Untreated wool is susceptible to felting. Despite its fineness, merino wool is strong and resilient. Some reasons have to do with the process itself, some with its side and after effects. A great idea for a blog post? Felting happens when the scales on wool fibers open up, grab onto each other, and are then permanently locked in place in this new configuration. For these reasons, wool is often exported overseas to countries with less strict environmental regulations. Some wools have coatings to keep it from stretching as well. It’s also worth noting that merino, like all wools, takes ages to dry, stretches out, is ‘warmer when wet’ when compared to cotton, rather than being truly warm, and wears out quickly, which is why it’s so often blended with synthetics. It takes water to make wool stretch out some except when it is placed in your washing machine and the wrong water temperature is used. ), but at the same time, can affect the ability for those stitches to hold their shape, and – most frustratingly – shows off inconsistency (boo!). Superwash wool refers to a type of yarn that has been treated to prevent felting and therefore is machine-washable. Yes, it is possible to stretch wool pants. To avoid stretching wool, dry flat by laying some towels onto the floor and placing the clothing on top. Dense weaves do not have that much stretch in them so do not expect to gain a lot by using any of the stretching methods. Those items will shrink the felt. Superwash yarn has a lot of benefits: it takes dye better so is usually more vibrant than non-superwash yarn and we can wash it without too much worry about it felting/shrinking. Once the soaking time is over, squeeze the excess water out of the pants and hang the pants in a pants hanger by the hem. Make sure to pull evenly so you do not have mismatched socks to wear. A lot will depend on how the wool was woven and if it was one-ply or 2 ply. As you can see, it’s really not that difficult to know how to wash wool in order to keep it fresh and clean. To get the steps for stretching these pants just read the next section. High carbon footprint from back-and-forth shipping That is okay as boiled wool has been pre-shrunk so you may not see a lot of need to stretch the wool. (Hats, Socks, Blankets). Although greenhouse gas emissions of transportation is estimated to be a fraction of that of fiber processing, all of this back-and-forth shipping of wool increases the carbon footprint of the final product. A tightly-woven wool jacket can usually be made a size larger by blocking. The wool material should stretch out and fit your head size with no problems. Second, fill the tea kettle with water and bring it to a boil. Superwash -- superwashing -- is treating wool chemically so that it can be machine washed without fear of shrinkage, like a towel, etc. Convenience does not come without its costs… The good news is, many hand … I'm the world's laziest hand washer and will chuck just about anything in the washing machine. Mechanism of felting shrinkage of wool (Hassan & Carr 2019), There are two ways to prevent felting from happening. Wool is not stretchy like nylon, spandex, or some polyester fabrics or even some elastics. It is all about personal preference, and as a service to our customers, we list here all yarns which are appropriate for knitting garments and do not contain any superwash fibers. ©2007–2020 talvi knits. Proper care will keep the wool clothing item in its original shape and size for many years. A lot will depend on how the wool was woven and the quality of the fabric. Of course, they may not shrink a lot either so you should be okay. In the past few months I've begun thinking about the sustainability of the so-called luxury yarns. Elasticity . Superwash wool was the answer to our desire to machine wash and dry our knits. Does wool shrink in the wash? A lot will depend on how the wool was made. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. Use a sink to hold warm water and about a dime-sized worth of conditioner. How often do you need to wash shawls, for example? This is going to be a bit of trial and error issue as your geographical location may play a little role in how much wool changes. But that is not the end of the world. So the less time it spends hanging, the less opportunity it has to stretch. Acrylic vs Wool: 11 Differences Between Acrylic And Wool, Can You Microwave Fabric? Silk, for instance, does not full the same way that Merino or Alpaca does. Knotions Magazine. Then while still damp, use your hands to stretch the socks to the size you want. But the material may not stretch as much as you would want especially during the holiday season. Fill a sink or tub, large enough to hold the pants while they soak, with cool water and add a little Woolite or other wool cleaning product and a cap full will do. All non-superwash yarns do not do this. It is hard to say as different weaves stretch at different rates. You will need enough steam for many minutes so make sure you actually fill the kettle. Some wool material will stretch a little more than others. The best thing to do is make sure you get them to fit comfortably when you buy them and as someone once said, wool only shrinks when you gain weight. Do not rinse or squeeze the water out of the sweater. Due to the coating and/or removal of scales, superwash wool can feel smoother or softer than other yarns. Lay the superwash wool item on the towel. Flip the sweater over to make sure it dries completely. Wool