The key will be in how dense the wool fibers are. Allow the hat to dry only after it fits on your head. 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. High carbon footprint from back-and-forth shipping There are two ways most commonly used to make a superwash yarn. Second, fill the tea kettle with water and bring it to a boil. 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. Superwash wool is stretchier than untreated wool, making it ideal for blocking into shape. Step 1: Fill a container larger enough to hold your sweater under the water. Make sure to pull evenly so you do not have mismatched socks to wear. When chlorine reacts with organic compounds (such as wool) it creates toxins that end up in the waste water. Superwash wool yarn is a somewhat controversial yarn for fibre artists. So why exactly is superwash treatment harmful for the environment? Even though most are machine dry, they often last longer if they are dried on a line (or laid flat to dry). Wet Wool Stretches More. 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. It is hard to say as different weaves stretch at different rates. A water and conditioner method will help you stretch boiled wool out and back to its original size if you experience any shrinkage. Fifth, measure the headband and make sure the new size is larger and will fit you. (Hats, Socks, Blankets). Some wool material will stretch a little more than others. — you already know where this is headed. But does everything have to be machine-washable? 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. You can bend it, stretch it, pull it in any direction, some say up to 20 000 or 30 000 times, without any damage. 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. •Wool does not absorb oils or perspiration, so it won't host odour-producing bacteria, making it naturally odour resistant. You are not limited to just sheep’s wool when knitting; there are many fibers out there. This is partly due to the demand from their customers and friends. Acrylic vs Wool: 11 Differences Between Acrylic And Wool, Can You Microwave Fabric? Luckily there are other options. Fully submerge your shrunken wool in the bath and allow it to soak for 10-30 minutes. Knotions Magazine. 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. #sustainability #musings #wool #nonsuperwash #superwash #yarn #yarnproduction #fiberindustry #felting. ), but at the same time, can affect the ability for those stitches to hold their shape, and – most frustratingly – shows off inconsistency (boo!). Some stretching will occur under heavy use but not light use. Mechanism of felting shrinkage of wool (Hassan & Carr 2019) There are two ways to prevent felting from happening. Towel dry like you would a sweater. #1. When the clothing is still slightly damp, use your hands to reshape the clothing, so that it dries in the correct shape. Fourth, now pull the headband outward after each rotation, still rotate the hat so you get an even expansion. The industry standard for superwash treatment, called the chlorine-Hercosett process, uses a combination of the two methods. This quality varies widely among different yarns, so as usual, swatching will give you some great information. That way when you indulge in those delicious meals and pastries you will still feel comfortable and look great at the same time. The Hercosett treatment uses hazardous chemicals in both the de-scaling and coating steps of the process. A compromise for the sake of convenience. The second is gluing the scales shut so that they won’t open up when wool is washed in hot water. To understand what superwash means and why superwash treatments are used, you have to understand the structure of the wool fiber itself. #3. That is good news if your dog is eyeing your shrunken sweater as its new winter outerwear. If you own a loose weave sweater or jacket, you may be able to gains several sizes when using the blocking method. Superwash is a process that makes wool less susceptible to felting when it is washed and dried by machine. All non-superwash yarns do not do this. I typically block superwash like I would anything else, the first time, so it looks really nice for gifting and pictures. Shipping the wool to be processed overseas has other problems as well. Step 3: submerge the sweater in the water and let it soak for about 20 to 30 minutes. A loosely-woven sweater jacket can be blocked to be several sizes larger or smaller depending on your needs. Superwash -- superwashing -- is treating wool chemically so that it can be machine washed without fear of shrinkage, like a towel, etc. To wash wool without shrinking you need to keep the washing machine water to cool or just barely warm. A great idea for a blog post? Then while still damp, use your hands to stretch the socks to the size you want. Do not rinse or squeeze the water out of the sweater. Another potential problem with superwash wool is that the finished project can stretch quite a lot when you wash it. I'm the world's laziest hand washer and will chuck just about anything in the washing machine. 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. It just takes a little gentle work and those wool items will be ready to wear again. :: webmistress@susannawinter.net :: Privacy :: Code of Conduct. Author. If there is no crease just zip and button the pants and then fold back pocket to back pocket. Those temperatures may shrink the pants even more. Harmful chemicals are used in the process If the sweater is really damaged do not expect to restore it to its original size and shape, Step 6: Let dry in a cool dry place away from the direct sunlight. And pill. When researchers, wool experts or producers test the quality of the wool, they look into two aspects of elasticity: when dry and when wet. Cotton and Polyester? 