Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Soften Scratchy Yarn

I love yarn.

I have a HUGE stash that keeps growing.

Did I mention that I love yarn?

But, lets face it, the most durable, most economic, and most forgiving yarn isn't usually the softest, or nicest yarn. I love acrylics because they're durable. They make great baby blankets. And, we all know that with babies comes laundry. Blankets (or anything for that matter) made with acrylic hold up well when washed and dried.

I noticed something after washing an acrylic crochet blanket. It softened up. A lot. It was so nice.

This gave me an idea. What if I washed the yarn before I crocheted with it?!

So, I tried it. What do you know, it worked!



Pin It


It's a simple as that!

I now toss all my scratchy acrylic yarn in a lingerie bag every time I'm using it for a project.

Try it...I promise you won't be disappointed.


73 comments:

Amy F said...

Did you use detergent?

Charmain said...

Amy - I use my regular liquid detergent (we like Tide and Arm & Hammer around here). In fact, when I wash my yarn, I toss the full lingerie bag in the wash with the rest of my laundry.

If I'm making a baby blanket for someone else, I'll wash it separate and either use less detergent or Dreft (since babies can have sensitive skin).

Hope this helps!

Christine Gant said...

Wow, I love this idea! Especially since I bought a huge box of yarn at an online auction and it has an odd odor to it.... so I have been reluctant to use it. Now I've got to get a lingerie bag.

Patrice said...

Brilliant! I find that an unscented fabric softener sheet in the dryer helps soften a piece AFTER I've crocheted it. Would you recommend using one BEFORE as well?

Tutus & Tea Parties said...

Oh my word! I am so psyched about this! You're brilliant!

I'd LOVE for you to share: http://tutusandteaparties.blogspot.com/2012/03/pinteresting-party-week-30.html

Charmain said...

Christine - this would be the perfect way to get the funky odor out of the yarn!

Target sells one for $1.49. - http://www.target.com/p/Room-Essentials-Basic-Mesh-Lingerie-Washing-Bag/-/A-13765508?reco=Rec|pdp|13765508|ClickCP|item_page.adjacency&lnk=Rec|pdp|ClickCP|item_page.adjacency

Charmain said...

Patrice - Since I toss mine in with the rest of my laundry. It usually ends up in the dryer with a dryer sheet. I'm sure it helps soften it up!

Charmain said...

Tutus & Tea Parties - thanks for the invite to your link-up party! I'll head over there and share!

Tutus & Tea Parties said...

I did it today and it is great! So glad I can still buy that yarn now! PS- I am going to be featuring this post on this week's link party {on Saturday}. :) Thanks for linking up.

Charmain said...

Fantastic! I'm glad it worked for you! Thanks for the feature - I look forward to seeing it! :)

Allison Hoffman said...

Great idea! I shared it on my Facebook page. Can't wait to try it!

Annie said...

I am so going to try this. I have some yarn that is just so rough it hurts my hands to crochet with it. Makes me want to pitch it. I am trying this first, Thanks a bunch

Sarah said...

I as well have a lot of yarn, my family gives me a hard time. I'm just happy that I'm not the only one in the world with a addiction to yarn!

Dusty Mills said...

A tip for washing acrylics that I learned through my spinning guild:

Fabric softeners can ruin the "memory" of acrylic yarn and cause it to not hold its shape. I learned that the hard way through ruining two sweaters. They were perfect when I finished knitting them but after drying them with a dryer sheet they came out all floppy and sloppy.

Charmain said...

Allison - Thanks for sharing! What is the link to your FB page so I can like it?!

Charmain said...

Sarah, do you keep the little balls of yarn left after finishing a project? I can't seem to part with it. We make lots of pom-poms around here to "use up" the leftovers!

Charmain said...

Dusty - thanks for the tip! This is good to know. I somewhat expect my acrylic blankets to take a lot of abuse because I have little kids, but I'll remember this for gifts and nicer projects.

Patrice - It sounds like Dusty's comment may give you a better answer to your question!

Anonymous said...

I was so excited to find this. However, I have one problem that maybe someone can help me with. One year for christmas a friend who didn't know much about yarn bought me a bunch of assorted acrylic yarn. I was at the time a beginning knitter so thinking I would save time I rolled all the yarn into balls. Will this still work? Im worried since the yarn is not as exposed it won't work as well. Does anyone have thoughts?

Charmain said...

hmmm...Maybe you could roll up a dishtowel and wrap the yarn (loosely) around that and wash it. Then roll it back into a ball when you're done. The lingerie bag is nice because it will keep the yarn contained if it happens to go rogue on you in the washer! Good luck!

Miranda said...

BRILLIANT! Can't wait to try this!

Rosella said...

I think I am "giddy" LOL I want to try this but I just keep picturing a HUGE ball of snarl in the washer... Throwing caution to the wind and getting out that old lingerie bag - softer yarn? HERE I COME!

Charmain said...

LOL Rosella! I thought that same thing the first time I tried it. I promise it comes out fine (as long as its in a lingerie bag)!

Lanie said...

I cannot wait to try this - I like using Red Heart yarn because of the great colors (and cheap) but don't use it often because of the 'scratchy factor'. Cannot wait to try this. Thanks so much!!

