I’m just starting out in the weaving field. I’ve been making scarves in baby alpaca/bamboo/cashmere/silk/& camel—or some combination thereof. (Mostly baby alpaca and silk, 80/20, with a bit of cashmere.) Here’s the question: I “wash” in good warm water, just below “burning” me, with a bit of soap. I mush them a bit, gently massage them, but mostly let them soak—for maybe 30-40 minutes. Then rinse them well in the same temp. water. Then air dry them. But my scarves don’t shrink—at all. Or very, very little. In fact, they’re sometimes a bit larger!!! And they don’t change radically. T hat is, the yarn sort of “fulls” or enlarges a bit, I guess, and they’re softer after washing, but … I’m not even CLOSE to felting—not that I want to do that. So, does that sound normal? I just read so MANY articles about all the care one has to take to avoid … shrinkage, felting, and whatnot. But (I’m laughing out loud here) mine seem just fine. I guess it “worries me” or maybe just surprises me that my scarves don’t change a lot. Should I be worried?!?!? LOL I guess a part of me wonders if I were doing something different, maybe they’d get softer in the finishing process. You know, I wonder if I’m doing “enough,” seeing as how my scarves don’t change all that much.
I will try to give you a quick answer :^) Some natural fibres will shrink only a small amount, these are cottons, linens, bamboo, sllk and most other yarns that are made from cellulose fibres. There are some animal fibres that like to shrink a lot and others that only shrink a little. Alpaca, Mohair, Camel all have fibre more like hair. It is long and smooth and they do not like to shrink. Wool is crinkly. The more crinkly the wool the more it fulls. Cashmere will bloom or full, but you don’t have much of it in your mix. Merino likes to shrink more than any other wool but if you are looking for a yarn that shrinks make sure it is not superwash. Superwash is a finish that is added to wool yarns so they can be machine washed without shrinking. We sell yarns on the website the shrink very well. Lovely yarns They are Harrisville Shetland; Zephyr Wool/Silk 50/50; and 2/18 Merino wool. Hope this helps.