HeartStrings FiberArts
Inspiration & Patterns for Wearable Art in Timeless Styles
Gallery Catalog Resources Places to Buy Meet Jackie E-S
WHAT'S NEW

Get News & Specials
Sign up for free


PRODUCTS

The Pattern Collections
Easy Knitting
Scarves/Stoles
Faroese Shawls
Other Shawl Shapes
Sweaters & Vests
Socks & Fun Footwear
For the Hands
Neck & Up Coverings
For the Man
For Baby
Home Decor
Jewelry
Minis and Miscellany
Bookmarks
Toys
Holidays & Seasons
Comfort Collection
I Hate to Purl
All Beaded Patterns
PDF Pattern Catalog
Patterns by Yarn Weight
Tutorials

SHOPPING

Downloadable Patterns
Ravelry
Craftsy
Patternfish
KnitHeartStrings
Printed Patterns
Kits and Supplies

STAY IN TOUCH

Newsletter Archive
Jackie's Blog
Free Gift

Want to help me with some of the costs of providing free educational resources? Every donation counts. Your donation, small or large, is very much appreciated. Thank you!


"Your patterns are just fabulous ... unique and yet based on tradition."
- Jennifer C.
"I just love the simplicity of your patterns and the complexity of their appearance."
- Maureen M.
"
"I enjoy your website. It is easy to use and full of information ..."
- Debby L.
"... I love Heartstrings patterns. They are clear and well presented and Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer, the designer, is just a lovely, inspiring woman - well worth supporting by the purchase of the pattern."
- Kimberly L.

Superwash Wool

The convenience of machine washability in a natural fiber
by Jackie E-S

"Superwash" is a term generally applied to wool that has been treated to be machine washable and thereby resist shrinkage and felting.

You may have already discovered that wool shrinks and felts when subjected to a combination of moisture, sudden changes in temperature, and friction. This is because wool has microscopic scales that open up with moisture and heat, then grab and close up on each other with friction and changes in temperature. When the experience is unintentional, the result is not pleasant and is only partially reversible at best. However, if you are knitting with the intention of shrinking and felting, then you are in for loads of fun – just don't use superwash wool!

I have hand washed woolen articles, and even machine washed on delicate cycle, for years and years without adverse results. But it does require more attention and time than just throwing in the machine wash with the rest of the clothes. Also, some wools naturally resist felting, and densely knit or woven articles resist felting. However, if you really desire the convenience and ease of machine washing, such as for daily socks and baby items, then you certainly want to consider using superwash wool.

So, what makes wool superwash? As I understand it, there are two processes used to make wool machine washable. One is to coat the wool fibers with a plastic resin so that the scales are "glued down". The other removes the scales (which unfortunately also reduces the strength of the wool, as it is chemically destructive). Sometimes a combination of the two processes are used.

Which process is used on a wool yarn you might buy? Yarn labels do not specify. Is one better than the other? That is hard to say, because there are just too many factors, preferences, and potential end-uses. If the yarn performs well for you and to your expectations, it does not matter. If you don't know, make sure to ask your yarn shop or fellow knitters for their experience and recommendations. And even after that, sample for yourself to make sure!

Return to Index of Jackie E-S Articles & Tips.

Thank you for interest. I am here to serve you and help keep your knitting a pleasurable experience. If you have questions or need assistance with purchasing or knitting my HeartStrings patterns, let me know. Sincerely, Jackie E-S

Email address: jackie@heartstringsfiberarts.com
Phone: 678-262-6338 or 877-764-2747 (toll-free in US)
Postal address: HeartStrings, Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer, 53 Parlange Drive, Destrehan LA 70047-2133 USA

Company
Meet Jackie E-S
What's New
As Seen In
e-Newsletter
Privacy Statement
Design Gallery
Easy Knitting
Lace Scarves/Stoles
Beaded Scarves
Faroese Shawls
Other Shawls
Sweaters & Vests
Socks & Fun Footwear
Wrist Warmers
Neck & Up Coverings
Other Goodies
Holidays & Seasons
Comfort Collection
Sock Journal
I Hate to Purl
All Beaded Patterns

Where to Buy Patterns
Stores
Downloadable Patterns
Classes
Tutorials
Online Classes

Popular Mini-Tutorials
Playing with Color
Using a Swift
Wraps per Inch
What is Blooming?
To Seam or Not?
Dealing with Ends?
The Lifeline
Blocking in Progress
Blocking Tips
Repairing a Disaster
Lever-Action Knitting
3R's of Knitting
Resources
Catalogs and Flyers
Newsletter Archive
Jackie E-S Blog
Articles & Tips
Link Banners
Pattern Index
Errata
Site Map
Search Site

Last revised Wednesday, 23-Jan-2013 09:22:15 CST