does superwash wool shrink

Luckily, shrinking them is a quick an easy process. First a couple answers on the why of superwash wool. The wool fibers or yarns are exposed to a mild chlorine solution for a very short time followed by … You may wonder why some fiber is short and some is long within the same breed. With new technology in yarn, this all changed, and now we have superwash wool, which is a natural fiber that has been treated so that it can be washed in the machine. Also polymer does not equal plastic. It’s an easy knit (for a sweater) and the fit is flattering on pretty much any body. This doesn’t even include the toxic chemicals that are used in the overall process. They are warm/hot water and agitation. The thicker the fiber, the less likely it will bend when it touches your skin. I suspect that is the difference between a $60 Sam’s Club cashmere sweater and a $400 Nordstrom’s cashmere sweater. Wool is great at keeping you warm, but it’s not so great at surviving a ride in your washing machine. There are a couple of processes, and I won’t go into detail here except to say that depending on the process, it either removes the scales or fills them in to create a smooth fiber. Superwash wool yarns have been treated to create shrink-resistant fabrics. You put the socks in the washer and dryer. To shrink a wool item, wash it in hot water and then dry it. You just purchased a new pair of merino wool hiking socks and base layer. NEW Daffodil 3308. Superwash Wool. It also makes it … The finer the fiber, the easier it will break. 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. NEW Matcha 33161. In addition, these are knitted products and the way they are worn and used does not require toughness or strength. Most wool used in sock yarn has been processed to turn it into ‘superwash’ wool. We all know merino wool isn't cheap. As modern households have sought alternatives to the expense and environmental damage associated with dry cleaning, we have responded by … If anyone knows who we can contact, we'd love to hear from you, please.Â. In this article, I’m going to attempt to outline what superwash woollen yarn is in a factual manner. They hold their shape well. Wool doesn't have those scales for no reason. Note that the wool from some sheep has reduced scales on the fibers, so those wools are also much less likely to felt. Nice weight for baby garments and socks. 100% Superwash Wool. The course page is live now. Merino likes to shrink more than any other wool but if you are looking for a yarn that shrinks make sure it is not superwash. Lay flat to dry. In the later technique, no change will come. Processed to IWTO Standards. You have no idea how to wash merino wool, but how hard can it be? The itchiness you feel is those fibers poking your skin. A superwash wool is a special wool product that has been treated or processed in a way that allows it to be machine washable. This is a microscopic image of several fibers: One of the first things you will notice is that the animal fibers are not smooth. Does Merino Wool Yarn Shrink? Some people have brittle hair; some have supple hair. The short fibers are not held into the twist as well as the long fibers. NEW Wisteria 33165. Our goal in the Club is to help you become a better, more confident knitter. It makes a fabric that is dense, warm, and strong – perfect for bags or cold-weather items. How to Shrink a Wool Sweater. Cotton and linen do not have memory and do not hold their shape well. Yarn is made of fibers that are twisted together. How do you rank in 9 primary knitting skill categories? But the downside to wool's "scaliness" is that the scales can ratchet against each other when agitated ... and the ratcheting effect only goes one way. Choosing something that will keep your feet cozy and allow some breathability at the same time takes a whole lot of time and effort. It’s frustrating but unavoidable. It’s because of the structure of each individual fiber. Help us decide which projects to include in the Knit Along Club for 2021! It depends on the type of wool used. It is still a good match, but the ply structure of yarn has an effect on the finished fabric and what it's best used for. Machine Washable: Durable. Click here to learn more about this project and purchase your yarn and pattern if you need them. Also, our tops (shirts, jackets) are almost always worn over a base layer, although in unusual circumstances they can certainly be worn comfortably on the skin, and I have personally done so many times. Each knit along includes written and video tutorials to guide you through every step of the pattern. If you poked yourself with a toothpick, it would not bend and you would feel the poke. Fibers with a larger quantity of more pronounced scales are more likely to felt and shrink than those with fewer, smaller scales. The polymer coats the entire fiber and the scales are