Katie @ Little Becky Homecky said...

Featuring you tomorrow on Fantabulous Friday @ Little Becky Homecky! Be sure to stop by and grab a button!!

Earning My Cape said...

This is awesome! I am sooo going to have to try it!

Charmain said...

Thanks for the feature, Katie!

robyn devine said...

love this tutorial! i found you via pinterest, and i'm sharing this on my blog on Sunday! (links back to your blog, natch)

Anonymous said...

I have crocheted for years and if a project is important, I stay away from "cheap" yarn. Thanks for the tip. I will definitely try this.

Jolynn's Hobby Shop said...

brilliant idea loved it so much shared it on blog here http://jolynnshobbyshop.blogspot.com/2012/04/girl-and-her-needle-soften-scratchy.html

NEW FOLLOWER to your blog
Thank you =)

Charmain said...

Jolynn, thanks for sharing and featuring my tip on your blog!

Liz Svoboda said...

So, I tried this and the skeins came out of the dryer really wet. Am I doing something wrong? The yarn does feel softer though.

Charmain said...

Liz, the dryers was using runs REALLY hot. You may want to see if you can loosen the skein up a little more and dry it again. Good luck!i hope this works for you!

Crystal_Penny said...

I am definitely going to have to try this! I featured it on my page here if you would like to see it :) https://www.facebook.com/CrystalPennyCreations

Anonymous said...

I have always kept baby powder with my projects, I rub it on my hands and fingers periodicly while I am crocheting or knitting. Really helps. But, I am going to try this also.

Linda said...

Love the idea but I don't have a clothes dryer. Not sure the middle would dry properly hanging it on the line!!

Charmain said...

CrystalPennyCreations - thanks for featuring my tip!

Charmain said...

I love the idea of using a little baby powder. Especially if your hands get a little clammy when crocheting.

Linda - you're right, this probably isn't the best solution if you don't have a dryer. Although, I'd LOVE to see a pic of your skeins of yarn pinned to a clothesline!

Sara said...

Great idea! Hope you won't mind me linking up at Tangled Happy tomorrow. Thanks for sharing this brilliant idea! Wishing you a very happy Thursday. :)

TracyMB @ Crows Feet Chic said...

I'm nominating you for the Nobel Prize... this is fabulous!! Thanks so much! (Found you via Tangled Happy) :)

Charmain said...

Thanks for the feature, Sara! You have a fantastic site!

Becca said...

What a great idea! I stopped using red heart super saver because I hated the way it felt when I was working with it-my hands got sore. Now I may try it again.

Charmain said...

LOL! Tracy! Thanks for the nomination - I'll take it! :)

Becca - I hope this works for you! It really does make working with the yarn a little more tolerable.

Angela said...

This is a great idea--thanks!

WandaPie@Yahoo.com said...

If you need a lingerie bag for this purpose, you can use an empty mesh fruit bag. A safety pin pulling the ends in works as well as a zipper for this purpose.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any suggestions on how to do this if you do not have a washer but may need to wash by hand?? Thanks.

Tracey said...

Hi Charmaine, I'm a beginner at knitting - if I did this before I knitted with the yarn - do you think I'd need to block the finished item?
Thanks in advance :)

Roberta said...

For those who have to wash by hand or whose yarn was wound into a ball -- try winding the yarn around your arm (from your hand, down and around your elbow, and back up to your hand, repeat til end of yarn is reached) Then you take the big "circle" of yarn and tie small bits of yarn at several points around the "circle" to hold the yarn together. Now you can either put it in a lingerie bag or put it in the sink and wash it by hand. It will probably hang quite nicely out on the line and dry just fine by clothes pinning it in a couple of places (or 3). Hope this helps out. Some skeins of yarn come this way and look like a kind of twist when you see them in the store. Once you open up the twist, it looks a lot like what I described. If you aren't sure what it should look like, just go into a local yarn shop and have them open one of the skeins that are in a twist and you will see what I mean by a "circle" of yarn.

leolaura said...

Red Heart now has a soft yarn and I love it! I never use the regular Red Heart because I didn't like the stiffness of it.

C. Marie said...

I Washed mine in a small bag & the whole skein came undone! What did I do wrong? Lol

Anonymous said...

I followed your instructions to the letter. My yarn is softer but it's also in one GIANT KNOT. Maybe I am missing something but this didn't work for me. Dissapointing.

Anonymous said...

I recently crocheted 2 huge afghans for grandsons with the Red Heart Super Saver and they were so soft after I laundered them. I mentioned to my husband that I wished I could launder the yarn first, never dreamed I actually could. I will definitely try it.

Krissy said...

Have you ever had it tangle into a huge awful mess? Because I can't help like feel like that would happen.

Elle May said...

I found this on pinterest and it was perfect timing because a prego friend of mine bought me some red heart to make her a blanket. I was excited to find that I could soften the yarn before using it, because after playing with it a moment I found it was so scratchy it was hurting my hand as I pulled it through. When I pulled it out of the wash, it had twisted itself around my towel from inside the bag! (I thought washing it with a towel or 2 wouldn't be so washful of water) It came out like this:

http://pinterest.com/pin/72620612712984097/

And I'm a little wary about even drying it. And its not much softer than before. :( I'm a little sad. Hopefully after I get it all untangled and made into a blanket, it will be softer once washed again.

