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Old 01-10-2009, 03:12 AM   #1
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Afghan Yarn & Care
I'm thinking about knitting an afghan, & have my eye on a few nice alpaca/wool blends, but they aren't machine washable. I know that blankets don't usually need to be washed often, but for those of you who have made blankets/afghans out of handwash only yarn, what do you do to wash your projects? Wash it in the bath tub? & how to dry? I'm worried that hanging or draping over the banister might stretch it too much.
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:40 AM   #2
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I know it's not quite the same but when we have to wash Duvetes, sleeping bags, quilts, ect, we wash them in the bath, then pile them into a landry basket to squeeze out as much excess water as possible, then drape them over the entire washing line (So there is about a metre/3 feet between the two hanging ends), and when damp/touch dry they get draped over an armchair inside to finish drying.
maybe some of that will help.
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:52 AM   #3
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My afghans actually do get lots of washing but I have a kid, dog, and 2 cats. Oh, and a sloppy husband too. For that reason I choose only machine washable yarns. I wouldn't hang an afghan up to dry because it would stretch but I have seen my neighbor spread an afghan out on another blanket to dry in the sun in her back yard. Summertime only of course, but if you don't think it'll need washing too often then it shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:12 AM   #4
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I have an afghan I made of a bulky weight wool yarn that is machine washable so I don't have a problem keeping it clean.
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:42 AM   #5
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In the last year and a half I've made 7 afghans for my family, with two more to go to finish out the roster!

I think when we, as knitters, get caught up in the beauty and textures of yarns we tend to think about how gorgeous a garment or blanket will be when it's made up and forget about the care it will need to keep it looking wonderful over the years.

Afghans are something that should give years of warmth and comfort and beauty, but if you use a yarn that could be easily or accidentally damaged the life-span of your wonderful work can get shortened considerably.

So, when you're planning your afghan, I'd suggest thinking about it in terms of living with it once it's finished. That's where the "art" moves into the "practical" arena. And that's what will make or break the longevity of the piece.

If you're doing wool, then I'd definitely consider a superwash variety. I've used Caron's Simply Soft acrylic to very good effect in several of the ones I've made and the recipients were incredibly happy with the soft feel and easy care of the finished piece.

But whatever you choose, good luck with it and let us know how it's going!

Happy knitting,
In progress - designing, knitting and writing a knitting book, "Design Your Own Gourmet Kitchen Cloths and Accessories".
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Old 01-10-2009, 02:52 PM   #6
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A wool-synthetic blend may be the way to go. I've used both Plymouth Encore and Lion Wool-Ease for afghans that have withstood well years of use and machine washing/drying. I'm sure there are other yarns out there like these that would fill the bill.
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Old 01-10-2009, 02:58 PM   #7
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I too am a fan of plymouth encore and caron's simply soft. Both hold up well (for me, simply soft a little bit better), and I've gotten years and years of use and still no problems. I made a ruana out of simply soft, that I wear virtually every day, and it still looks great after more than 5 years of use and washing/drying.
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