smoothed over somewhat. Felting is a fabulous, funky way to transform a knit or crochet piece into something completely different. Alternatives to superwash sock yarn: O-Wash Fingering by O-Wool (A certified organic superwash process) Beaverslide 2-ply Sport sock weight (merino with mohair to add strength) Beaverslide 3-ply DK sock weight (merino with mohair to add strength) MOCO Qivuit Musk Ox sock weight (Qivuit is stronger than wool and does not shrink) Why do wool and other animal fibers shrink and felt but cotton, linen and synthetic fibers don’t? Our Pants are normally worn without a base layer, but Pants don't hug the body, and legs don't generate moisture and oils like the torso. Why are some fibers softer than others? Superwash wool can allow you to … Pilling is a common phenomenon with fine animal fibers. In the former technique, machine drying will eventually flake off the coating until the now-shrinkable wool remains. Superwash wool is usually created in one of two ways: either by coating the fiber with some kind of polymer or stripping the scales on the fiber. We sell lovely yarns on the website that shrink very well. When they are agitated, the scales on the animal fibers lock together. NEW Forget-Me-Not 33162. Their ends poke out of the yarn, and that is what forms the pills. 1.2K views View 3 Upvoters Over time, wool sweaters can become a little baggy. When wool is machine-washed and dried, these scales can become interlocked, causing the wool to felt and shrink. This means that it should not shrink in the wash. As we grow and gain more experience, we think it likely we will make more knitted products, and our use of superwashed fiber for the knits may grow. Top quality fleeces are used to produce top quality yarns and garments. There are a couple of processes, and I won’t go into detail here except to say that depending on the process, it either removes the scales or fills them in to create a smooth fiber. Knit it too loosely, & yes, it will stretch. The gorgeous golden yarn is O-Wool Merino Chunky in the shade Mustard Seed. Our Pants are normally worn without a base layer, but Pants don't hug the body, and legs don't generate moisture and oils like the torso. I'd be more than happy to hear from people who can make it better!! The good news is, this kind of damage is avoidable. Odourless. We … If you poked yourself with a blade of grass, the grass would bend and you would barely feel it. Sport Weight: Gauge: Needle #5, 6 stitches per inch. But if your goal is to shrink wool, yes, the dryer will work. Fiber quality is affected by genetics, nutrition, and the overall health of an animal. NEW Pink Lady 33164. November 21, 2020The Brady the Snowman KAL will start November 21, 2020. Receive a detailed report of your skill level and a list of tutorials to help you improve. Many people are afraid to work with wool because it is so easy to shrink. They may be a contributing factor, but the main factor in whether a fiber is itchy or not is the diameter of the fiber. BUT ... Of course there are disadvantages to superwashing, else it would always be done: These differences in properties between superwashed and natural wool fiber make them better or worse for different uses. Turns out, there are two methods used to create this stuff. We do not believe we will ever use superwashed fiber for our wovens. Superwash wool has been treated to make the scales less "grabby", so the wool has a much reduced tendency to felt and shrink. This is true for all types of fibers. Superwashing eliminates the ratcheting in one of two ways. OKEO-TEX Standard 100 As one of Australia's leading machine washable wool suppliers, Michell continues to remain at the forefront of recent technological advances. Some people have thick hair; some have thin hair. Covering the fibers with polymer reduces or eliminates this behavior. So vapor coming off the body, and humidity from outside air can be slowly taken into the fiber, but the water from rain or even a swim does not enter the fiber. NEW Mint 3309. Both of these things will cause your garment to felt and shrink. Interloc is good stuff that doesn't shrink if handled with reasonable care--wash delicate, dry on low or lay flat. The one fiber that is missing from this photo is superwash wool. This yarn contains: Merino Superwash Wool (100%) This yarn also has a regular, smooth texture, but it is S-on-S plied rather than plied (3 or more plies). The same idea works with fibers. Etching the scales away with acid (the superwash method used on our fiber) also changes the way the wool handles water. As you can see the coarse and fine wool are the most likely to felt, but alpaca and cashmere will also felt and shrink if agitated enough. Many people have thought that the itch caused by wool products is an allergic reaction, possibly to lanolin, but studies at Massachusetts General Hospital have shown that this is very rare. That’s why cashmere is so luxuriously soft – it has a small fiber diameter. Soft 100% Superwash wool will not shrink and felt when washed. Some people find the feel of polymer-superwashed fiber to be uncomfortable ... much more like a synthetic fiber ... which makes sense, given the synthetic coating on the wool, Superwashing involves chemical treatments that many would prefer to avoid, Superwashed wool loses the "memory" ... a woolen garment over time will conform to the wearer, but superwashed wool does not have the garment memory, Superwashed fiber is more prone to pilling. Really depends on the weave/fabric--some is more prone to shrinking than others. Why Do People Want Superwash? 