Washing your woollens
You've knit something amazing. It's taken an age, and now it's time for the critical last step: washing and blocking.
Over the next little while i'm going to share some posts with tips and tricks for how to best care for your hand knits.
How to prevent bleeding
Sounds dramatic, doesn't it? Well, it can be. If your finished object has stripes, you do need to take care at the blocking stages. Also, if you're anything like me, you will have been too impatient to get started to want to fuss around with re-setting the yarn (which will be covered in another post).
Take Ravello: Navy, silver and yellow stripes. Blues and reds are notorious colours to work with - even when set properly, they can still bleed colour. Chances are at some point you've knit with a blue or red or even green yarn and found some of the colour has rubbed off on your hands (extra tip: don't put hand cream on before knitting with any of these colours).
How do you manage this after you've finished? Knitsch Sock might be machine washable, and if there wasn't a dark colour right next to a light colour I would have thrown this in the wash as with any other clothing item. But the prospect of the colour running made me nervous, so this is how I dealt with it instead:
1. Fill your laundry tub (or large wide basin) with lukewarm water. Add wool wash (whichever one floats your boat) and swish it around to make it bubbly.
2. Add your knitted item. The key here is not to move it around too much, so the colour doesn't migrate. I folded the sleeves across the top half of the body so they weren't sitting next to the blue section.
3. Gently push the fabric under the water. Again: don't wiggle it around or agitate it.
4. Leave it like this for 15 minutes or so. The water will slowly soak through the fibre. Feel free to prod the fabric under the surface if it rises above the water.
5. If you're working with a laundry tub or sink, pull the plug out and allow the water to drain away. Run the tap over it to rinse out all the water (again, not moving your knitted item around too much.) If you are using a basin, run water through it like you would cool down a boiled egg - let the warm water flow out and the cold water replace it until the wool wash is thoroughly rinsed out.
6. Put your item in the washing machine (if it's machine washable) and run it through the spin cycle to get the excess water out. If not machine washable, lay it flat on an old towel, roll the towel up and squeeze the excess water out.
7. Lay it flat to dry.
I followed this process the first few times I washed Ravello, to be sure any excess dye was well and truly dealt with. Now I just throw it in the washing machine. If you have a project using white or natural yarn next to dark colours, keep using the above method until you're absolutely certain there is no excess colour remaining.