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Old 08-10-2013, 02:25 PM   #1
ArtLady1981
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FYI: look at the dirt!
I finished up the Mara Shawl for my daughter about a month ago. Just got around to blocking it. I dread blocking Malabrigo because it stretches sooo much when it's been fully soaked. You can coax it back to original shape more easily if you've laid it down on the blocking table BEFORE soaking, and put pins all around the outside edges. Then you can lay the wet, stretched-out piece back inside those pins, and coax it back. It takes FOREVER, and don't do it until you're feeling very relaxed and comfortable. Not a really hot day, not when your back is hurting. You gotta bring your A-Game to the table!

But there is no other option besides fully soaking and rinsing for Malabrigo. Here's why!

Here she is, lazing around in her bath water for 10 minutes:


And here is her "bath water" after she was soaked and squeezed for just a while:


Here she is, lazing around in her rinse water. Doesn't she already look brighter?


And honestly, a little more dirt was removed during the rinse phase! Look!
Even more dirt in the rinse water:


And here she is, reshaped and drying in the medium summer heat in my house!


Mara Shawl (free pattern)
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Old 08-10-2013, 03:12 PM   #2
Jan in CA
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Wow! That's amazing! Lovely shawl!
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Old 08-10-2013, 03:25 PM   #3
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Thanks Jan! Yeah, I aleady knew this about natural, undyed Malabrigo Merino! I've used it in the past, and got the same filthy "bath water"! I read it's important to remove this dirt because it can grind on your yarn fibers, and it makes the yarn pill even quicker than normal. It is hard on the fibers, too, is what I read.

The normal kettle-dye process for colored Malabrigo removes a lot of that dirt. But the natural/undyed cream doesn't get that second plunge!

I've read some Ravelry notes that even their colored Malabrigo has hidden dirt that came out in the "bath"...along with dye of course. But they could still see that there was 'dirt' too!

So maybe Malabrigo Merino yarn is especially dirty. Maybe the Malabrigo folks don't want to unnessarily 'handle' the yarn more than absolutely necessary. It is very delicate, and it's a single ply, too. If you squeeze it too vigorously in the bath water, it will tend to start to felt! You have to be very very gentle with it.
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Old 08-10-2013, 04:42 PM   #4
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I absolutely love the colors and look of Malabrigo. Unfortunately I can't wear it. My skin is just too sensitive to wool.
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Old 08-10-2013, 04:48 PM   #5
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Ah that's too bad. I remember you saying that a while back.

My daughter is allergic to some if not most animal fibers. But not 100% wool.
She can wear Noro Kuryeon, but not Noro Silk Garden due to the kid mohair content.
I have to read my labels when I select a yarn for her.

I use 100% wool for her, or silk, or vegetable-source yarns.
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Old 08-10-2013, 04:49 PM   #6
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Beautiful result! The shawl is simple and elegant, and will make a wonderful gift.
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Old 08-10-2013, 04:50 PM   #7
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Wow! I can see why you needed to wash it. I have used Malabrigo only once. I used an indigo blue color, so I couldn't really distinguish what was dirt and what was dye when I washed it. BTW, I really like the shawl. I think the natural wool works very nicely with the pattern. What about the drape? Did the size nine needles create a nice drape? I used a size 8 on mine, but I think I might go up to size 9 on the next one.
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Old 08-10-2013, 05:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dturner View Post
Wow! I can see why you needed to wash it. I have used Malabrigo only once. I used an indigo blue color, so I couldn't really distinguish what was dirt and what was dye when I washed it. BTW, I really like the shawl. I think the natural wool works very nicely with the pattern. What about the drape? Did the size nine needles create a nice drape? I used a size 8 on mine, but I think I might go up to size 9 on the next one.
Yes, the US 9 created a far better drape! But I'd suggest using the largest needle possible. Swatch first. Get a nice drape without it being holey or lopsided looking garter stitches.

However, I can't claim credit for the idea of using the 9. I read up on all the other Mara Shawls over at Ravelry. If you click Projects under the Mara Shawl, then click YARN IDEAS....well, I spotted several Malabrigo Merino knitters. One of them generously included helpful notes. She mentioned that she started out with a smaller before, but frogged the entire thing at some point and started over with the US9 for better drape.

So I followed her lead!

I'm knitting a black Mara Shawl right now, using Ella Rae's "Latte" yarn. It looks and feels almost like Malabrigo Merino, but it is heavier. Prolly heavy worsted. Anyway, I'm using a US 10.5 for it! It's creating fabulous stitches, wonderful drape. Plus, I'm sailing through it. It won't take as long to reach that 46" width goal! Yay for that!

The black Mara is for me. I'd have kept the cream Mara if my daughter didn't like it. But she LOVES IT.

Ella Rae Latte is 30% alpaca, 30% milk, 40% microfiber (whatever that is). It's a real soft single ply, so it pills if you even look at it wrong. Good yarn for a shawl rather than a cardigan, which is what I originally bought it for.
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Old 08-10-2013, 05:28 PM   #9
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I'm in awe of your knitting skills and knowledge. The shawl is beautiful!
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Old 08-10-2013, 05:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by salmonmac View Post
Beautiful result! The shawl is simple and elegant, and will make a wonderful gift.
Thanks! My daughter tried it on yesterday. She WANTED IT RIGHT NOW! Her church has air conditioning set to Arctic range, and she freezes. A coat isn't called for in spring-summer....soooo the shawl will be gracing her shoulders this coming Sunday! She also said come wintertime, she'll take it along to place casually over her knees. In our religion, all the women wear dresses or skirts to church. The men wear suits and ties. The thermostat is controlled by "The Suits".

That's what I'm knitting my black Mara for. I've been using my Japanese Feather stole for a chill chaser....all year round. Now I'll have a nice change!
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