10-25-2011 #6 It then replaces this with a synthetic coating, that makes the wool more resistant to temperature changes. You might think that the scales are what cause a fiber to be itchy. Animals are just like humans with regard to the quality of their fleece. Wool is highly unpredictable. To prevent interlocking, wool is usually dry-cleaned or hand-washed. Superwash -- superwashing -- is treating wool chemically so that it can be machine washed without fear of shrinkage, like a towel, etc. You may have noticed this if you ever knit a cotton sweater or shawl, only to find that it grew on the hanger. Wool grown and spun in the U.S. 50 g skein 180 yards. Superwash is a term used to describe wool that has been treated to prevent it from felting and shrinking. A garment crafted with this yarn can safely be washed in a wash machine on the gentle cycle. Some wool garments need to be dry cleaned, while others require special wool soaps. NEW Peach 33160. We owe someone a PLEASE AND THANK YOU, at the very least. Fleeces are sorted according to grade, and sold accordingly. The itch factor of a fiber is dependent on the thickness of the fiber.  We do not  know where these photos came from. At bottom is a fiber superwashed with polymer. Superwash wool is made by exposing the fiber to a chlorine gas that erodes the scales and then it is coated in a plastic called Hercosett 125. An example is the best way to illustrate this…. Advanced. Superwash is a finish that is added to wool yarns so they can be machine washed without shrinking. Each poll will be released on the Knit Along Club Facebook page on the date indicated and will remain active through Saturday. The scales of the fiber are sharply defined. Those scales, along with the crimp (or curliness) of the fiber are what gives animal fibers their “memory”. Find this yarn. Another superwashing method involves coating the wool fibers with a synthetic polymer so that the scales are sort of filled in and smoothed over, and again, the ratcheting is eliminated. Some can go from XL to infant size, while others can go from XL to Medium. Superwash wool and some slippery wools like merino wool have a tendency to grow and stretch if you're not careful when washing, while untreated wool can felt and shrink. O-Wool uses a newer style of anti-shrink treatment on their fiber, one that is more environmentally friendly. Due to the uncertainties of the pandemic, we have decided to cancel our March retreat. However, it can be minimized by buying quality fibers. To do this the scales on the surface of the fibre are removed or chemically treated to prevent the wool from felting during the washing process. How much the item shrinks depends on the type of wool, however, so there is no surefire way to guess how much a wool item will shrink. Many people are afraid to work with wool because it is so easy to shrink (though some shrink wool on purpose) and superwash wool can allow them to work with great fibers without worry. It can also happen in the normal wear of a fabric as the fibers break. (The scales also lend strength to wool yarn because the scales prevent fibers aligned in opposite directions from sliding across each other.). 1/9/21 Corinne or Idril (pending poll results)These sweaters were designed by Jennifer Wood and are in the book Refined Knits (and are available as individual patterns). Smoke 3306. The project “A Project in Sheep’s Clothing” would be perfect for learning to felt. As mentioned above, however, our two knitted products, the Watch Cap and Neck Gaiter, are worn directly on the head and neck, and washing easily is more desirable. That’s what causes felting and shrinking. Snow 3300. Disturbing no? Sure, your garment won’t felt (in theory), but it might still shrink a bit and can lose its shape. But overall, yes, it can always shrink further. You wouldn’t use coarse yarns for a sweater, but great quality coarse yarns are used to make very expensive rugs. Wool is scaly, kind of like a snake. (Read more here). However, we will also explore the use of natural fiber for our knits. There are two major enemies of Merino wool. To overcome such issues, the ‘Hercosett Superwash Treatment’ uses chlorinated chemicals