~Em

ilse ryan said...

so revolutionary, best new idea about yarn i have seen, thanks, sure will try this.

Jandee Michelson said...

I also ended up with a giant tangle since it did come undone in the bag. It was somewhat softer but totally unusable :( Also it was not as soft as just paying the extra buck for the soft yarn.

Snooky said...

If the laundry bag is too big it might give room for yarn to tangle. Try the leg of a pair of panty hose or some knee-hi's.

Cheryl is Knitting said...

I am definitely going to try this. However you answered another question I had. I just knitted a baby blanket and I want to wash it and dry before I give it to her. Do I dry it on low medium or high. I sure hope this Pound of Love blanket softens up. She wants to bring baby home in it.

Nicola Trumbull said...

Hi!
I'm the editor of a free crochet pattern site called AllFreeCrochetAfghanPatterns.com and I just love this crochet tip! I'd love to feature it on my site with a link to you - I know my readers would just love it.

Let me know if this would be okay and if you have any questions!


Nicola Trumbull, Editor
www.AllFreeCrochetAfghanPatterns.com
ntrumbull (at) primecp (dot) com
Prime Publishing LLC
3400 Dundee Road
Northbrook, IL 60062
847-205-9375 Main | 847-513-6099 Fax

Bama Chic said...

I am SERIOUSLY about to cry!!! I washed my yarn like 11 skeins and now I have a GIANT HUGE knot :( HELP please tell me that I'm not the only person to ever have this happen...

griotheminotaur said...

I'd love to soften my acrylics...but before I ever knew you could do that I balled them up. Would this method work on balled up yarn or should I just unwind in then re-wind it as a hank?

Edna Lochamy said...

I just washed my RH camo yarn as you described and ended up with a HUGE mess. I put 2 skeins in a zippered lingerie bag and wash and dried.

It is now 1 huge knot!! I have been sitting for 2 hrs trying to pull it apart!

What a waste of my time! Not sure why this worked for everyone else..but next time..I will crochet the item and then wash.

good grief!!

Charity said...

I am in the process of washing about 10 skeins of red heart super saver yarn.....All are snuggled tightly in pajama pants legs each tied with a hair tie at each end so they do not move. (I didn't have any panty hose lol, but it would work much better with panty hose). This method they don't unravel and get all knotted up!

Charmain said...

Sorry to those who have had trouble with this method! I've found when they are tight in the lingerie bag (mine fits about 3 skeins), they seem to hold their shape better. If they have any wiggle room they are more likely to ball up into a mess.

Charity - your PJ Pant idea sounds like it would work. Thanks for sharing - let us know how things turn out!

Janet Lemaire said...

I found this method out recently, and totally by accident. I spilt Pepsi on a huge ball of yarn and threw it in a pillow case to wash. It came out so soft. I did have to rewind it, as it came out messy, but it is soft enough for baby idems now. Great save.

Janet Lemaire said...

I found this method out recently, and totally by accident. I spilt Pepsi on a huge ball of yarn and threw it in a pillow case to wash. It came out so soft. I did have to rewind it, as it came out messy, but it is soft enough for baby idems now. Great save.

Timeflies54 said...

I am half way finished with the second slipper for a grandson. It is made with Redheart cameo yarn. It is super scratchy. I thought I would wash them "gently" in the washing machine in a lingerie bag. Some have said they had trouble doing this. I have a front loader machine. Could this be a possible problem for the knotting of the skeins? Or did they wash the skeins in a top loader on a small cycle? If the machine beat the yarn to death during the washing cycle it would be understandable why they knotted up.
Maybe I will wash/soak the slippers by hand. It is just nice to know that I can soften the yarn before I give them as a gift!

Tanya said...

A great idea from another group I'm in was to put the skein in a cheap pair of pantyhose before washing - like the knee high stockings you can get at Walgreens or Walmart for really cheap. That keeps the skein from getting all knotted.

Tanya said...

A great idea from another group I'm in was to put the skein in a cheap pair of pantyhose before washing - like the knee high stockings you can get at Walgreens or Walmart for really cheap. That keeps the skein from getting all knotted.

Beckey said...

Yah! My 2 year old grandson dumped a drink in my yarn bag and I was afraid several skiens were ruined. So going to give this a try! Thanx!

Beckey
http://www.etsy.com/shop/queenbsbusywork

christie said...

I am having issues with my entire skein drying all the way. I used pantyhose and the inside is still wet. I have dried it like 3 times by now. Lol

chen xiang 86 said...

Brilliant! I find that an unscented fabric softener sheet in the dryer helps soften a piece AFTER I've crocheted it. Would you recommend using one BEFORE as well? Women's Corsets and Bustiers

Annie Russell said...

This sounds fantastic! Can't wait to give it a try. Thanks for sharing it here!

iShikari_ said...

mmmm, do you think this would also work with polyester wool!!??