Knitting, Socks

Knitting up socks while the weather is hot

Hey Everyone!

This summer I have been working on socks, and I am trying to get as many pairs done as I can while the temperatures are warm enough to dry my socks in a matter of a few hours.

When the weather cools off to the point where it would take a long time to dry my socks outside, or is to wet to dry them outside, out of respect for those I live with, I plan to wait on washing them until it is warm enough outside to dry them. Not everyone likes the smell of wet sheep.

I currently have a pair of socks drying out on the line as we speak, beings that it is currently 94 degrees outside.

I probably have another month to month and a half before the weather is too cold and wet to dry socks outside. Early to Mid-October can still have some nice sunny days with temperatures in the upper 60’s to low 70’s. With the weather going to be cooling off, even on the nice warmer days of late September and October, my socks will still have to be outside on the line the full day.

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Knitting, Socks, Wool, Yarn

Drying Washed Knits Outside

Hey Everyone!

Now that the warm weather is upon us, whenever I get a pair of socks done, I wait until there is going to be a sunny day with a high temperature above 80 degrees Fahrenheit and preferably below 30% humidity, to wash and dry them. I like to pin my just washed socks to sock blockers and hang them outside on the clothes line to dry. It’s not as easy and takes longer to dry them in the winter, and I have to find an alternative way to hang them to dry. I have yet to really wash a lot of socks in the colder months, though I have a few ideas of how to dry them during that period of time, which if I resort to, I will have to write about and post pictures of. Beings that the weather is more ideal for hanging washed socks outside to dry, I am able to do so.

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I love being able to hang my socks out side to dry on hot summer days, because they dry a lot faster, and there is something about hanging outside that helps decrease the amount of wool wash scent that is left in the socks when I bring them in. While I love the scent of Eucalan Wrapture Woolwash, but sometimes it can still be very strong and over powering. I have noticed that when I am able to let whatever I have washed with it, dry outside, the scent that is left behind is not as strong as tends to be when I have to let it dry indoors.

While I personally detest the heat, and am currently camping out in a nice cool, air conditioned house (because it is 95 degrees outside), it has been a perfect day to wash and then hang socks out to dry. While I would typically say I would rather be at the beach, the beach is as bad as it is here in the valley, which is weird. It shouldn’t be 95 degrees on the Oregon Coast, 75 maybe, but 95 is just down right nuts. It’s crazy when the coast is hotter than Eastern Oregon, which was the case in some places today.

Knitting

Summer is only good for….

Hey Everyone!

As of writing this, it is barely noon and already 81 degrees Fahrenheit, which means it is a perfect day for drying socks outside. That, and growing fruit are the only things this weather is good for.

Right now I am glad I have socks to work on, so I don’t have something bulky and warm like a sweater or my wrap (once it gets longer), sitting on my lap heating me up even more than I already am. While I know 81 isn’t hot for most people, for me it feels like an oven, especially since the humidity is sitting at 51%.

Friday and a bit of Saturday I did make some progress on my wrap, as well as the socks I am making out of the Turquoise Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn that I have. I am currently working on the heel flap of the second sock.

I decided to go ahead and wash the pair of socks I had knit up using regal KnitPicks Palette Yarn. Every time I wash a pair of socks for the first time, I am always amazed at how much excess dye is in the yarn. It has made me wonder if they rinse the yarn after they dye it, or if they pull the yarn out of the dye, dry it and then wind it up without rinsing the excess dye out. But that is part of why I always wash what I knit before I wear/use it. I don’t want the excess dye or the waxes and other chemicals they use in the dying and processing to come off on my food clothes, or in my boots. Washing whatever I knit up also helps to soften up what I have made and make it so it is not stiff or not as stiff as it was before I washed it (again getting all the waxes and stuff out that makes it stiff).

One thing I have noticed about wool and other natural fibers (like cotton), is that they tend to soften up once they are washed. While you can get a bit of an idea of how the yarn will feel in the store, you don’t get a true idea until you have knit it up and washed, blocked and dried it.

So I am trying to make the best use of summer, and work on knitting up as many pairs of socks as I can. I still have a lot of sock yarn waiting to be knit up into socks.

Knitting, Scarves, Skills, Tips, Wool, Yarn, Yarn Reviews

Always Wash Dyed Wool Before Wearing

Hey Everyone! 

Today I learned a very important lesson today, and I learned it without doing it the hard way, and without ruining any of my clothes. 

Today I learned that you should always wash dyed wool before you wear it. 

How did I learn this lesson you may ask, well I will tell you.

I had knit up an eyelet scarf with my birthday yarn, so today I decided I would get it washed (which I like to do anyway with wool) and then blocked, so I had taken it down to the wash basin in the laundry room and took my Wrapture wool wash with me, and I went to squeeze it out before rinsing the Wrapture out, and out came this pinkish liquid. I was like “dude! What on earth? Oh the dye bled. At least I am washing it by itself and before I wore it. Dodged a bullet there”. 

