Washable wool

I'm interested in hearing about the experiences of others using washable or "superwash" wool. I've done some research on it, so I know how it's made, but a question remains for me: is it really washer and dryer proof?

Patrick :)


scottly's picture

My experience is that results from one yarn to another are not consistant, some wash up beautifully without shrinking and others not so good.

teejtc's picture

I tend to find that superwash sock yarn washes and dries well (I always throw my socks in the dryer! I know: *gasp*) and worsted weights don't tend to stand up to the dryer as well.

Of course, that's limited experience... :-)

Grace and Peace,

Crafty Andy's picture

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Noro Sock yarn does well, I wash it and dry it and it stays the same so far lol

QueerJoe's picture

Actually Noro Sock yarn is a blend of 70% wool and 30% nylon...it's not superwash.

Lamb's Pride worsted superwash doesn't shrink in the washer (tepid or cold), but I haven't tried to dry it in a machine. However, it pills a lot.

TheKnittingMill's picture

I agree with Scott! To tell you the truth I'm using it less and less except for socks. With sock yarn I've found that the superwash wool content usually machine washes well ubiquitously, but machine drying is hit or miss concerning the shrinkage factor. I just warned Andy the other day about Mini Mochi. I LOVE the yarn, but it WILL shrink in the dryer even though it's a superwash wool/nylon blend and states "Tumble Dry Low" on the label. Some sock yarns I've used (such as Schaeffer) I've machine dried without a problem. So my rule is machine wash and air dry flat with all of my socks. You're going to increase the longevity too. As far as garments, I've only used superwash worsted wool with one sweater and I'm too afraid to put it in the dryer, so I figure why buy it at all? Handwashing is not that daunting to me and I spend so much time making it that I want to take care of it. E.Z. has a great quote in "Knitting Without Tears" that compares hand washing your sweaters to that of bathing your baby. I'm sure you'll get great answers from some of the more experienced knitters here!

If some sissy tried to kick my ass I would say, "Hey, Mary, go knit me a sweater before I slap you in the face!”
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Kenny's picture

I don't know if this helps, but I always air-dry wool, superwash or not. That's all the experience I have.

Mnjack's picture

I have only used Wool Ease, which I believe is not 100 % wool. It is very soft and very warm and I find pleasant to work with. It also launders beatifully. I have made quite a few afghans from it, thinking that it would be nice to be able to launder them.

QueerJoe's picture

Scottly seems to have it exactly right. Some superwash yarns, like Trekking XXL (a sock yarn) do very well in both the washer and drier, while yarns like Dale Baby Ull tends to pill if put through full washing/drying.

If you need to know, I find it's best to check reviews on Ravelry for specific yarns...people will talk about specific issues with each yarn in their reviews which helps a lot. Or you can always run a swatch through the washing/drying process.

I personally take Kenny's route and just gently handwash wool and let it air dry on a towel, but that's easy for me to say, since I don't do my regular laundry.

OperaGeek's picture

Thank you everyone! Your thoughts and tips are very helpful.

Patrick :)

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

So far, I have only used superwash wools for socks. Since I always handwash them and air dry, I really can't comment beyond saying, "If in doubt, handwash and air dry." Why risk ruining something? -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

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