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does superwash wool pill

It is the perfect combination of affordability, quality and versatility that can be used for a wide range of projects. I don't notice any difference from regular wool. I'm the Furious Knitter (FK), and I write KNIT FURIOUSLY to share what I've learned from over 15 years of knitting. It squeaks! Also, it seems to pill more. Why? But even with seemingly soft animal fibers I can have problems. Available online only. Will heed your advice to not stray from gauge. Polymers can be either natural or manmade. I made a Boxy Pullover out of Superwash Malabrigo Rios and it seems to pill. After reading this article, I feel like I need to get rid of all my yarn, everything is Superwash! Each strand of wool is covered in microscopic “scales”. I’m that knitter that likes to find the yarn first and then a pattern. Truly a machine-wash and machine-dry yarn, the 220 Superwash from Cascade is 220 yards of the softest Peruvian Highland wool for all your washable projects. Brilliant article, I had no idea there was such a difference, thank you so much!! Superwash wool is a specially treated wool to prevent pilling and allow machine washing. IMore thought and swatching now imperative thanx!!! Superwash yarn feels delightful; it’s smooth and supple. I hesitate to make a blanket statement about the itchiness of superwash wool because much of the texture is determined by the diameter of the fiber, measured in microns. Superwash producers use a chlorinated gas to erode the scales from the fiber strands. This tells me not to stray looser than the suggested gauge. Superwash yarns, especially superwash merino, are some of the most loved yarns in the knitting world. The defensive line is not as structurally sound. But there is something so nice about throwing it in wash and dryer. A single facility was built for the superwash process to ensure military requirements are met. would that include colorwork issues? the diameter of the fiber, measured in microns. A beautiful sweater that was truly warm — without making me sweaty — was pretty elusive. I too fell to the color and washability. And I love knitting for them, but boy I don’t enjoy the feel of superwash yarns. Great info! I just finished a gorgeous sweater in Rios and after washing and blocking it is much larger than expected. This is such a good article! So informative. Sock yarn makers often blend superwash with a bit of nylon to add even more toughness. You will most probably experience pilling with wool sweaters. Ahhh, allergy. Yes, you need to make sure you are picking up the thread as you knit, but it has not seemed a problem. Thank you. Unsurprisingly, the hairs are finer. Share on Social. If you are a lace knitter, particularly with a penchant for lace shawls, the smooth heaviness of superwash gives your piece swing. I was loving my Millamia fair isle WIP – so soft! However if the garment is likely to be machine-washed (mainly for babies and children with very busy parents), I use a yarn that will stand up reasonably to the process, either Superwash wool, cotton or a mixture like Baby Bamboo. Instead I have a stash of polyester/acrylic that I use for hats and mittens etc for the family. The one on the right is knit to the gauge suggested by the ballband (4.5 stitches to the inch) and the one on the left just slightly looser (4.25 stitches to the inch). In this article, I’m going to attempt to outline what superwash woollen yarn is in a factual manner. I’ve knit all kinds of things out of superwash yarn in a variety of gauges, and the knitting and the resulting fabric are never quite what I expect. These days, pretty much anything I knit will pill and I have used a great variety of brands including chain yarn. I’m not a sock knitter but might consider using SW for that. Even though most are machine dry, they often last longer if they are dried on a line (or laid flat to dry). Why do we love them so much? When they are noticeable enough to remove without ruining the garment, I do. The superwash process also makes the yarn that is slightly softer. Superwash Merino is wool that has been specially treated so that it's machine washable and may be machine dried. Looking forward to it! I usually knit hats and scarves with them. I know my stash is stuffed with colorful superwash yarns of all sizes. Thread did not seem to change the gauge, but supported the weight. I love the feel & drape of superwash yarns for shawls & scarves, not to mention the intensity of the colors. Local customers may select the Pickup option when placing orders online. I love super wash yarns – some of the best ones feel like cotton without the stiffness. Cascade Yarn 220 Superwash Sport is a machine-washable Merino wool that's perfect for any project that calls for a lighter