Yeah, so the dyes can bleed or have so much excess dye still dried in the wool that you don’t notice it, but once it is wet, look out. It can, would, could and will stain clothes and potentially rub off on your nice clothes. 

And hand wash the wool in a bucket or washtub gently. 

So glad I learned that lesson before I ruined my good clothes. 

Knitting, Knitting Essentials, Tips, Wool

Washing My Wool

Today, I spent the day washing the woolen accessories I have knit up. Today is the official first day of fall, and it certainly feels like fall. I decided to spend the day washing, and letting my woolen wears air dry. Many of which I have yet to wash since I made them. Over the past year I have learned why you should wash your woolen accessories. When they are new, and never been washed before they still have all the chemicals and waxes in them that they were produced with. Washing them gets the chemicals and waxes out. Chemicals are used to treat the wool for various reasons. Waxes are used especially on wool’s that are used for machine knitting so that the wool knits up, and holds up better when being used on a machine. The waxes help the wool’s slide through the carriage and over the needles so much easier. Some of the yarns I had used at my previous jobs were so full of waxes that within 20 minutes my hands were sticky from the waxes. We washed everything at the studio, which was where I really learned about how to wash wool. Through that experience I learned that once the garment has been washed, and much of the chemicals, and all the waxes and stuff are washed out, the garments are so much softer. I have found that with my own knit goods, once they have been washed the first time they are so much softer.

After the first time I wash my wool, I only wash them when they absolutely need it. Wools don’t need to be washed very often after the first time, and when they do, they need a very delicate hand wash, or the gentlest setting on an HE Washer that does not have an agitator. Agitation = one of the worst things you could do to wool. You will also want to use a wool wash when washing woolen items. I would recommend either Eucalan Wrapture which is made with Jasmine Oil and enriched with Natural Lanolin, though any of the Eucalan line of no rinse delicate washes would be fine (I am just familiar with the Wrapture line). I like the smell of the Jasmine oil, which is also a natural antiseptic (helping to get the chemicals and any germs and such out that you wouldn’t want on your skin) The Lanolin in the Wrapture wash also helps with adding some water resistance to your woolen items. I have also used The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo, this is what we used at the studio with the garments that we made.

I always lay my washed woolen items flat on old bath and beach towels on a hard surface like the floor. It usually takes them several hours to dry. I sometimes even will use two or three towels underneath each item so that there is more layers for the moisture to go.

I figured today would be a good day to wash my woolen wear, because it actually is feeling like fall, yet is warm enough to open out the house to get fresh air in, and help my garments dry. It is also to help air out the Wet Sheep smell. It honestly smells like a wet sheep in the living room, so I am hoping it gets aired out by tonight. Having the Wet Sheep smell with having washed wool is a given. I don’t mind the smell so much, but I don’t think the other people I live with want to come home to the smell of wet sheep. This time of year is perfect for opening up the house anyway. It is overcast and cooler, but not pouring down rain.

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Eucalan Wrapture
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The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo
Knitting, Tuesday Tips, Yarn

My Advice on Caring for Woolen Accessories

Based on my experience on working with Cashmere, Cotton/Cashmere Blends and Merino Wool that has been waxed  for use with a knitting machine, as well as working with Fishermen’s Wool, here are some tips for when you absolutely need to wash your woolen goods.

1. Your woolen wears do not and should not be washed after each wear. Unless you spill something on item, they can go quite a few wears before needing to be cleaned. That being said, if you are going to be wearing a wool sweater, I highly recommend wearing a tee shirt/undershirt as an under layer with your sweater. Not only will that help keep you warm in the cold months, but it will also help prolong the wear of your sweater between washing, as it will be the front line to absorb sweat and the natural oils that your skin contains.

2. I cannot emphasize enough having the proper wool wash for your garments, I highly recommend The Laundress Wool and Cashmere Shampoo or Eucalan Delicate Wash (I prefer the Wrapture Delicate Wash for my woolens, and used The Laundress wool shampoo when I worked at a knitting studio) you don’t need very much for what you are washing.

3. If you have an HE washer without an agitator in it, you can get away with machine washing your accessories, on the gentlest (delicate or hand wash cycle) rinse cycle with cold water. You don’t want wool to be agitated. When in doubt hand washing in a tub of cold water or a sink works as well.

4. I highly Recommend laying items flat to dry after every wash, do not put in the tumble dryer, not even on the lowest setting as the wool has the propensity to shrink, and wool garments are an investment, so why take a chance that it will come out being the proper size for an American Girl doll.

5. I recommend storing woolen wears in a plastic tub that has a lid with little cedar blocks (they can be found online, at Bed Bath and Beyond, and other stores may carry them I know that I got mine at bed bath and beyond) inside the container. I prefer plastic bins with a lid and cedar blocks because I feel that keeping that the containers would help keep bugs out, and potentially cut off the air from any already there.

6. If you take your wool garment in to be repaired, wash it first, those dealing with it at will thank you.

I am by no means an expert, but I am just wanting to pass along what information I have gained from experience.