Hey there! Welcome to “Customer Question of the Week”, a new weekly
blog feature wherein our crack team of experts (okay, it’s the KP staff)
answers your most pressing fiber-crafting queries. Have a ponderance or
problem you need solved? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even though we won’t be able to respond to every person, your question may be chosen for this feature!
Ultra-smart, in-house designer Kerin tackles this week’s fiber dilema.
Q: “How should I wash bamboo-blend garments?”
A: To begin, Rayon-type cellulosic materials like viscose, bamboo, and Modal are much different than other plant fibers in that they do not retain strength when wet. They will stretch more than cotton, and can shrink unevenly. When blended into a springy yarn, the inelastic viscose fibers are not held straight, but they will tend to relax and straighten out (therefore stretching the yarn) when wet.
Also, as with any cellulose fiber, it is easily damaged by any acids; be sure that only mild (PH neutral) soaps are used in washing. Because of this, extreme care has to be taken when washing the fiber. Hand-molding the garment back into shape is the best way to ensure that the same size is achieved.
Because of all these properties, it’s particularly important to knit a swatch and wash and block it as you intend to wash and block the garment – then measure the gauge. Once you achieve gauge on the washed swatch, adjust your knitting accordingly! This is important for most cellulose fibers, but especially those that are blended with a protein fiber (like our wool-bamboo blend, Galileo).