Wednesday, February 25, 2015

When we say "Superwash", we really mean it!

I live on the 4th floor of one of the oldest buildings in San Diego. It's amazing, and the views are incredible, but the drawback is that this historic building lacks an elevator. And my bedroom is in the attic, and the laundry facilities are in the basement, so washing my clothes requires climbing up and down six flights of stairs. The upside of this is that I don't have to go to the gym on laundry days, since I climb up and down some 90 stairs with each load of laundry (it's weight lifting and a stair machine all in one household chore!). The downside is that I tend to procrastinate when it comes to washing my clothes, so that I have more trips at once up and down those stairs. And carrying my un-dried delicates up the stairs is even less pleasant, as they hold the extra weight of the water. So I tend to run as many things through the dryer as I reasonably can, even if only on the 'air fluff' setting, to remove some of the moisture.

Because of my lazy ways, I decided to run a crazy experiment with our yarns.

I made two identical swatches in each of our weights. One swatch I soaked in Eucalan and blocked. The other swatch I ran through the wash in the coin-op washer/dryer in my basement. With a load of my jeans. On "Permanent Press - Warm" wash setting, and on the "High/Hot" dry setting. An ideal environment for felting, no?

You'll be amazed at the results. I was.

From Left to Right: swatches in Lace, Sock, Sport, DK, Worsted, & Bulky
Top row was machine washed & dried; bottom row was hand washed

Here are the close-ups of each weight, side-by-side (in each image, the swatch on the left was machine washed and dried, while the swatch on the right was hand-washed and laid flat to dry):

Oink Pigments Bulky in "Hibiscus Kiss"
Oink Pigments Worsted in "Melon-choly" 
Oink Pigments DK in "Dill With It"
Oink Pigments Sport in "Tumbling Turquoise"
Oink Pigments Sock in "Lavish Lavender"
Oink Pigments Lace in "Zoot Soot Riot"

Pretty impressive, right?? Shrinking and fulling are almost imperceptible, though there is a wee bit of color fading from the heat. Obviously we don't recommend doing this, but I thought it was important to see what happens to our yarns when you treat them TERRIBLY. Because accidents happen, and I've definitely had tragic felting disasters that killed a sock or sweater that accidentally made its way into my load of jeans, rather than my 'delicates' pile.

I'd say this makes our yarns ideal for baby things, for gifts to non-knitters, and for lazy apartment dwellers like myself. It's also great for those favourite sweaters that you wear and wash again and again. We still recommend that you hand wash our yarns and lay them flat to dry, but I'd suspect that they hold up beautifully through repeated washings and dryings if treated kindly - machine wash cold, delicate cycle, air fluff dry. Your mileage may vary, of course, so please make two swatches and test one in YOUR machines before you run your favourite handknits through the wringer, but rest easy that the errant sock-stuck-in-jeans incident will most likely not result in tears.