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Must I Wash Yarn before Using?

Knitting with a variety of yarns in the same project
by Jackie E-S

Knitters ask –

I want to make a sweater using a variety of different yarns. In your opinion, MUST I wash all the yarns first?

Knitting with a variety of yarns in the same project is so much fun. Changes in color, yarn texture, or all, make the project uniquely yours! Whether the simplest stripes, or the most complicated Fair Isle and intarsia, one thing is for sure. You don't want to have completed your project and THEN find out your colors are permanently bleeding onto one another, or are behaving in unexpected ways!

A simple test will save you from possible frustration. Take a small sample of the yarn, say 18 - 20 inches. Let it soak in warmish water for 15 - 30 minutes (this is so that moisture is completely taken up into the fiber). Then lay out on a white paper towel. If your towel shows any sign of colors, or the yarn corkscrews or shrinks badly, then I would wash the yarn beforehand (or decide to use it in another project by itself or with other compatible yarns).

If in doubt at all, it is better to wash beforehand. Of course, some of the risks you might take depend on your experience in understanding fibers and yarn structure, and your familiarity with previously working with those different yarns. Certainly you wouldn't want to complete a garment, and have one unknown yarn substantially shrink or bleed. Even for smaller projects like socks, there are still plenty of stitches and time involved. The impact is not likely to be as great, but it can be the difference between so-so and great.

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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

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Last revised Tuesday, 05-Mar-2013 21:46:47 CST