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What is Superwash Wool?

“Superwash” is one of those terms you see on yarn packaging that might make you wonder what exactly you’re getting in to. Is it natural? Is this still wool? Simply put, superwash wool is the term for a wool yarn that has been treated to be machine washable. Untreated wool has scales along the fiber shaft (like your own hair) that rub together and “snag” or bind together causing felting. If you don’t already know, felting happens when non-superwash animal fibers meet heat, moisture, and friction.

How It’s Made

There are two methods of creating superwash wool. One way is to coat the fiber with a polymer or resin to seal the fiber scales thus preventing them from rubbing and sticking. If your yarn has been treated this way it is important to not wash it in very hot water, which could cause the coating to melt.

The second way to make a yarn superwash is to give the fiber an acid bath to strip away the scales. This smooths the yarn out permanently and allows it to tolerate hotter water temperatures. (These superwash yarns will stand up better to items needing heavier washing like kids and baby clothes.)

LB Superwash Merino

If the versatility of this fiber has caught your attention, you can give LB Superwash Merino a try. This is a DK (CYC #3) yarn that is perfect for next-to-the-skin wear. It has a wonderful natural elasticity making it perfect for hats, mittens, and gloves or anything with a negative ease/stretchy edge. Of course, it also pairs perfectly with garment designs for the whole family. The smooth texture and 4-ply construction show off stitches to their full potential. Meaning, use this yarn for texture, cables, or lace. Anything you throw at it is sure to shine.

You can read more about Lion Brand's superwash yarn in the post, "Getting to Know LB Collection Superwash Merino."

LB Collection Superwash Merino Yarn

Use It

Wondering what you can make with superwash wool yarns? A lot! Because it’s washable, making care easier, it is a good choice for wearable items. Think sweaters, gloves,

Besides the obvious benefit of superwash yarn being machine washable, it also has the added perk of wearing well. As was mentioned above, non-superwash animal fibers felt when heat, friction, and moisture meet. Now think about wearing a sweater, getting warm, and your arms swinging by your sides. What might happen to the fiber in this situation? While it’s not a prime felting environment it will slowly (or more rapidly for loose or single ply yarns) start to cause light felting and pilling on non-superwash yarn.

Patterns Using Superwash Merino [Wool] Yarn

Knit It

Loop Scarf | Flounce Edge Pullover | Sketchbook Cardigan

Crochet It

Persimmon Pullover | Spring Ripple Throw | Two-Tone Pullover


 

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