caring for your woolens

Posted on: February 15th, 2019 by nina chicago

We’re often asked at our shop how we block and care for our finished projects. We recently received shipments of wool care products from both Tuft Woolens and Twig & Horn, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to talk a little about how to use them to wash and block your pieces.

Both our Tuft Woolens bar soaps and Twig & Horn liquid wool soaps contain lanolin, also called wool wax, which is naturally secreted in wool-bearing animals. It protects their wool and skin from the elements. Unfortunately, the process of spinning and dyeing wool strips most of this naturally-occurring lanolin away before the yarn hits the shelves. Washing your woolens regularly can wash even more of the lanolin away. However, when you use soaps that contain lanolin, they act as a softening agent and condition your woolens, restoring their softness and squishiness. Shown here is one of the newest fragrances of wool bar soap from Tuft and the full line of liquid soaps from Twig & Horn. Both are all natural!

To wash and block your finished projects, start by filling a sink or bowl with enough lukewarm water to cover your garment. If you are using one of our Tuft Woolens bar soaps, lather the bar in your hand under the running water to disperse the soap throughout the water, or just get the bar wet and lather as shown below. If you are using Twig & Horn Wool Soap, pour 1-2 capfuls of Wool Soap into the water.

 

Fully submerge your piece and squeeze it gently to make sure it takes in the lanolin from the water. Let it soak for 10-20 minutes. Our soaps are gentle and no rinsing is required, so after soaking, drain the water or dump it out, and squeeze gently to remove excess water from the wool. Never wring, stretch, or twist. Lay out a towel that is larger than the garment on a flat surface, then lay the garment flat on top of it. Roll up the towel with the garment inside, then apply pressure to the rolled-up towel to transfer more of the moisture out of the wool and into the towel. After unrolling the towel, the garment is ready to be laid out to dry.

One common misconception is that blocking always requires stretching, pinning and wires. This is only the case for certain projects, such as lace or a decorative edging that has a very specific shape. We actually love this blog from Tin Can Knits about how to block a lace shawl. However, all you need to often do is simply lay out your piece to the dimensions specified in your pattern and let it completely dry just like that.

We’re always fans of keeping it simple! If you are feeling overwhelmed, you should definitely try out one of these new Wool Care Kits from Twig & Horn, which contain everything you need to keep your woolens in perfect condition.

We’re always happy to answer any further questions you have!

*Photos courtesy of Tuft Woolens and Twig & Horn. Please click on either of their links for even more information on their products.

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