Resources > Garment Care > Washing handknits

Washing Handknits


Why wash by hand?

We recommend you hand wash your projects to ensure the longevity of your finished garment, as well as enhance its appearance. Hand washing allows the fibers to relax, encouraging individual stitches into a coherent, flowing fabric. The gentle interaction with your knitting that hand washing provides also draws your attention to the condition of the garment, so you can complete small repairs before they become a problem. 

Although many of the fibers used in Shibui Knits yarns are commonly thought of as machine washable, we still suggest you hand wash them, as the agitation of machine washing can damage the fibers, dulling their shine and increasing the chance of damage.


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Step 1: Soak

Check your hand knits for wear before washing, and make any necessary repairs first.

To wash your hand knits, fill a basin with tepid or cool water – the basin should be large enough to hold your project with at least an inch or two of additional water. Sufficient water is essential to allow your soap or detergent to carry away dirt and oils.

Add the stated amount of your preferred rinse-free wool wash or a gentle soap or shampoo. Swish the soap or detergent in the water to disperse it. For wool and cashmere projects, we recommend using a wool wash with lanolin for additional fabric conditioning. For plant fibers such as cotton or linen, you can use a gentle laundry detergent, but you will need to rinse your project after soaking it.

Place your project in the basin, squeezing gently to help it absorb water. Allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes so the fabric is completely saturated.


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Step 2: Dry

After soaking your project, pour off the water, squeezing your knitting gently against the side of the basin to remove excess water. Remove as much water as you can from your project without wringing or hanging it – twisting can distort the fabric, while the weight of the water can stretch the fabric more than desired. If your soap or detergent requires rinsing, do so now, but be sure to avoid “shocking” your knitting with an abrupt change in temperature – cool or tepid water is the best choice.

When most of the excess water has been removed, place your knitting on a clean towel, then roll up the towel and squeeze to remove more water. When you unroll the towel, the knitting should be only slightly damp to the touch.


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Step 3: Block

Remove the project from the towel and lay flat to dry. Press into shape according to schematic or blocking measurements, and pin in place if necessary. To prevent damage to the fabric, be sure the blocking surface is away from direct sunlight or any heat source. If you are not using blocking mats or a blocking board, towels may be used to absorb the remaining moisture and protect the surface beneath your project.

When your knitting is completely dry – and this can take between 6 and 36 hours depending on temperature and humidity – you can unpin and store your project.