Tips On How to Choose Superwash Wool for Your Next Knitting Project

By Maria Rogerson

May 4, 2021Knitting

If you are into one of the best hobbies in the world, knitting, then you’ve probably heard about superwash wool. The reason why you should choose this super-convenient wool is that it can help you complete some awesome projects, and take care of them super-easy. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or a knitter with some cool and lovely knitting projects behind them, if you don’t have this option in your knitting equipment, you should definitely think about adding it. While conventional non-superwash yarns can be a beautiful choice for both beginners and experts, superwash brings in some unparalleled benefits.

superwash wool


How Do Superwash Yarns Stand Out

The thing that makes a superwash yarn different from other types is that it is machine washable. This is very practical for many different situations. This wool often referred to as washable, has been treated, so that it can withstand the changes in temperature that are caused by machine washing. Wool is a natural protein fibre made of tiny scales. Due to changes in temperatures, these scales interlock, which can make the wool shrink. When that fibre is processed, the wool is essentially shrunk on purpose – a process that makes the fibres “felt”, so that it doesn’t get affected in the same way, which is what makes it “superwash”.

So, the most obvious reason to use superwash wool for your next knitting project, or for your first one ever, is that once you finish it, you won’t have to worry about shrinkage, which can make a huge difference. This makes it an especially good choice if you are knitting garments for babies or older kids because kids can stain their clothes like pros. But, when you think about it, the fact that it’s washable, makes this wool an ideal choice for everyone, because ruining a project on which you’ve worked so hard is simply sad and frustrating. Knowing that your work can’t go to waste so easily, can give you peace of mind.

This makes this yarn a very good option if you are just learning how to knit. One of the things that make knitting a great hobby is that it has a final product – a garment that you can then give as a gift, or wear yourself. Furthermore, superwash yarn will result in a soft, smooth and sleek finished project, because the scales are removed and it has coating. This means that it won’t be as itchy as other wools, which also makes it great for babies’ gifts, as well as for garments that are supposed to touch your bare skin, such as turtlenecks, cowls, scarfs, shawls, socks, and so on. These wools can also be shinier, but some of them may be less able to hold the dye.

If you start working with superwash yarn, you will probably notice a difference, compared to a non-superwash one. Because non-superwash yarn still has those tiny scales on the fibre, the stitches you make will stick together, and when you wash the garment, they will bloom. This creates more cohesion between the stitches, which can be great for colourwork knitting projects.

superwash wool myts and truths


Things to Watch Out for

One thing you should beware of is that the garment you make can end up stretching, because of the lack of scales. This is why you need to make sure that you learn as much as you can about the wool yarn that you are buying.

Furthermore, even though it’s washable, you should wash it on a gentle cycle, and you should avoid putting it in a dryer to avoid getting them damaged, even though some yarns say that it can be dried in a dryer. When you are air during them, you should always try to lay them flat, so that they don’t get stretched.

Possible Disadvantage of Superwash Wool


The Possible Disadvantage of Superwash Wool

The way superwash yarn is made can be considered a disadvantage. This is because to prevent it from stretching, and to smooth the fibre, washable or superwash yarn is either chemically processed to remove the tiny scales that are on the fibres, or it’s coated with a very fine layer of polymer plastic resin so that the scales don’t stick together and shrink.

Because of the use of chemicals, as well as plastic, superwash yarn may be considered less environmentally friendly. Furthermore, the process of making the wool yarns requires more energy and water, than when non-superwash wool yarns are made. On the other hand, because garments knitted with superwash yarn don’t shrink, and can’t be ruined as easily, the things you knit may last much longer. This is important for the fight against the textile waste, created by fast fashion, which has become one of the biggest environmental problems in the last decades.