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Old 07-06-2007, 08:24 AM   #1
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Wetting hemp and flax
Does anyone wet-out or wash the yarn before knitting with it?

I'm thinking of doing it with both fibers (two different projects) to make them more pliable and am wondering how effective the effort would be.

Oh, and do the fibers 'bloom' like wool and cotton do? I've never knit with either hemp or flax, so this is new territory for me.
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Old 07-06-2007, 11:49 AM   #2
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Angelia! Outside the blogs.

I've never even seen those yarns much less washed or knitted them. Maybe you could cut off a small piece of each one and wash it to see what happens?

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Old 07-06-2007, 02:18 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jan in CA
Angelia! Outside the blogs.

Meanie! :x

Actually, I venture out quite often

Originally Posted by Jan
I've never even seen those yarns much less washed or knitted them. Maybe you could cut off a small piece of each one and wash it to see what happens?

:thinking: I could try hand-washing a bit of each one, yes...both are machine washable, but after my last experience machine washing what was supposedly machine-washable cotton, I won't be going that route again.

Thanks, Janny!
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Old 07-06-2007, 02:31 PM   #4
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I have knit a swatch with eurflax linen and washed it. It was like twine to knit. After machine wash and dry it was softer but the stitches were still a little uneven. After a second machine wash and dry it was wonderfully soft and silky and pretty. Also shrank.

I did not wet it to knit with but it did help that it was hot out and my hands were a little sweaty! I would be afraid to wash hanks due to possible tangling.
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Old 07-06-2007, 03:07 PM   #5
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I was told at my lys today, that hemp gets softer after washing, nothing about washing before knitting though, so I dont know.
I may have to get some and see how it knits up.

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Old 07-06-2007, 03:19 PM   #6
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I wouldn't agitate the hanks--maybe just soak them in Eucalan or Woolite and then spin them out. (And tie them carefully so that there'd be no chance of tangling.) That or I'd hand-wash them.

If there's going to be shrinkage, though, I think I'd rather the garment shrink than the yarn itself; at least the project would be finished. And the way the current one is knitting up, it's a little too big anyway. I just don't like the twiney feel of the hemp as I knit with it. (It does get a little softer as I work with it, though.)

I have heard that both hemp and flax become deliciously soft after a few washings, which was why I dared buy them. Upon first feel, they feel just like a dry loofah.
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