Pakucho Organic Cotton, colour grown, is a naturally pigmented organic Peruvian long staple Pima cotton. It is free of pesticide, toxic chemicals and GMO free.
All the colours will darken when washed in very hot water and machine dried to some degree.
The flammes & sliver fiber will darken a lot more than the smooth plied yarns because they were not washed in the basic fiber process.
Heat is what changes the colour.
If you would like to keep the colour the same we suggest washing your items in cool water with gentle biodegradable soap. Then lay them out flat to dry. Do not put the yarn in the sun for prolonged periods of time or the colour will fade over time.... specifically the colour grown green shades.
If you expose the green to anything acidic, like lemon juice or vinegar it will turn straight to a tan colour. BUT do not worry....All you have to do is wash the item normally and it will turn back to the original colour. Just as the acidic liquid discoloured the green yarn it will go right back with a biodegradable alkaline soap (like most soaps are).
The green also fades into a tan colour over time in the sun as well, so just take a little precaution and your greens will always wear as beautifully as the other shades.
If you wonder about the colour change over many washings and dryings then knit up a small sample to test what it will look like over time before washing your finished project. To speed up the colour change you can boil the cotton in a roomy pot for about 20 minutes. If your water is acidic in anyway you can add a bit of baking soda to make the water more alkaline.
Typical colour grown organic cotton yarn will shrink in length by 10%~15% if you wash the item in hot water and then machine dry it. If you choose to do this then take the shrinkage into consideration with patterns, unless the patterns were made with the organic cotton yarn in mind. If you do not want shrinkage then wash in cool water with gentle biodegradable soap and lay out flat to dry. Testing a small sample will help you determine the results you want.
Dry cleaning is not a good option for any reason due to the the toxic nature of the chemicals used, BUT if you can find a cleaner that uses solely eco-friendly & natural dry cleaning practices then go for it. Otherwise we would suggest either hand washing your finished items or putting them in a roomy lingerie bag in a washing machine set to the gentle cycle, cool water with a little biodegradable soap & a little vinegar (optional).
Then lay out flat to dry. Do not expose botanically dyed colours to prolonged direct sunlight. Avoiding the dryer & heavy sun exposure will help the yarn to hold its beautiful dyed colour. As with most any fiber, harsh heat & damaging UV rays are what make most colours fade over time, especially in the case of cellulose/plant based fibers.
Note: The vinegar is added to help offset the alkaline nature of the soap. It will also help to prevent colour bleeding which is rare. The botanical colours are colourfast, in rare instances colours may bleed in the washing process a little. The vinegar will help in this regard. When knitting with multiple colours in the same project making a small sample and washing it will help determine if there will be any kind of issue.
Sincere thanks to Ecobutterfly for sharing the Organic Cotton care instructions.
Most of us have heard about blocking but don't do it.
I was one of them for a really long time but now understand the many benefits of taking the time to do this process.
Blocking stretches and shapes a finished knitted piece to reach the dimensions suggested in the pattern. This then makes two pieces, that need to match, the same size, or makes your stitches look more even. It is particularly great when done prior to seaming, so much easier when the two pieces are lying flat and not curling up.
Lace almost always needs to be blocked to "open up" the design.
The three methods of blocking are wet, steam and spray.
Cable knitting is a style of knitting in which textures of crossing layers are achieved. The end product looks like twisted rope or criss-crossed trellises.
Felting is when a nonwoven fabric of wool, fur, or hair is matted together by heat, moisture, and pressure. This is definitely not something we want to happen when scouring wool for spinning.
FIBRE: can be divided into three main groups:
1. Cellulose based (plant) – cellulose is the primary building block of all green plants, it forms the structure of the plants’ cell walls. Common examples are – cotton, flax, hemp, ramie and nettle.
2. Protein based – proteins are present in all living structures, from a blade of grass to you and me; they are the workers that make all living things function. The two proteins that create the natural fibres for spinning are keratin, the substance of hair and wool, and fibroin, the structural protein component of silk. Examples are – wool, goat fibres – mohair and cashmere, camels, alpacas, llamas, vicunas, guanacos, angora rabbit, bison, yak, qiviut, tussah silk, bombyx silk.
3. Manufactured – are derived from either natural or chemical components. They can be regenerated fibres from natural sources such as bamboo, soy, milk products or crustacean shells, and synthetic fibres made from any number of sources and created in a lab. Examples are – lyocell, bamboo, soy, casein, nylon, rayon and acrylic.
(Source: The Intentional Spinner: A Holistic Approach To Making Yarn, Judith MacKenzie McCuin)
NIDDY NODDY: (I love the names they give spinning equipment!)