220 Superwash® Yarn is a 100% Superwash Wool, 100g - 220yds per ball. Of course, they may not shrink a lot either so you should be okay. (A note for seamless sweaters: sticky wool can really … Yes, it is possible to stretch wool pants. You are here: Home / Issues / November 2020 Knitting 101 / tutorials / Superwash Yarn. Step 2: mix 3 gallons of cool water with 3 to 4 tbsp of baby shampoo and stir till you see enough soap appearing. Heat, moisture, and friction are the elements that are needed for wool to felt. A little stretch is always needed when you are in need. That is okay as boiled wool has been pre-shrunk so you may not see a lot of need to stretch the wool. A tightly-woven wool jacket can usually be made a size larger by blocking. You will need enough steam for many minutes so make sure you actually fill the kettle. :: Get in touch! How often do you need to wash shawls, for example? ©2007–2020 talvi knits. In general, wet wool has more elasticity than dry wool. At what point does something that has been so drastically processed, losing many of it’s … Wool is an elastic fiber, and a wool garment can be stretched and shaped when wet to fine-tune the fit. #5. If the wool hat in that question is actually a wool cap, then the cap material will stretch to fit your head. Some people love the feel of a “wooly-wool” and others can despise them (and the way they smell when wet). Mechanism of felting shrinkage of wool (Hassan & Carr 2019), There are two ways to prevent felting from happening. Here are the steps to do that safely: First, measure your hatband that touches your forehead. The second is gluing the scales shut so that they won’t open up when wool is washed in hot water. Does wool stretch? In some versions yes, wool can stretch a little over time but usually, that stretch is lost once the wool is washed. Then there are those that say cavalry wool is the style that stretches the most. But then, so will untreated wool. Gauge: 5.5 sts per inch on US#6 (4mm) or 5 sts per inch on US#7 (4.5mm). Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for On Line Supersocke Superwash Stretch Wool Cotton Self Striping Sock Yarn 503 Yards 3.5 Ounce (1956) at Amazon.com. Eco-Concerns About Superwash Wool. 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. Third, when the steam rises, hold the hat over the steam rotating it so that the headband is moist but not soaking wet. Just work with care and do not go too far too fast or you may not get even results. 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. It’s covered in plastic Everyone’s experience is probably going to be different here because wool does come in different weaves, knits, and qualities. Here are some helpful tips when washing 220 Superwash®: Superwash wool is designed to be machine washable and dryable, making it great … When it comes to the holiday season, it is always a good idea to wear a fabric that has a little stretch to it. Join my mailing list and get new blog posts automatically in your email every Friday. Share on Social. The latter ply does not really stretch but holds its shape very well. When the scales are gone, there's nothing to hold the fiber to itself. If not, keep stretching. Despite its fineness, merino wool is strong and resilient. 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. 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. My question is this: Does superwash wool "bloom" in the way that standard wool does? Due to the coating and/or removal of scales, superwash wool can feel smoother or softer than other yarns. In next week’s blog post I’m going to discuss what these alternatives are and where you can find them. Wool is not stretchy like nylon, spandex, or some polyester fabrics or even some elastics. 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. Proper care will keep the wool clothing item in its original shape and size for many years. 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. Here is an example of Universal yarn’s Deluxe DK Superwash wool yarn. These so-called outsourced emissions also distort calculations to see if global efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are actually paying off. 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. Continue to stretch until the socks dry and you may see some shrinkage as the dry. It will hold its shape and wear better over time. That's because the scales help provide structure by allowing the yarn to stick to itself. It is possible to stretch those items out but that stretch may only take them back to their original size. Those items will shrink the felt. Elasticity . Some reasons have to do with the process itself, some with its side and after effects. •Long, fine fibres (particularly those in merino wool) are soft next to the skin. A worsted wool material may not stretch at all as its fibers are very close together. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. In some versions yes, wool can stretch a little over time but usually, that stretch is lost once the wool is washed. And if the styrofoam analogy doesn’t convince you of merino’s insulating incredibleness, consider Shrek. Flip the sweater over to make sure it dries completely. The superwash yarn you buy from the yarn store might not contain any poisonous residue even if harsh and dangerous chemicals are used in the process. But like anything, it has some negatives that go with those benefits. A worsted wool material may not stretch at all as its fibers are very close together. 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. Ready to knit from outside of the ball! Again, making it a great option for conveniences’ sake. Superwash wool refers to a type of yarn that has been treated to prevent felting and therefore is machine-washable. It is, however also because the fibre absorbs water and dye much more quickly than wool in it’s natural state. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. 