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View Full Version : Do I really have to hand wash?


Shavon
10-21-2006, 04:25 PM
Sigh. I have realized that I have completely and totally fallen in love with merino wool. But so far, the only reason I knit with it is for felted items, because I also absolutely LOVE felting! I love the way merino feels when I knit it, and I love that Patons wool knits so beautifully, doesn't cost a lot, and I can almost always find it on sale somewhere. :teehee:

I'm also in the process of teaching myself how to knit socks (I made it through Amy's entire sock demo on her CD, up until the very end when I tried to do the kitchener stitch and realized my sock was inside out - not sure how that happened :?? ) and I am REALLY wanting to try some cool sock yarn - but it seems most "sock yarns" are made of 75% wool. I'm also wanting to venture out into finally knitting a sweater for myself, after I'm done with all of my holiday knitting. Enter the wool once again. But I know myself all too well - I just cannot see myself making the effort to handwash everything I knit in wool, not matter how much I love the way it feels. (I'm so bad I own very few clothes that need to be ironed! And I have no idea what "dry clean only" means, because if an item says that, I don't buy it. :teehee: ) It is very possible this will change after I've put my blood, sweat, and tears into a sweater, but I just don't want to take the chance to take all of the time to knit a sweater, that I end up not wearing because I don't want to hand wash it!

So I wanted to know is it actually possible to wash items made with "hand wash" wool in a machine, with cold water wash/rinse, on a very gentle cycle, using Woolite? I know hot/warm water shrinks wool, but will cold water in a gentle cycle do this as well? I wanted to ask some knitting experts :notworthy: before I screw up something in my machine. Am I destined to only knit things in Lionbrand Woolease? (which I do LOVE, because it is soooooo soft, but it would nice to branch out). I've never used superwash wool - is this just as soft? Ugh. I guess knitting gets so much more complicated when you start venturing away from acrylic yarn! :rofl:

Old Knitter
10-21-2006, 04:33 PM
I use Baby Ull for socks. It's 100% wool and I wash and dry it. I do knit the socks just a tad bigger than they should be to allow for some shrinkage.

I decided I could do my socks with this yarn after knitting a swatch, washing it and drying it. If you measure it before you wash and dry it you will get an idea what most of them will do. It's also not too bad if it can take the washer, but not the dryer. They dry quickly laid flat.

I don't think I would go to the trouble and expense of knitting a pair of socks and then trying to wash them in the washer....I think the swatch test is prudent as most wools do not like washers, dryers, spins and the like.

Good luck.

Ingrid
10-21-2006, 05:00 PM
Take a look at the superwash merino wools. The best of both worlds.

samm
10-21-2006, 06:58 PM
I don't know about Merino, but I have machine washed lots of sweaters successfully on the most gentle cycle I have, and then laid them to dry on the sweater rack. Cold water and gentle soap and no problem. samm

Stiney
10-21-2006, 08:59 PM
I was going to pipe in with, "Well, I bring everything that says "Hand Wash Only" to the dry cleaners," but you don't do that.

(I can't iron. I have to go to the dry cleaners if I want wrinkle-free work clothes. So I figure why hand wash stuff when I get have it dry cleaned?)

Shavon
10-22-2006, 08:59 AM
And this is another reason why I love my job: I spend my time sitting on the floor with a bag of toys, evaluating toddlers and preschool kids, so my "work clothes" consist mainly of comfortable tops and jeans! I don't know what I'd do with myself if I actually had to wear nice clothes to work. :teehee:

Thanks for the ideas - especially about washing a test swatch. I must admit, I have yet to do a true gauge for any of my work :oops: because up until now I haven't knitted anything that you would wear in which a correct gauge is essential (mainly a bunch of purses, scarves, and afghans), so at least this would get me in the habit of doing a gauge and testing the washability of yarn before I use it.

Anyone have any favorite superwash merino wool they like for socks and/or sweaters?

projectgal
10-22-2006, 09:20 AM
I guess I'm so in the anti-laundry mood that I thought the subject line was about washing your hands. :??

By the way, yes you have to wash your hands.

For the sweater, I think the swatch idea is good start. Sometimes just placing the item in a large lingere bag and the gentle cycle is an easy solution. Then just let the item dry flat.

Yarnlady
10-22-2006, 09:24 AM
To be safe, fill washer with hot water, add soap and agitate for a moment to mix soap in. Put garment(s) in the washer and submerge. Let soak until water is lukewarm. Spin out without agitating. Remove garment(s). Fill washer again, add white vinegar and soak item(s) again. Spin out again without agitating. Lay flat to dry. This will clean wool items without risking fulling.

losnana
10-22-2006, 12:18 PM
As someone who has to wear hose, heels and a suit to work, I'm so very envious!!! Good for you.

kemp
10-22-2006, 04:34 PM
To be safe, fill washer with hot water, add soap and agitate for a moment to mix soap in. Put garment(s) in the washer and submerge. Let soak until water is lukewarm. Spin out without agitating. Fill washer again, add white vinegar and soak item(s) again. Spin out again without agitating. Lay flat to dry. This will clean wool items without risking fulling. I've never heard this tip for wool...good to know! Do you usually have to shape and dry flat afterward?

Yarnlady
10-22-2006, 08:07 PM
Do you usually have to shape and dry flat afterward?
If it's not superwash, then I'd say yes, blocking and drying flat is a very good idea. It also depends on what's being washed and how heavy it is... I've hung wool socks on the line without problems.

Calamintha
10-22-2006, 09:07 PM
Most socks yarns that are labelled sock yarns are superwash so they do not need to be handwashed. Look for yarns that are Superwash. They will not felt or shrink in the wash.

As to whether or not you can get away with machine washing an item that should be handwashed, I think it depends on your machine and the yarn. I have heard some people say they often machine wash handwash items with no problem. However, when I tried it in my front loader I wound up felting the item which I totally didn't expect because front loaders are not supposed to agitate and it is supposedly much harder to felt in a front loader. Well, not in my case and yes I did use the ultra, ultra gentle cycle. Wash a swatch before risking it.