A niddy noddy is a tool to form skeins of yarn, the yarn is wound from the bobbin after plying. It consists of a central bar with two cross bars at each end. The end bars are at a 90° angle to each other.
Is the washing process that removes wool wax (the animals natural grease), suint (perspiration), dirt, dust and other extraneous matter from the fleece. Good scouring is a skilful art. Well done it will retain the fleeces original softness, strength, lustre and brilliance without felting or damaging the fibre.
Over spinning gives yarn a harsh or rough feel.
Under spinning creates a yarn with less strength, which is inclined to rub, or “pill”.
SPUN IN THE GREASE:
Wool can be spun in the grease (fleece straight from the sheep and prior to scouring). Wool left in the grease makes the finished garment waterproof allowing it to be worn even when wet. The yarn for traditional Aran Sweaters was typically left in the grease, a topic I will be covering in a later newsletter. PHOTO – cheeky fleece, skein prior to washing and after washing.
A swatch or tension square simply means the number of stitches per inch/cm. It determines if the gauge of your knitted or crocheted stitches match the required gauge of your knitting pattern. Knit a small sample (approx 10cm x 10cm) using the same pattern, yarn and needles you intend to use for your project.
A continuous strand of twisted threads of natural or synthetic fibres, such as wool or nylon, used in weaving, knitting and crocheting.
My sister-in-law, Kate Punshon, has given us some tips on how to successfully use handspun yarn. Kate has been spinning and knitting her own yarn for around 40 years. She is also the proud owner of four amazing coloured sheep.
Purchase enough yarn to be able to complete your project.
If you run out it may not be possible to purchase the same handspun yarn again. With a little creativity colour variation can be easily incorporated into your pattern; however, ply and /or warp per inch variation will affect garment tension and its final look, feel, length and durability. If it is possible to contact the spinner and have more yarn spun specifically for you be sure to specify the yardage and warp per inch required.
Purchase the right yarn.
It’s important to match the type of yarn with the type of garment and the textural affect and feel you are looking to create. The vegetable fibres - bamboo, cotton, silk, tencel, soy milk and ramie and the animal fibres - wool, alpaca, angora (rabbit), mohair (goat) and cashmere, all have unique qualities which can be capitalised on to produce distinctive garments. Even within the main sheep breeds there are considerable differences in their fleece characteristics which, produce yarn varying from superfine through to coarse hand spun wool. Raw product quality, fibre blends and the deft hands of experienced spinners and dyers produce a rich range of yarns to choose from. However the choice of an inappropriate yarn can produce disappointing results. Choose soft yarns that have not been over spun for garments that will be worn close to the skin, particularly for scarves, gloves and hats. Under spun yarn, and the number of plies, affect the stitch definition and tension. So, for example, a fluffy single ply yarn would not be suitable for a garment with a showcase pattern or fine lacework. When purchasing your yarn find out as much information as you can as this will help you to choose the right yarn for your project.
Check yarn size.
One of the distinguishing features of hand spun yarn is its variation in size. This natural variation can affect the tension, size and drape of your finished garment. To slightly complicate matters further, the size of commercial yarns, which is categorized by their ply rating, is not directly transferrable to hand spun yarns. Wraps per inch or wraps per centimeter is used instead. This is calculated by wrapping the wool continually around a ruler or wrap stick and then to count how many times the spun yarn has been wrapped around an inch or 2.5 cm. Conversion tables provide an equivalent ply rating. (To download a conversion table, that I have saved from Ravelry, click here) To ensure your garment turns out the same as your chosen pattern it is important to check that your hand spun yarn is the equivalent ply and to knit/crochet a tension swatch first and adjust the needle/hook size to obtain the correct tension.
What to look for when purchasing handspun yarns.
• Purchasing hanks as opposed to balls of yarn allows you to inspect it for any faults or inconsistencies more easily.
• Test the strength of the yarn, it should not break or pull apart easily.
• Unless your project calls for a textured yarn, look for yarn that is as even as possible throughout the hank.
• Look for yarns that are suitable for your project and be prepared to pay for quality.
• Look for product information such as type of yarn, dye used, wraps or inch measurements.
• Do not purchase yarns which contain debris as it is very difficult to remove after the yarn has been spun. This vegetable material will cause skin irritations and your lovingly made garment will be relegated to the back of the cupboard.
• Coarse over spun yarns are generally cheaper and are excellent for weaving and rug making but are not suitable for garments.
To read more about Kate’s other passion - agrarian and culinary adventures visit www.rootsrecipesandreasons.com.au
To purchase Wool & Cotton Road hand spun click here.