, which is why some wool pills much more than others (another factor is the crimp or straightness of the fiber). The sweater pattern was knit with a merino, alpaca, silk blend. I’m very pleased with the results, but I will only be wearing the cardigan over a shirt. I’ll just have to throw it in the machine and not treat it like he heirloom I was hoping. I also worry about the enviromental impact – though some company’s use “eco methods” (though I don’t know enough about the process to feel confident about it). I was wondering the same… Gonna have to get myself some and find out…. I’m talking less about sock yarns and sock knitting, and more about using superwash yarns for knitting garments or accessories. Loosely spun yarn will pill, regardless of fiber. You live and learn. What is the best option? I usually knit hats and scarves with them. Then I washed it and VOILA it stretched to the pattern! Superwash wool refers to a type of yarn that has been treated to prevent felting and therefore is … I don’t use wool for things I knit for my grandchildren due to allergic-type reactions + the machine-washing issue, but have never used superwash because I’d read about the non-elastic problem and the stretching. After reading this article, I feel like I need to get rid of all my yarn, everything is Superwash! I had to laugh when you said you must ‘cleanse your palate’ with real wool, because I am the same way! This is why I don’t buy loosely spun superwash anymore. Thread did not seem to change the gauge, but supported the weight. I can run a skein of wool across my neck and red blotches/itching begin. Thank you. First, a little bit about wool and the superwash process. The fibres will also be entangled because of curly fibre. When you're knitting something that needs to stretch, you need the right stretchy cast-on to match. A beautiful sweater that was truly warm — without making me sweaty — was pretty elusive. The creation process for superwash wool essentially smoothes out the entire strand of yarn, so at the microscopic level, the strands no longer have their natural stickiness. I haven’t used superwash yarns before, but now I can since I understand what it means….thanks again. 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. When I study a yarn, I look and touch first, then I swatch. You probably got here by searching for “superwash wool,” and along the way, I’m guessing that you encountered many a article or blog post about the evils of superwash wool and its plastic coating. 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. I am not a wool or yarn industry professional, not a chemical engineer, so I can’t speak with great authority about the environmental effects of superwash wool. Superwash treatment is used to prevent wool from felting in the washing machine. The scales on fiber are what help yarns hold together when they are spun and plied. These yarns are much closer to non-SW wool in my experience – bouncier, less dense, feel more wooly. Universal Yarns Deluxe Worsted Superwash Yarn - This amazing 100 percent superwash wool comes in a vast variety of colors and has a soft feel that makes it ideal for hats, sweaters and baby garments! I’m surprised because it grows a lot! I also suggest that you investigate different breeds of sheep and keep experimenting with touching wool. I just finished a gorgeous sweater in Rios and after washing and blocking it is much larger than expected. Looking forward to it! The defensive line is not as structurally sound. Please let us know about them. This tells me not to stray looser than the suggested gauge. I am fading away from the “superwash”. ), link to How to Knit an Actually Stretchy Cast-on, “Electron micrograph of a clean merino wool fibre”, terms are not necessarily interchangeable, a post summarizing her research on superwash. You can often find her on the couch, eating snacks and knitting furiously (in both senses of the word). I use the dryer and find it shapes back up. Nonetheless, what can’t be denied, is that non-superwash wool does not go through this process. There are many wonderful things about superwash merino wool but it wouldn’t be fair to tout its benefits without sharing its drawbacks. The silky fiber and long hairs of alpaca wool limit pilling. ), but the recipients would not appreciate hand was or dry clean gifts. This means that superwash garments can feel little draftier and less insulating. Thank you! The hand is how a knitted fabric feels. Plastic is now believed to be in our water cycle. Thank you! 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. Finishing a couple commissioned blanket and was pondering an Autumn sweater for myself in superwash fingering!!!! I always need to have a good woolly project going at the same time to cleanse my pallet after all the slickness of the superwash. What do you look for if you don’t want yarn to pill? Even if it seems totally smooth, there are still tiny prickly bits that will set me off.). And pill. This yarn does it all from baby blankets, every-day clothes, tough wearing kids' clothes, and also an incredible choice for afghans. Purses, clothing patches, jackets, even pillows. Jillian Moreno spins, knits and weaves just so she can touch all of the fibers. 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. but it is plasticated! Superwash wool refers to a type of yarn that has been treated to prevent felting and therefore is machine-washable. Bamboo also. I also find it a little bit more fragile. Superwash -- superwashing -- is treating wool chemically so that it can be machine washed without fear of shrinkage, like a towel, etc. A highly spun superwash can have lovely crisp stitch definition! There are some wonderful cottons out there, and I’m currently making myself a cotton pullover that I can use to transition into fall. They also work just fine for mitts & hats as long as you pay attention to your gauge. I’m not an expert by any stretch, but I’ve read that there is concern about the large amount of chemicals that are flushed into the waste water during the superwash treatment process. I want to make these great slippers I found on YouTube. What an interesting article! Superwash wool also resists felting in items that are exposed to a fair amount of moisture and movement, like socks. They’re cruelty-free, durable fibres that can certainly withstand a more vigorous washing than natural wool. Still, too soft for my taste…. I’ve seen knitters blame themselves for superwash knitting that goes a little awry, but as I always say: it’s not you; it’s the yarn. Superwash wool often enhances stitch definition (yay! (You can even do a search through them.) The would like to hear about them. 