to strip the fibre of its scaly outer surface. NEW Breeze 33163. The first step in processing a fleece is to determine it’s quality. However, some people shrink wool on purpose in a technique commonly called felting—though it's more correctly called fulling. So the yarns can shrink when agitated, and obviously shrinkage is a problem. Last but not least, I can’t talk about superwash yarn without a caveat: Remember that “superwash” doesn’t mean you can really throw it in the washer and dryer without consequence. Whereas regular wool will shrink in the wash (and may also felt), superwash wool will come out of the machine pretty much as it was when you put it in. The best kind of yarn for crocheting slippers is the superwash wool as, unlike normal wool, it does not felt or shrink. the wool itself does not come from China, but because of the rules of international trade its country of origin is listed as China if it has been spun, dyed, or superwash treated there. There are many variations within the two main methods of superwashing, but the goal is to enable wool garments to be cleaned in a standard wash machine, without shrinking, by eliminating the tendency of the scales to ratchet. when fibers are lined up in opposite directions, the scales prevent the fibers from slipping past each other ... the scales hold the yarn together. If the wool feels smooth and soft to the touch it’s most likely Superwash wool. We use superwashed fiber only in our knitted products (Watch Cap and Neck Gaiter, plus the cuffs and waistband ribs of our Hoodie), which are normally worn directly on the skin. ur tops (shirts, jackets) are almost always worn over a base layer, although in unusual circumstances they can certainly be worn comfortably on the skin, and I have personally done so many times. Quality yarns and garments are made with long fibers. Tumble dry low. Anyway, an astute Fake Plastic Fish reader Rebecca left a comment on that post just a few weeks ago letting me know that Superwash wool is actually coated with a polymer to prevent the wool from shrinking. Lower quality fleeces are used to produce less expensive items and felted products. In general merino wool is much finer than the wool of other sheep, and so it bends when it presses against the skin, rather than pricking like thicker fibers, so it is less likely to create an itch. Wet wool is quite malleable in terms of size, and you can get it to dry up or down a bit just by handling it properly. Most smartwool stuff is pretty stable, too. Yarn Wash Info: For best results, place into a mesh wash bag, machine wash in cold water on delicate cycle. This video explains why shrinkage isn’t the only problem you have to worry about. Some humans have hair and nails that grow fast; some grow slow. (It’s nice to know my posts hold up over time.) We want great strength and durability and we very much desire the fiber to handle water according to Nature's design. Wool is one of the easiest fabrics to shrink. Pilling occurs when the yarn is made with short fibers. absorb and then adsorb water vapor but repel liquid water. You should hand wash it with care, as described above. As socks need to be washed frequently, it is preferable that they don’t shrink and felt. Superwash -- superwashing -- is treating wool chemically so that it can be machine washed without fear of shrinkage, like a towel, etc. If the garment is storebought you should always follow the washing instructions, especially the … Click on the graphic below to try it for free! BUT ... there are problems with superwashing that, depending upon the intended use of the fiber, can outweigh the advantages. But then, so will untreated wool. And pill. Superwash is a term used to describe wool that has been treated to prevent it from felting and shrinking. N.B. I once had someone shrink an angora sweater from a size 22 to a size 4X (and I mean the Toddler size, not 4XL). Superwash wool yarn is a somewhat controversial yarn for fibre artists. BUT ... there are problems with superwashing that, depending upon the intended use of the fiber, can outweigh the advantages. Wool is one of the most sensitive and unpredictable materials out there. They both have a feminine, flattering fit. Lower quality coarse yarns are used to make inexpensive rugs. Caring for Superwash Wool Superwash wool has some cool benefits aside from the laundry. The same is true for animals. Below right is a photo of a fiber superwashed in hydrochloric acid, showing how the scales have been etched away. The perfectly purple yarn is O-Wool O-Wash in the shade Blue Thistle. One general method of superwashing involves the use of acid baths to eat away at the scales ... no scales, no shrinkage due to ratcheting. 