My friend asked me to show her how I finish an wash my knit samples, so I thought it might be helpful for others in my class and beyond to share how I do it. I did a basic cover of this topic on my instagram (@elfy_arti) but here I will go more in depth with my knowledge and technique.
Part 1. Sew in and trim the loose threads
This part is very important when it comes to washing, if you don't secure the loose threads on your knit you are running the risk of it unraveling in the wash, so the easiest thing to do is sew them back into the knit so they are secure using a large yarn needle.
Part 2. Hand wash
no, you can't just stick it in the machine, your samples have to be hand washed first. You will notice that straight from the machine your knits have a weird smell to them- that is the smell of the oils used on the yarn to make sure it is smooth enough to run through the machine without getting caught. Hand washing your knits removes most of the oils and starts the washing process gently so that your knits don't shrink as dramatically- it also helps them smell better in the end.
You need to wash each knit sample twice by hand, once with fairy liquid to break down the oils and remove the smell. Wash in a basin of lukewarm water, rubbing the knit in your hands vigorously until you are satisfied. Rinse the knit with cold water to wash out the detergent. If you are washing a lot of samples do all of them before changing your water.
Empty the basin and fill with lukewarm water and some gentle washing liquid or wool wash (personally I like to use Morrisons kind and gentle as it has a nice smell) and wash in the same way as before, rinsing out again once done.
Part 3. Now you can stick it in the machine
As there may be residual oils on your samples, I find it best to wash them with towels or something that doesn't mean a lot to you to avoid passing the smell of the oils onto your clothes. of course this isn't a rule, its just a precaution
If your machine has a wool setting it is best to use that, but if not then make sure to wash the samples at 30 degrees or bellow to prevent unwanted shrinkage. Depending on the type of yarn you use there will be shrinkage, but this ensures that it does't shrink more than necessary.
Part 4. Allow to dry
This ones pretty simple, let them dry on a radiator or drying rack.
Part 5. Press them down
Pressing your samples will stop them from curling at the edges and help the yarn rest in its knitted position, you can press using a steam press, but I don't have access to one at home so I use an alternative.
Pin your sample to an ironing board in its shape making sure the tension is even across the whole sample.
hold an iron about 2 cm above the sample and blast it with steam repeatedly for thirty seconds. When you unpin the sample it
will hold its shape!
Now you have some clean, dry and flat samples!