So you’ve woven a lovely new wearable piece with a luxury yarn, such as Ode Alpaca, Sero Silk Noil, or a nice wool such as Array, but you’re nervous about wearing and caring for it. Fear not, dear weaver! While it’s true that these fibers need to be handled gently and shouldn’t be machine washed, that fact shouldn't deter you from wearing your piece. I’m a firm believer in putting my handmade goods to use, no matter how precious they might be. This post will walk you through caring for each of these fibers so you can wear with confidence.
You’ll want to use a gentle soap any time you're washing alpaca, wool, or silk. I like to use Quilt Soap (another form of Orvus Paste), which I’ve also used on antique quilts, wedding dresses, and other delicate fibers. It’s free of dye, phosphates, sulfates, and fragrance. Euclan is another favorite among weavers, but any soap suitable for wool will also work for alpaca and silk.
When it comes to handwovens made with alpaca, wool, or silk, we recommend hand washing in cool, soapy water. You can use your sink or other wash basin. With wool, you need to be most careful to avoid felting, which can happen in sudden changes in temperature (plunging into hot water) or PH (not using a gentle soap). Let your items soak in the water for a while. After soaking, rinse until the water runs clear. Gently squeeze (do not twist) the excess water out, or roll the item in a very absorbent towel and press. Lay the item flat on a towel to dry. You can use a warm (not hot!) iron on the appropriate setting if you’d like, using a pressing cloth (a layer cotton fabric is ideal) for added protection.
Now that you know how to care for alpaca, wool, and silk, you’re ready to try weaving with these lovely yarns (if you haven't already). Here are some of our favorite projects woven with Ode Alpaca, Sero, and Array.
Juxtaposition Scarf by Jennifer E. Kwong