If you are like me, you’re learning some new terms as you expand your knitting knowledge. I’ve spent a lot of time with the glossary of terms in a book and searching the internet to understand a term that I hadn’t encountered before. One of those terms that I think is important to understand is the term superwash.
When you search the internet for the meaning of the term superwash, you’ll find a RANGE of posts commenting on whether to use superwash wool or not. I always maintain that you should use the right yarn for the project and for your personal needs/taste, but in order for any of us to make the choice of whether or not to use superwash wools, we should know what superwash wool is and what some of its benefits are.
Wool, as you know, is a fantastic fiber that provides great stretch and recovery, and it is made from the coat of an alpaca, sheep, goat, or similar animal. The natural crimp of wool gives a project greater bulk than other fiber types like cotton, and it prevents heat transfer in general, which means great insulation. It’s one of the reasons that my merino wool hiking socks are the secret to keeping my feet happy!
Wool can come in many forms, using many different terms to indicate the variations to the buyer. Take a look at our Wool Yarn & Blends page and you can see the different weights and combinations of wool yarn that Knit Picks alone has to offer.
Superwash wool is a unique wool product that has been processed or treated to make the wool more machine washable. It can be done in an acid bath or by coating the fiber with a polymer. Polymer coated yarns will be much more slick and can appear shinier than regular wool but you do lose some of what makes wool, wool.
Using superwash wool can prolong the life of your project if you know it needs to be washed consistently or if you have a habit of giving gifts to people and understand that the convenience of cleaning is often also a gift. I have more than once thrown a “handwash only” item in the washing machine by accident, so the idea of using superwash wool on a project and not worrying about it ending up in the machine is fantastic.
If you are a person who is concerned about the additional processing of a superwash wool from any company, then superwash probably isn’t the right wool yarn for you and I’d explore our fantastic Wool of the Andes line or our Simply Wool line if you desire quality 100% Eco wool. If you find the benefits of superwash wool inviting, then I invite you to experience the superwash version from Knit Picks simply titled Wool of the Andes Superwash or try the bulky version!