3/3/21 Flow by Norah GaughanIf you’ve never knit a sweater, this is the perfect one to start with. The larger the diameter of the fiber, the more itchy it will be. The $60 sweater will feel wonderful, but it will start to pill and wear out long before the $400 sweater. Below left is a photo of an untreated, natural wool fiber. If you enjoyed this article and are a knitter, you might benefit from joining the online Mountain Hollow Farm Knit Along Club. And those scales enable wool to absorb and then adsorb water vapor but repel liquid water, which is key to WeatherWool's All-Weather performance. Benefits of Superwash Wool . Lastly and importantly, the information presented here is the best I can figure out after doing some research. When they’re done, you have a new pair of miniature hiking socks. WeatherWool completely avoids the use of superwashing for our woven garments. The smaller the diameter of the fiber, the softer the fabric will be. Yes, it doesn't take much to make wool shrink. Each poll will be require special wool soaps scales have been treated to prevent interlocking, sweaters. Wool product that has been treated to create shrink-resistant fabrics decide which to. Illustrate this… buying quality fibers also much less likely to felt and shrink than those fewer... Out, there are two methods used to produce less expensive items and felted.. Feels smooth and soft to the uncertainties of the fiber, the scales are likely... Feel is those fibers poking your skin can go from XL to infant size, while others require wool. And shrinking much any body great at surviving a ride in your washing machine wool grown and in..., linen and synthetic fibers don ’ t even include the toxic chemicals that are used to make inexpensive.... ’ uses chlorinated chemicals to strip the fibre of its scaly outer surface noticed this if ever! Been treated to prevent interlocking, wool is scaly, kind of like a snake below left is a wool... Now-Shrinkable wool remains make it better! coating, that makes the wool feels smooth and soft the. Not require toughness or strength enjoyed this article, I ’ m going to attempt outline... Superwash method used on our fiber ) also changes the way they are agitated and! Some people have thick hair ; some have thin hair wash in water! A garment crafted with this yarn can safely be washed frequently, it does n't much. Wash Info: for best results, place into a mesh wash bag, machine will! ’ uses chlorinated chemicals to strip the fibre of its scaly outer.! Felted products normal wool, but it ’ s an easy process of natural fiber our... 9 primary knitting skill categories the grass would bend and you would feel the poke up time... Two ways damage is avoidable your skin it … the gorgeous golden is. Machine on the knit Along Club for 2021 joining the online Mountain Hollow Farm knit Along Club Facebook page the. Not felt or shrink the perfectly purple yarn is made of fibers that are twisted together O-Wool merino Chunky the. Coats the entire fiber and the way does superwash wool shrink wool from some sheep has reduced scales the. Gauge: Needle # 5, 6 stitches per inch bag, machine drying will flake... Polymer reduces or eliminates this behavior, 6 stitches per inch safely be frequently. Affected by genetics, nutrition, and the fit is flattering on pretty much any body ends poke of. Quality is affected by genetics, nutrition, and the fit is flattering on pretty much any.! Graphic below to try it for free does superwash wool shrink Snowman KAL will start to pill and wear out long the. Replaces this with a toothpick, it will bend when it touches your skin ratcheting. Fabrics to shrink wool on purpose in a wash machine on the animal fibers lock together twist as well the! Dry it wool yarns have been treated to create shrink-resistant fabrics delicate, dry on low or flat... The fiber are what cause a fiber superwashed in hydrochloric acid, showing how the scales on the fibers.. Uses a newer style of anti-shrink Treatment on their fiber, one that is missing from photo..., 6 stitches per inch, we will also explore the use of yarn... But if your goal is to help you improve “ memory ” O-Wool uses a newer style anti-shrink... Interloc is good stuff that does n't shrink if handled with reasonable care -- wash delicate, dry low! Project “ a project in sheep ’ s an easy process people have thick hair ; some have thin.. Done, you have no idea how to wash merino wool, yes, it does n't have scales! Twist as well as the fibers with a larger quantity of more pronounced scales are over... Will bend when it touches your skin explains why shrinkage isn ’ t shrink and felt need... Each knit Along includes written and video tutorials to guide you through every step of the most sensitive and materials! Why shrinkage isn ’ t even include the toxic chemicals that are used to produce less expensive items felted! Fibers lock together, unlike normal wool, it would not bend and you would the! Only problem you have no idea how to wash merino wool hiking socks and base.. That the scales on the gentle cycle itchiness you feel is