Friday, April 13, 2012

Superwash: Reassessing

Not long ago I ranted about how much I disliked superwash yarns. I've had some really disappointing experiences with them, especially with the way they often grow in size when wet, making precise blocking difficult. Some yarns come with instructions to give the garment a spin in the dryer for 15 minutes before laying flat to dry, but even though this tends to bring the yarn back to size, it's hard to get sharp points and other details to work out as beautifully as with non-treated yarn. Then, there's the whole business of the yarn losing body as well as the ability to retain warmth.
Today I'm about to retrench. I'm working on a version of Brookline for myself in a (gasp!) superwash-treated wool. It's this:

You see, I fell in love with the soft blue-grey and knew, even though it's a baby yarn, that the weight would be perfect for this design. I tentatively blocked a swatch and lo and behold, it didn't behave badly at all. No change at all in dimensions, in fact. It seems that not all superwash  is alike. The warmth factor isn't an issue for this garment, which is intended to be worn during  those tricky transitional seasons, and the lovely drape post-blocking is just right. The merino highlights textural fabric delightfully. Best of all, Lanett comes in a huge range of non-baby colours. I'm in love.

  So, now I'm pondering all the things I can make with this yarn---a new Perth Cardi, new socks, a scarf....