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. Get tutorials and weekly blog posts delivered right in your email inbox. Using steam is the best way to stretch a hat. It is then transported back to the originating country — or perhaps shipped to yet another country — for further processing steps such as spinning or dyeing. A lot will depend on how the wool was woven and if it was one-ply or 2 ply. Felting is a natural but sometimes unwanted property of the wool fiber. 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. Then soak the socks for a short period of time and rinse them under warm water. Some stretching will occur under heavy use but not light use. If you can handle the smell of wet wool, just soak the hat and put it on till it dries. 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. To learn all about wool and its shrinking habit, just continue to read our article. How often do you need to wash shawls, for example? 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. Superwash wool is still a popular choice for those who like to hand-dye yarns. Also polymer does not equal plastic. Wool is a good material that really keeps you warm in the winter. The latter ply does not really stretch but holds its shape very well. 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. Woven wool is more stable and does not stretch out when you wear it except for a little natural built-in flexibility. 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. Care: Machine wash warm, tumble dry. You may not always get the exact size you want but that is okay, wool is resilient and can handle several trips through the stretching process. The process is quite simple and will be explained in the next section. Best Fabric For Tie-Dye (Top 9), Is Acrylic Warm Enough For Winter? Just make sure they submerge and stay that way. Spread a large towel over a surface into which you can stick pins, such as a bed, ironing board or carpet. It can handle moisture. I don't notice any difference from regular wool. Untreated wool is susceptible to felting. Be gentle but firm. •Wool doesn't cling to skin, and won't pick up dirt particles as easily as other fabrics. Wool is not spandex. If it does, it may be an inferior quality wool fabric or blend. Many times I've said that shiny superwash merino singles are my favorite yarn to work with. You can use a full-sized pair of socks as a model to get the right size for the shrunken pair. The best reason anyone can give to this question is that it is because it is a natural fiber and the majority of natural fibers have some stretch to them. Unfortunately, yes it will but only if you wash the wool items at the wrong temperature. Monitoring that environmental regulations are upheld is difficult In the past few months I've begun thinking about the sustainability of the so-called luxury yarns. 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. The wool material should stretch out and fit your head size with no problems. Superwash wool was the answer to our desire to machine wash and dry our knits. But the material may not stretch as much as you would want especially during the holiday season. 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. Heat, moisture, and friction cause these scales to open up like pine cones. #4. The surface of wool fibers are covered in tiny scales. Warm moist heat does cause the hat to shrink a little. Silk, for instance, does not full the same way that Merino or Alpaca does. To stretch shrunken wool cloth, fill a basin with lukewarm water and either hair conditioner or baby shampoo. Does wool shrink in the wash? Lay the superwash wool item on the towel. Anything hotter and you have something to donate. If you've ever felted anything — on purpose or by accident! Generally, wool doe snot stretch when washed. 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. The harsh truth about superwash yarn is that the widely-used industry standard for superwash treatment is NOT eco-friendly nor sustainable. This video explains why shrinkage isn’t the only problem you have to worry about. 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. Convenience does not come without its costs… The good news is, many hand … 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. ​​. It keeps you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. The more dense the wool, the less it will stretch, but all wool can be manipulated to some degree. Hang by the hem. But does everything have to be machine-washable? 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. 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. Toxins end up in waste water One word of warning, do not use a hairdryer or a clothes dryer to try and stretch the hat. There are two ways to prevent felting from happening. Insert straight T-pins all the way around the edge of the item, stretching it into shape as you go. Knit it too loosely, & yes, it will stretch. There have been occasions when an entire river in China has been turned red because of either dye dumping or other pollutants in the water. But that is not the end of the world. Superwash Yarn. The process is similar to stretching a sweater so it is not that complicated to do. #2. But it is possible to stretch those sweaters and other wool garments a little to get them fitting you again. — you already know where this is headed. Use a sink to hold warm water and about a dime-sized worth of conditioner. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016. Does not need to be wound off. The key to being successful at this is to avoid using hot or warm water. To learn all about wool and if it stretches or not, just continue to read our article. You have to wet the wool fibers and work with your hands to get the shape you want. Is Superwash Yarn Environmentally Sustainable? If it does have any it is very little. Consider line drying your superwash wool crochet items. Approximately 75% of all superwash wool is produced using this method. A lot will depend on how the wool was woven and if it was one-ply or 2 ply. 