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. But I still prefer good old wool. 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). Shorter staple fibers tend to create a halo around yarn, which is quite beautiful, but encourages pilling … No reaction. Trying to decide if that is a big mistake. My daughter and son-in-law are both too busy to be handwashing garments, but they ALL love it when I knit for them. However, as I mentioned, superwash is a controversial topic in the knitting community. How it’s processed makes a big difference in how the skin reacts to it. Why does wool pilling occur? Yes…more please on what superwashed yarns are treated in the US with healthier chemicals. 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. Felting is a natural but sometimes unwanted property of the wool fiber. Superwash wool was the answer to our desire to machine wash and dry our knits. 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. That is one flat cable. There are some interesting fibers out there made of things like soy and milk. (Many acrylics can pill, too.) I usually knit my scarves a little bit shorter because after blocking it becomes longer. My biggest complaint about the fibers I can use is that they tend not to have much spring in them. This post provides an overview of superwash wool and how to treat it, as well as a few things to consider before purchasing it. It slumps on the body. On the other hand, I don’t think that it is necessary to feel ashamed by your knitting purchases either. Started using super wash wool this past year for baby things and went on to make a crib blanket in it and was generally disappointed. A quick trip through the dryer (warm/permapress setting) in a lingerie bag, but along with other regular laundry, & the Rios snapped back to its originally knitted size. (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.). Have you noticed that superwash yarns are grand and glorious, but they don’t really act the same as non-superwash yarns? That being said, you can’t just toss a pair of superwash wool socks into a very hot, super-aggressive load of laundry and expect things to turn out just fine. I have used two different brands of ‘eco-wash’ superwash wool, which uses a different process for neutralizing the scales on the fiber. Why does knitwear pill? Will heed your advice to not stray from gauge. It's perfect for your favorite shawl pattern. 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. But I don’t like the softness. 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. Here it can also come down to several factors. I knit furiously, meaning that I am a fast and prolific knitter and that I swear loudly every time I drop a stitch. A compromise for the sake of convenience. Here are some helpful tips when washing 220 Superwash®: Is there any “best” way for changing threads (eg Russian join, knot) in superwash? The stuff is just no longer “wool” as you do well describe. I’ve learned to be extra careful wet blocking superwash garments, and I expect them to take a little longer to dry because of the density of the yarn. From curly fibre (for example lambswool) it is easy to create volumous chunky sweaters,but the downside is pilling. Wollmeise feels like cotton to me. Sock yarn makers often blend superwash with a bit of nylon to add even more toughness. Should I use Superwash, wool blend, cotton? It’s the Superwash! FK is a mostly self-taught knitter who has opinions on things. I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks for this but I am disheartened! YES!! One is to strip or dull the scales of a fiber, then fill the irregularities left behind with a polymer to smooth the fiber. Since it's washable, it's great for baby projects!Love 220 Superwash Sport? It’s not even cotton. Superwash is actually more elastic than acrylic. I am terribly allergic to non-superwashed wool. / … 220 Superwash® Yarn is a 100% Superwash Wool, 100g - 220yds per ball. Local customers may select the Pickup option when placing orders online. If the scales can’t lock together, then the knitted item can be tossed into the washing machine with reckless abandon (sort of). More chemical pollution in our water we don’t need, right? Superwash yarns remind me of my neighbor’s cat: beautiful, and when you pet her in exactly the right place she happily purrs. But even with seemingly soft animal fibers I can have problems. And of course knitting means you can frequently recognize them — they stick out from the twist, right? This will come as no surprise, but you can wash superwash wool in the washing machine! Knit it too loosely, & yes, it will stretch. My goodness… I bought Cloudborn superwash yarn and the crochet stitches were tighter than what was projected on the pattern. That’s easy: washability (duh), softness and color. How to avoid those annoying fuzz balls Thank you! Some people told me to knit the small instead of the medium and other people told me to keep the size but decrease the needles. Consider line drying your superwash wool crochet items. So far, I have used superwash because minus scales I seem to be okay. Superwash producers use a chlorinated gas to erode the scales from the fiber strands. Coating the yarn, like putting pomade on your hair, compresses and smoothes the fibers, making the yarn dense and even. 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