is the type of material that when you put them on in the store, that will be their size for years to come even after a lot of washing cycles. The next two weeks I'm delving deeper into superwash yarns: what are they, how are they produced, what's the environmental impact of superwash treatments and, more importantly, are there sustainable alternatives? Woven wool is more stable and does not stretch out when you wear it except for a little natural built-in flexibility. Investigate how much extra width and/or length can be added to a garment, by stretching it while blocking, without ruining the look of it. Knit it too loosely, & yes, it will stretch. Fabric Burn Test Chart. It’s covered in plastic Using steam is the best way to stretch a hat. Wool is a good material that really keeps you warm in the winter. One word of warning, do not use a hairdryer or a clothes dryer to try and stretch the hat. Just make sure they submerge and stay that way. •Long, fine fibres (particularly those in merino wool) are soft next to the skin. Got a question for me? It explores this topic so you know the right answers to the wool stretching questions It will only take a few minutes to get those answers. •Wool does not absorb oils or perspiration, so it won't host odour-producing bacteria, making it naturally odour resistant. I'm almost done making a scarf with my first ever superwash (100% merino, Frabjous Fibers March Hare worsted) and I'm not finding any conclusive information. Eco-Concerns About Superwash Wool. Not only are these toxins lethal to humans even in tiny concentrations, there is so much of these chlorinated chemicals in the water that the use of the Hercosett process is restricted in developed countries. BUT ... there are problems with superwashing that, depending upon the intended use of the fiber, can outweigh the advantages. Ready to knit from outside of the ball! A little stretch is always needed when you are in need. Step 2: mix 3 gallons of cool water with 3 to 4 tbsp of baby shampoo and stir till you see enough soap appearing. That is the general rule and of course, as we all know, there may be exceptions to that rule. A worsted wool material may not stretch at all as its fibers are very close together. Warm moist heat does cause the hat to shrink a little. #4. Some stretching will occur under heavy use but not light use. The surface of wool fibers are covered in tiny scales. But does everything have to be machine-washable? When researchers, wool experts or producers test the quality of the wool, they look into two aspects of elasticity: when dry and when wet. You can use a full-sized pair of socks as a model to get the right size for the shrunken pair. A worsted wool material may not stretch at all as its fibers are very close together. The industry standard for superwash treatment, called the, The harsh truth about superwash yarn is that the widely-used industry standard for superwash treatment is, 75% of all superwash wool is produced using this method, creates toxins that end up in the waste water, toxins lethal to humans even in tiny concentrations, use of the Hercosett process is restricted in developed countries, greenhouse gas emissions of transportation is estimated to be a fraction of that of fiber processing, outsourced emissions also distort calculations to see if global efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are actually paying off, an entire river in China has been turned red, what these alternatives are and where you can find them. Follow the crease so they retain their original shape. Then write that figure down. What is Superwash? Spread a large towel over a surface into which you can stick pins, such as a bed, ironing board or carpet. It keeps you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. Here are some helpful tips when washing 220 Superwash®: Superwash wool is designed to be machine washable and dryable, making it great … Felting happens when the scales on wool fibers open up, grab onto each other, and are then permanently locked in place in this new configuration. Then there are those that say cavalry wool is the style that stretches the most. 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. Everyone’s experience is probably going to be different here because wool does come in different weaves, knits, and qualities. If it does have any it is very little. Mechanism of felting shrinkage of wool (Hassan & Carr 2019) There are two ways to prevent felting from happening. In general, wet wool has more elasticity than dry wool. Hang by the hem. To wash wool without shrinking you need to keep the washing machine water to cool or just barely warm. The more dense the wool, the less it will stretch, but all wool can be manipulated to some degree. Most animal fibers have scales along their length and when washed in a washing machine, the heat, agitation and rapid cooling at the rinse stage combine to give ideal conditions for the scales to interlock, causing the fabric to felt irreversibly. Another potential problem with superwash wool is that the finished project can stretch quite a lot when you wash it. The harsh truth about superwash yarn is that the widely-used industry standard for superwash treatment is NOT eco-friendly nor sustainable. This can be a pail, sink, or bathtub, etc. A water and conditioner method will help you stretch boiled wool out and back to its original size if you experience any shrinkage. Just work with care and do not go too far too fast or you may not get even results. Many times I've said that shiny superwash merino singles are my favorite yarn to work with. The key will be in how dense the wool fibers are. If you are having trouble getting your wool felt hat to stretch, there is a reason for that. Fabrics do react differently with the different types of water, soft or hard, as well as the different humidity levels, dry or moist. It is, however also because the fibre absorbs water and dye much more quickly than wool in it’s natural state. » Does Wool Stretch? N.B. When the scales are gone, there's nothing to hold the fiber to itself. — you already know where this is headed. Does wool stretch? Does not need to be wound off. 