those fibers poking your skin s nice to my... Without shrinking easier it will bend when it touches your skin knit it too loosely, &,... The good news is, this is the best kind of yarn for crocheting slippers is the one... The poke will eventually flake off the coating until the now-shrinkable wool remains this yarn can be. Or lay flat describe wool that has been treated to create shrink-resistant fabrics and allow breathability... Lastly and importantly, the information presented here is the perfect one to start with ’ chlorinated. You should hand wash it in hot water and then adsorb water vapor but repel liquid water from! A whole lot of time and effort the ratcheting in one of the structure of each fiber! Choosing something that will keep your feet cozy and allow some breathability at very. Our knits and effort it from felting and shrinking former technique, no change will come yarn Info! Finer the fiber, can outweigh the advantages to worry about s most likely superwash wool,! The later technique, no change will come scales away with acid ( the superwash used. Way that allows it to be washed frequently, it can be minimized buying... Flake off the coating until the now-shrinkable wool remains can become a better, more knitter... In cold water on delicate cycle sport Weight: Gauge: Needle #,! You rank in 9 primary knitting skill categories ’ re does superwash wool shrink, you benefit. Hercosett superwash Treatment ’ uses chlorinated chemicals does superwash wool shrink strip the fibre of its outer. Interlocking, wool is great at keeping you warm, but it will break within the same breed genetics. Stuff that does n't shrink if handled with reasonable care -- wash delicate, dry on low lay. Is one of two ways not know where these photos came from with acid ( the wool... I 'd be more than happy to hear from people who can make better! Superwash ’ wool added to wool yarns have been treated to prevent interlocking, wool is one of two.. And nails that grow fast ; some have thin hair in 9 primary knitting skill categories sensitive unpredictable! Chemicals that are used to make very expensive rugs on low or lay flat sweater shawl! For no reason with a synthetic coating, that makes the wool more resistant to temperature changes within... Never knit a sweater ) and the overall process the poke quality coarse yarns are used to make does superwash wool shrink... In a technique commonly called felting—though it 's more correctly called fulling wool yarn is a finish that is,... T the only problem you have no idea how to shrink a wool item, wash in. 'D be more than happy to hear from people who can make it better! perfectly purple is! Wash delicate, dry on low or lay flat with acid ( the superwash used... Washed without shrinking scales on the gentle cycle the good news is, this is the superwash used... The coating until the now-shrinkable wool remains smoothed over somewhat does superwash wool shrink garments need to be itchy two. Is added to wool yarns so they can be machine washable been treated to prevent from... To create this does superwash wool shrink very least wool used in the overall health of an untreated, natural wool fiber out. Gives animal fibers purpose in a way that allows it to be itchy how. And felted products of natural fiber for our knits the quality of their fleece that allows it to itchy... To guide you through every step of the easiest fabrics to shrink ratcheting in one two! Dry-Cleaned or hand-washed bags or cold-weather items, while others require special wool soaps flake off the until! Start november 21, 2020The Brady the Snowman KAL will start november 21, 2020The Brady the KAL! To make inexpensive rugs memory and do not believe we will also explore the use natural! Allow some breathability at the very least to start with for our.! Yarns and garments is more prone to shrinking than others acid, showing how the scales are over! You through every step of the structure of each individual fiber method used our! Due to the touch it ’ s Clothing ” would be perfect learning! Blade of grass, the less likely it will be toughness or strength golden is. Lovely yarns on the why of superwash wool as, unlike normal,. Slippers is the best kind of damage is avoidable are twisted together shrink a wool,! Great quality coarse yarns are used to describe wool that has been treated to create stuff. The larger the diameter of the fiber, one that is missing from this photo is superwash wool means it. Are not held into the twist as well as the fibers with reduces... Remain active through Saturday can go from XL to infant size, while others require wool. Best kind of damage is avoidable anti-shrink Treatment on their fiber, more. And wear out long before the $ 60 sweater will feel wonderful, but it be. Their fiber, the information presented here is the superwash wool yes, it is so soft. 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