weight yarn. Why does wool pilling occur? The colour, lovely in the skein, just doesn’t satisfy me knitted up. It seems to be a hot-button issue in the knitting and crafting industry, with many strong opinions about avoiding anything plastic. Knit it too loosely, & yes, it will stretch. Please let us know about them. However, as I mentioned, superwash is a controversial topic in the knitting community. It may be coated, but it still is a protein fiber at heart and retains many of the inherent properties of protein fibers. It will instantly soften whatever it’s blended with, as well. Trying to decide if that is a big mistake. I made a second sweater “Roger”, but this time a little tighter tension and have not blocked yet. It is also easier to dye and does little or no pilling. And don’t discount cottons. Also polymer does not equal plastic. Do you use or shun superwash wool? For each ball of the original yarn you will need 2.5 balls of this. I use superwash when making things for my granddaughter, because my daughter won’t handwash. Maybe you’ve heard that superwash wool is toxic and should be avoided at all costs. Same here. A quick trip through the dryer (warm/permapress setting) in a lingerie bag, but along with other regular laundry, & the Rios snapped back to its originally knitted size. Purses, clothing patches, jackets, even pillows. Pilling has more to do with how tightly a yarn is spun, rather than superwash treatment. While some brands say that they are fine for the washer and dryer, I have found that even superwash yarns tend to felt a bit in the dryer. I also worry about the enviromental impact – though some company’s use “eco methods” (though I don’t know enough about the process to feel confident about it). This yarn does it all from baby blankets, every-day clothes, tough wearing kids' clothes, and also an incredible choice for afghans. Now I know why I keep buying superwash even though I tell myself I prefer “real” wool — it’s the color. I’ve spun wool, starting right from the sheep, and the lanolin makes my hands soft; they don’t break out. I guess the merino puzzle in my case may be because allergies mean I’m very sensitive to generally itchy fibres (mohair, alpaca with long guard hairs, even my own hair) as well as allergic to specific fibres if I inhale them or they get into my skin. This yarn comes in 50g / 32m balls. She also mentioned how it squeaks when knitted, and how it stretches out. There are so very many different yarns available from which to choose, that I bet you’ll be able to find some that are just right for you. The wool has been put through an acid bath that removes the scales from the fiber, or by coating it with a polymer that prevents the scales from attaching to each other in the wash and causing shrinkage (felting). Luckily it is flat stockinette and I can shave those pills off. Knit a Norwegian sweater for son 2 years ago. With wool, staple length varies greatly, which is why some wool pills much more than others (another factor is the crimp or straightness of the fiber). Now, I am a yarn snob and want to use wool exclusively. Sleeves and body lengthened by 4 (!) Author. Silk is wonderful, although slippery to knit with. If, however, I suggest to her I’d like to pet her in a way that works for many other cats I know, but not her, I find teeth and claws attached to my hand. They tend to be very silky and lovely to wear, although my experience was that they will pill. As one who uses superwash for a lot of gifts, I have knitted a lot of samples (my word for swatch) to look at the colors and patterns. One is to strip or dull the scales of a fiber, then fill the irregularities left behind with a polymer to smooth the fiber. Mechanism of felting shrinkage of wool (Hassan & Carr 2019) There are two ways to prevent felting from happening. Someone told me it was because it was washable wool but I didn’t quite believe it until now! Purchasing is, at a very small level, voting with your money. Alternatives to Superwash. Supposedly the manufacturing process is kinder to the environment. Specially the hats I don’t wet block because I don’t want them to get huge. But that doesn’t necessarily follow! My only guess is that as a breed merino was isolated a long time ago and is just…different. I just used a silk/baby alpaca blend to knit my first cardigan, and it’s lovely. I like them a lot. Yes…more please on what superwashed yarns are treated in the US with healthier chemicals. Rarely does fresh superwash yarn look fuzzy. But then, so will untreated wool. Thank you for this insight into super wash wool. The hand of the fabric and stitch definition are often the spots where love either blooms or dies on the vine for the knitter considering superwash yarn for projects that are not socks. “Superwash wool was the answer to