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Care & Finishing of Our Yarns

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is: "How do I care for the piece I just wove?"  The answer varies based on the fiber content, so we will share based on each of our yarn types below.

Alpaca

Hand wash in cool water. Air dry. Use a warm iron to finish.

Some of the darker colors of Ode and our 3/10 alpaca yarn can occasionally bleed, so we recommend making sure to do your first washing in cool water. Because alpaca is a more delicate, animal fiber, we recommend hand-washing in the sink with some gentle soap suitable for wool garments. Let the alpaca cloth soak in the soapy water for a while, and gently rinse it until the water runs clear. Squeeze the excess water out, or roll the item in a very absorbent towel and press to remove the excess moisture—never twist or wring. Lay flat on a towel to dry. You can use a warm iron if you’d like. Our alpaca comes out so delightfully soft after it is wet-finished.

Cotton

Machine wash cold and air dry or tumble on low.

Our 100% cotton yarn is quite sturdy. This includes Mallo, Beam, 8/2 cotton, 8/4 cotton, and 8/8 cotton.

You can machine wash and machine dry projects woven with these yarns with regular laundry soap and they will hold up very well through repeated washings. Because of its thick, slubby nature, Mallo does shrink quite a bit in the first wash. This makes your finished piece even softer and more sumptuous, but make sure to plan for shrinkage when you are designing your piece. Please also see our blog post on Sampling for Take-up and Shrinkage.

Linen & Linen Blends

Machine or hand wash in cool water. Air dry to best preserve the longevity of linen. Use a warm iron to finish.

Our 100% Linen and cotton/linen blends (including Duet and our Italian Cotton Linen) can be washed in a machine on a delicate setting with regular laundry soap, or by hand. You can choose whether you would like to machine dry or line dry. Linen often comes out of the dryer a bit wrinkly, but a quick steam iron makes it soft and smooth. Repeated use and washing makes linen softer and softer over time.

Silk

Hand wash in cool water. Air dry. Use a warm iron to finish.

Our silk noil yarn shouldn't be machine washed. Hand-wash with a gentle soap, and lay flat to dry. A warm iron once it is dry will bring out the shine.

Wool

Hand wash in cold water with a gentle soap suitable for wool, and lay flat to dry.

With wool, such as Array and Suffolk wool, you need to be most careful to avoid felting. Felting happens with sudden changes in temperature (ie: plunging into hot water), changes in PH (which can happen with soap), and agitation. We recommend hand washing gently with a soap that is suitable for wool, gently rinsing, and laying flat to dry. Unless, of course, you’re trying to felt your piece! In that case, hot soapy water and lots of agitation will be the name of the game.

General Tips for Wet Finishing Handwoven Cloth

  • All of the yarn in our shop is dyed with high quality dyes that are meant to be as wash-fast as possible—we have few complaints about dyes bleeding with the first wash. However, sometimes dark colors do still bleed into light colors - dark blues and dark reds are the most likely culprits for this. We recommend doing an initial wash in cold water to avoid bleeding. Using a color catcher (looks like a dryer sheet, found in the laundry aisle of your grocery store) in the washer or sink can also help arrest bleeding issues.
  • Most of the yarn in our shop is dyed with wash-fastness as a priority over light-fastness, as weavers typically make garments or home textiles that need to be able to stand up to repeated washing. This means that if you create a piece of art, you want to avoid hanging it in direct sunlight/using it as a curtain etc., unless some amount of fading is acceptable to you.
  • All fibers will change from their loom state once they have been washed, so what you see on the loom and how it feels once it's been finished will likely be very different—most often softer and lovelier after wet finishing than before!