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. Because of this resin coating, superwash yarn is not biodegradable, that is, it cannot be composted. Some wools have coatings to keep it from stretching as well. Usually, the stretch factor doesn’t show up until the wool material is wet or slightly damp. In this article, I’m going to attempt to outline what superwash woollen yarn is in a factual manner. 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. Just keep stretching to compensate for that reaction. 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. 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 as long as you keep the growth potential in mind when planning your project and … A lot will depend on how the wool was made. Then use your hands to pull and tug those spots that you want to make larger. ​What is Superwash? Fabric Burn Test Chart. 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? 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. Wool sweaters often shrink in the wash. Luckily, it is a quick and easy process to restore them to their original size. Superwash treatment is used to prevent wool from felting in the washing machine. (How to Stretch a Wool Hat or Sweater), What Fabrics Can You Tie-Dye? Felting is a natural but sometimes unwanted property of the wool fiber. Got a question for me? Superwash wool often enhances stitch definition (yay! If you've ever felted anything — on purpose or by accident! But the substance used to glue down the wool scales is polymer resin — basically a form plastic. 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 avoid stretching wool, dry flat by laying some towels onto the floor and placing the clothing on top. The key will be in how dense the wool fibers are. One is to strip or dull the scales of a fiber, then fill the irregularities left behind with a polymer to smooth the fiber. Wool is great at keeping you warm, but it’s not so great at surviving a ride in your washing machine. Follow the crease so they retain their original shape. (This is why you often see that subtle shine on superwash yarns.) I'm the world's laziest hand washer and will chuck just about anything in the washing machine. An important and unique characteristic of wool is its ability to handle moisture. The other is to coat the fiber to suppress the scales. 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. 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. 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. 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. I’ve personally had much better experiences with Polygiene synthetics — no stink, no itch, and they dry much more quickly than wool. » Does Wool Stretch? To get the steps for stretching these pants just read the next section. This can be a pail, sink, or bathtub, etc. 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. In the past few months I've begun thinking about the sustainability of the so-called luxury yarns. On the left it is in its natural state, on the right it is under tension. You can use the same moist heat to stretch your felt hat back into shape. Polymers can be either natural or manmade. Not a lot and the amount of the stretch will depend on the quality of the material and its weave style. Then write that figure down. Superwash treatment is used to prevent wool from felting in the washing machine. That is the general rule and of course, as we all know, there may be exceptions to that rule. Simply soften the fibres of the wool with a water and conditioner solution, and then either manually stretch the sweater back to size with your hands or pin it in place and leave it to dry. We use superwashed fiber only in … Well, merino does the same for you when you wear clothing made of it. A lot will depend on how the wool was woven and the quality of the fabric. The problem that you may and will encounter when washing wool is that the material will shrink on you if you are not careful. Wool sweaters are notorious for this and often go into the wash one size that is a comfortable fit and come out a size that only your dog can wear. (List of Microwave Safe Fabrics), Does Wool Burn? 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. Does luxury have to mean environmentally harmful? N.B. Superwash is not the only easy-care option. Shrek was a renegade. There are many wonderful things about superwash merino wool but it wouldn’t be fair to tout its benefits without sharing its drawbacks. Or a knitting tutorial you'd love to see? 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. Some wools have coatings to keep it from stretching as well. After that time has expired, pull the sweater out and let it drip the water in a sink. So the less time it spends hanging, the less opportunity it has to stretch. 5 Reasons Superwash Yarn is Harmful for the Environment Fabrics do react differently with the different types of water, soft or hard, as well as the different humidity levels, dry or moist. 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). But it will conform to your body size and keep you nice and comfy and warm when the temperatures drop. There are those that say wool will conform to your body’s shape and size over time and that remains to be seen. The testimonials have been that their wool garments have remained the same size even after 25+ years of washing. When it comes to most sweater knitting I love a non-superwash wool if you/the recipient can handle the feel of it. BUT ... there are problems with superwashing that, depending upon the intended use of the fiber, can outweigh the advantages. Soak the pants for about 20 minutes without stirring the water. If you are having trouble getting your wool felt hat to stretch, there is a reason for that. Some people have ad the same wool clothing for decades. Many times I've said that shiny superwash merino singles are my favorite yarn to work with. Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. Heat, moisture, and friction are the elements that are needed for wool to felt.