Washing handknit items

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I just finished my first pair of handknit socks! The yarn I bought was labeled machine washable and dryable- can I just throw them in with my regular wash, or do I need the gentle cycle or other precautions? Some older patterns my grandmother had have instructins for blocking and so on: is that necessary with modern yarn? The yarn is TMA Yarns from Ames, if that makes any difference. For future reference, are there brands that hold up particularly well? Thanks!

-- Sarah K. (ladynuala@hotmail.com), November 29, 2001


Hi Sarah..play it safe and use gentle cycle with cold water first time with them..see how they hold up..wouldn't put them in dryer though..may shrink..

-- Lynn(MO) (mscratch1@semo.net), November 29, 2001.

For sure not the dryer! But I would make sure that whatever temp you wash them....be sure to rinse them in the same temp water...like warm/warm or cold/cold. That way the fibers arn't shocked..which makes them felt or shrink. I handwash mine and dry flat. It is too much work in my opinion to take a chance. I use handspun yarn mostly though, so it would depend I guess.

-- Jenny (auntjenny6@aol.com), November 30, 2001.

I would just put them in the gentlycycle but no dryer for sure. With really nice sweaters I use shampoo to wash them with...what is wool but hair...rinses out easily and makes them soft too. Think I'll learn how to knit socks this winter myself...my husband goes through them litterally...the toes so quickly...my Aunt use to knit socks years ago for him and they lasted him a very long time. Good Luck !!

-- Helena (windyacs@npacc.net), November 30, 2001.

Congratulations! Your first handknit pair of socks, what did you knit?, what color? For whom? Time to brag a little Sarah!! BTW I'd also follow the advice given above, I have washed and dried superwash, and it does shrink somewhat. You can purchase sock blockers through Patternworks online, or catalog. I would say that unless you are working with untreated (non-superwash) wool I wouldn't worry about blocking. There are some yarns manufactured specifically for sock yarn, but if you simply get into the routine of handwashing, laying flat to dry, you should do fine with any yarn.

-- Sandie in Maine (peqbear@maine.rr.com), November 30, 2001.

Thanks, everyone, for your advice! I'm glad I didn't trust the label. The socks are for me- I got the pattern off www.fibergypsy.com. It uses size 7 needles so they knit up really fast! I've already started a pair on size 2 needles for my boyfriend and they are going to take me forever. I hadn't knit anything in a while, and I think I'm getting addicted! Thanks again!

-- Sarah K. (ladynuala@hotmail.com), November 30, 2001.

Must be the season for sock knitting. I just finished my first pair also and made them out of homespun corriedale wool. I'm washing mine by hand. I do all our wool socks by hand because my washing machine is like a top loader and really beats the clothes during the cycle. I don't want to end up with felted socks and that's just where we were going with the ones we bought that said they were machine washable. Don't know about anyone else, but it takes me about a week to knit a pair on size 2 needles. After all that time invested, I'll hand wash them!

-- Carol - in Virginia (carollm@rockbridge.net), November 30, 2001.

I don't know - with my cold feet, felted wool socks sounds kinda good right now!

-- Soni (thomkilroy@hotmail.com), November 30, 2001.

Countryside is publishing my pattern for hand knit socks in the next issue. I also hand wash my homespun socks but throw the non-wool ones in the washer. I hang all my socks to dry. My hand washables get washed with shampoo. A shampoo with conditioner keeps them soft.

-- Patricia Ramsey (WOOLSPIN@AOL.COM), November 30, 2001.

If the socks were made with acrylic you MUST machine dry. Today's acrylic yarns have what is called "bounce back fibers" (some kind of trademarked name)that when machine washed and dried bounce back into the original knitted shape. These yarns are no fuss and are not blocked when made up into items. But there are drawbacks, nothing beats natural fibers for comfort and beauty.


-- Diana (dvance4@netzero.com), December 02, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