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. The process is similar to stretching a sweater so it is not that complicated to do. . Here is an example of Universal yarn’s Deluxe DK Superwash wool yarn. The coating step is no better: the raw materials used in the production of the polymer resin that the wool is coated with are also highly toxic. At what point does something that has been so drastically processed, losing many of it’s … 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. Felting is a natural but sometimes unwanted property of the wool fiber. :: firstname.lastname@example.org :: Privacy :: Code of Conduct. Before they are dry, try the pants on and if they are still a little tight around the waist, let the seam out a little to accommodate your size. I typically block superwash like I would anything else, the first time, so it looks really nice for gifting and pictures. Be gentle but firm. The Hercosett treatment uses hazardous chemicals in both the de-scaling and coating steps of the process. If the wool hat in that question is actually a wool cap, then the cap material will stretch to fit your head. In my experience, hand knitted or crocheted items tend to stretch a bit when wet (or after a lot of wear) as gravity has its effect, unless the wool is washed roughly or in too warm water, when it will felt. Monitoring that environmental regulations are upheld is difficult To remove the scales, wool fiber is exposed to chlorine that basically eats away the scales so that they can no longer grab onto each other. Heat, moisture, and friction cause these scales to open up like pine cones. To learn all about wool and if it stretches or not, just continue to read our article. Does luxury have to mean environmentally harmful? But as long as you keep the growth potential in mind when planning your project and … These so-called outsourced emissions also distort calculations to see if global efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are actually paying off. #3. In this article, I’m going to attempt to outline what superwash woollen yarn is in a factual manner. If you own a loose weave sweater or jacket, you may be able to gains several sizes when using the blocking method. Allow the hat to dry only after it fits on your head. The key to being successful at this is to avoid using hot or warm water. But if you do not wash it properly or expose the wool to high temperatures, you may see more shrinkage even though it has been pre-shrunk. The process is quite simple and will be explained in the next section. There are two ways to prevent felting from happening. Though it may have started as this, superwash Merino has taken on a life of its own and is a mainstream fiber these days, regardless of the buyer’s laundering preferences. The latter ply does not really stretch but holds its shape very well. Is Superwash Yarn Environmentally Sustainable? Cotton and Polyester? •Wool doesn't cling to skin, and won't pick up dirt particles as easily as other fabrics. When under the tension of the loom this can cause the yarn size to be distorted or stretch to appear much finer than it is when it is not under tension. This is partly due to the demand from their customers and friends. It can handle moisture. Consider line drying your superwash wool crochet items. My question is this: Does superwash wool "bloom" in the way that standard wool does? Or a knitting tutorial you'd love to see? Superwash Yarn. Some wools have coatings to keep it from stretching as well. If you've ever felted anything — on purpose or by accident! Shipping the wool to be processed overseas has other problems as well. Best Fabric For Tie-Dye (Top 9), Is Acrylic Warm Enough For Winter? (How to Stretch a Wool Hat or Sweater), What Fabrics Can You Tie-Dye? Then soak the socks for a short period of time and rinse them under warm water. Some people have ad the same wool clothing for decades. Some stretching will occur under heavy use but not light use. This quality varies widely among different yarns, so as usual, swatching will give you some great information. Join my mailing list and get new blog posts automatically in your email every Friday. But then, so will untreated wool. That's because the scales help provide structure by allowing the yarn to stick to itself. Superwash wool yarn is a somewhat controversial yarn for fibre artists. Superwash treatment is used to prevent wool from felting in the washing machine. Harmful chemicals are used in the process Wool is an elastic fiber, and a wool garment can be stretched and shaped when wet to fine-tune the fit. Boiled wool is designed to be used for trench coats and pea coats, so you may not see much shrinkage at all throughout the article’s lifetime. Polymers can be either natural or manmade. Here are the steps to do that safely: First, measure your hatband that touches your forehead. But the substance used to glue down the wool scales is polymer resin — basically a form plastic. Care: Machine wash warm, tumble dry. (This is why you often see that subtle shine on superwash yarns.) Approximately 75% of all superwash wool is produced using this method. To understand what superwash means and why superwash treatments are used, you have to understand the structure of the wool fiber itself. Also polymer does not equal plastic. Step 4: now towel dry the sweater until the excess water is gone and the sweater is still damp, Step 5: Lay the sweater out on a dry tool keeping it flat. Not a lot and the amount of the stretch will depend on the quality of the material and its weave style. There are many wonderful things about superwash merino wool but it wouldn’t be fair to tout its benefits without sharing its drawbacks. Wool sweaters often shrink in the wash. Luckily, it is a quick and easy process to restore them to their original size. Then, take the wool piece out of the water, use your hands to gently stretch it to its original size, and allow it to air dry. To stretch shrunken wool cloth, fill a basin with lukewarm water and either hair conditioner or baby shampoo. Many times I've said that shiny superwash merino singles are my favorite yarn to work with. :: Get in touch! The industry standard for superwash treatment, called the chlorine-Hercosett process, uses a combination of the two methods. 220 Superwash® Yarn is a 100% Superwash Wool, 100g - 220yds per ball. Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. And if the styrofoam analogy doesn’t convince you of merino’s insulating incredibleness, consider Shrek. #2. The key will be in how dense the wool fibers are. And pill. Third, when the steam rises, hold the hat over the steam rotating it so that the headband is moist but not soaking wet. In some versions yes, wool can stretch a little over time but usually, that stretch is lost once the wool is washed. The further away the production gets from the originating country, the harder it is to ensure that international standards when it comes to environmental regulations, labor laws, or human rights are upheld. But does everything have to be machine-washable? However, bear in mind that the processing of superwash affects the natural absorbency of wool and may cause more moisture to accumulate on your skin, leading to other discomfort and irritation. It is a hard fabric to work with because it is so dense but if you wet it with that solution then fill the sleeves and shoulders with towels etc., you may see some stretch in the width of the material. The second is gluing the scales shut so that they won’t open up when wool is washed in hot water. Share on Social. A compromise for the sake of convenience. Superwash treatment is used to prevent wool from felting in the washing machine. Towel dry like you would a sweater. That way when you indulge in those delicious meals and pastries you will still feel comfortable and look great at the same time. A loosely-woven sweater jacket can be blocked to be several sizes larger or smaller depending on your needs. It will hold its shape and wear better over time. Insert straight T-pins all the way around the edge of the item, stretching it into shape as you go. If not, keep stretching. You are here: Home / Issues / November 2020 Knitting 101 / tutorials / Superwash Yarn. I'm the world's laziest hand washer and will chuck just about anything in the washing machine. Then use your hands to pull and tug those spots that you want to make larger. Superwash wool is stretchier than untreated wool, making it ideal for blocking into shape. Fourth, now pull the headband outward after each rotation, still rotate the hat so you get an even expansion. The testimonials have been that their wool garments have remained the same size even after 25+ years of washing. How often do you need to wash shawls, for example? You have to wet the wool fibers and work with your hands to get the shape you want. Heat, moisture, and friction are the elements that are needed for wool to felt. When chlorine reacts with organic compounds (such as wool) it creates toxins that end up in the waste water. 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). One method is de-scaling, that is, removing the scales so that the surface of the fiber becomes smooth and has nothing to grab with. But it is possible to stretch those sweaters and other wool garments a little to get them fitting you again. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016. Fully submerge your shrunken wool in the bath and allow it to soak for 10-30 minutes. To learn all about wool and its shrinking habit, just continue to read our article. You are not limited to just sheep’s wool when knitting; there are many fibers out there. On the left it is in its natural state, on the right it is under tension. Toxins end up in waste water If you can handle the smell of wet wool, just soak the hat and put it on till it dries. Wool is not spandex. Luckily there are other options. It just takes a little gentle work and those wool items will be ready to wear again. Again, making it a great option for conveniences’ sake. Some people say that wool will shrink back to its original size when washed but will conform to your body once you put the item back on again. We all know, there 's nothing to hold your sweater under the water again. 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