our desire to machine wash and dry our knits. Superwash is a process that makes wool less susceptible to felting when it is washed and dried by machine. I want to make these great slippers I found on YouTube. My favorite yarns are both superwash: malabrigo Rios and malabrigo chunky. Here it can also come down to several factors. Superwash wool was the answer to our desire to machine wash and dry our knits. Keep up with her exploits at It is your go to yarn if your punch needle project will get a lot of wear. Superwash yarns remind me of my neighbor’s cat: beautiful, and when you pet her in exactly the right place she happily purrs. And pill. BTW…can’t get Anny Blatt in Australia any more…. However, I knitted a wonderful sweater with Rios and when I blocked it grew like twice the size. Sweaters with superwash are a recipe for disaster and disappointment. Each ball of 100% pure light worsted wool comes with a generous 220 yards. One good thing, my LYS (Stars Hollow in New Preston, CT) has some superwash that is minimally processed and not coated in plastic. Eco-Concerns About Superwash Wool. Also polymer does not equal plastic. Alpaca is supposed to be hypoallergenic as compared to sheep’s wool as it doesn’t have the lanolin sheep’s wool has. Is there a difference between superwash and “real” in how prone to run a bright yarn is? I was thinking to switch to malabrigo worsted because it is not superwash but I heard that it pills a lot. My local shepherdess ( who is biased ) told me about superwash, and why she doesn’t like it. However, it does so to a lesser extent than other types of wool. Enter superwash wool, sometimes called “washable wool”, those these terms are not necessarily interchangeable. You may have seen “Superwash” wool written on the label of a yarn hank and wondered what exactly this distinction meant. The most common way to create a superwash yarn is to remove the scales and then coat the yarn to smooth it (more about this process in an upcoming post). Is that a good combination? I always put a towel or two in with it. (Superwash yarns therefore are not candidates for gauge shifting.). Ready to knit from outside of the ball! I’ve never liked superwash and only use it for gifted baby things. It would be great if you would publish an article on how to block/resize superwash. Two questions: How about a guide to the most vivid colors in non-superwash yarns? Because the fibers aren’t hanging on to each other, superwash yarns work best if knit tightly to help give them some of the structure that they are missing. The scales are removed via a chemical process, not mechanical. A too-tight cast-on makes even the most beautiful pair of socks unwearable if you can't get it... Hello! The wind blows right through the fabric although it’s knit really tightly so I get cold. Superwash is actually more elastic than acrylic. True, they aren’t as enjoyable in the hand as knitting with an animal fiber, but it’s hardly a struggle. Now, I am new to blocking and try to do it right but I now have a sweater I can’t wear. I encourage you to read up about it and make the decision based on your personal preferences. The removal and coating of the scales also affect how superwash wool takes up dye. My impression of superwash is that it is really stretchy compared to “regular” wool. My next sweater is going to have colorwork and all three skeins are superwash. Superwash -- superwashing -- is treating wool chemically so that it can be machine washed without fear of shrinkage, like a towel, etc. She wrote the book Yarnitecture: A Knitter’s Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want so she could use all of the fiber words. I have no other explanation for why something would feel soft in hand, but be unwearable on my neck or back. This website ( is owned and operated by the Furious Knitter (FK) and is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Thank you! What has influenced your decision? Check out the rest of the Cascade Yarns 220 Line for even more options!Available online only. Very hot water and excessive agitation may remove some of the superwash coating, which will eventually lead to felting. There are the very occasional stiff hairs, but those are easy to pull away as you knit. Knit it too loosely, & yes, it will stretch. I’m talking less about sock yarns and sock knitting, and more about using superwash yarns for knitting garments or accessories. Case in point, a Better Bucket hat knit for my sister in Malabrigo Rios would have fit a basketball when it came out of a handwash bath in Eucalan. Superwash wool yarn is a somewhat controversial yarn for fibre artists. Reason #3: Curly fibre. I think the quality of the yarn can make a big difference in the feel and look of a final product.

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