handspun · spinning · yarn

the proverbial fence.

There are many posts out there about superwash yarn and how it is made. I think it’s important to be informed about the process, and like Bren says of the Snerb Yarn blog, then you can make a decision either way to include it in our crafting rotation of spinning and knitting. I’m on the proverbial fence for three reasons:

  1. Handwashing socks in this era of my life, with long-haired dogs (two Golden Retrievers, as those of you who have been reading for a while know) in our home, is not particularly realistic,
  2. Superwash knits for the little people make it infinitely easier to take care of those articles of clothing due to the normal wear and tear they go through (and this avoids the machine washing disasters, which have amounted to three thus far), and lastly,
  3. There are many chemicals that are used in many of the items in our lives and while I try to minimize them, where do I want to draw that line in the sand? I’m not sure about the answer to this question. I cook from scratch to minimize food processing chemicals, we wash our fruits and veg, try to buy organic as much as possible, and clean with environmentally responsible products.

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Do I love natural wool? Yes. Do I love spinning natural wool? Yes. Do I enjoy spinning superwash? Not as much – it’s very slippery, needs a lot of twist and while it takes acid dye colours beautifully, I don’t find it stands up as well as untreated wool. What has your experience been? I wear my handknit/handspun socks in my approach shoes, hiking boots and work shoes – footwear that is really hard on socks!

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Fibre :: Spunky Eclectic December 2014 Fibre Club – Anemone

Yarn :: soft spun singles

Tech :: 9:1 whorl ratio, Z spun, soaked and hung to dry

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Recently, I spun up this superwash BFL from my stash. I’ve had plans for this ever since I received it when I was still a part of the Spunky Eclectic fibre club. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to chain ply it or keep it as singles. I decided in the end to practice my spinning across the top and kept it as singles.

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Because of this, there is no way that it will stand up to much wear and tear. It will pill for sure and maybe break if caught on something. Do I regret my decision? Nope. It will make a lovely Stripe Shawl Study and I will take special care of it, wearing it and enjoying it. I’m probably not going to spin the cream to go with it, as I had planned. I have some in my stash to use up and I don’t want to ‘waste’ time spinning when I know this BFL won’t stand up over time. That’s totally okay!

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I have started to think that when it comes to my crafting adventures that while I want to try to minimize my footprint, there is a very real side of the argument that is just plain practical. These soft-spun singles are really pretty. At this point, that’s good enough for me, although I won’t be adding superwash to my stash … there’s no need when there are so many other beautiful sources of fibre to spin.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about how you manage this what has become a controversial fibre in your crafting.

Happy spinning :)

5 thoughts on “the proverbial fence.

  1. Phew…like most issues that pit practicality against principal, I come down somewhere in the middle. My ideals support more natural but my lifestyle does not. So, I use natural/local/handspun when I can, and other stuff when I can’t, keeping in mind the resources of the intended recipient of each project.

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  2. I like superwash because I have two young kids, and a husband who faithfully does the laundry, but will never remember to sort out items (I actually hide all my hand-wash items in a laundry basket only I know about).

    But…

    I have not been able to definitively prove this, but it seems to me that my superwash socks are *not as warm* as the untreated wool socks. That is my biggest complaint about superwash.

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    1. That is exactly the same as my situation Andrea!! Life with two small kids is what it is in terms of laundry but yeah, the Superwash socks just aren’t as warm :)

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