Imagined you have just finished a baby afghan for you first grandchild. You have worked on it for months, using every moment of free time to ensure it was finished before the blessed event happen. The day finally arrived and you hold it up smiling knowing you are finally finished, then you notice a slight odor that smells like your hands. The closer you observe you realize that in the process of crocheting your hands may have perspired more than you were aware of and messed the yarn up a bit. Or you have a cat or dog that loves to lay by your feet and the afghan got covered with pet hair or saliva.

All that work, what do you do? This is when you need to STOP and go back to the yarn label and read the laundry instructions. Contrary to what some people believe not all yarn items can be placed in a washer and dryer. Yarn today is not all natural fibers, some are man made and require different care.
A person could ruin weeks of work with one load of laundry. How do I know how and which way to wash my crochet items?

Did you know that all yarn labels will have washing instruction written on them? Most yarns companies today use the universal care symbols. I added a link from Lyons Yarn web sight with a list of all the symbols for easy printing. It would be in your best interest to keep the yarn label for easy references for use in the future.

Did you know that different yarn requires different care? For example most wool yarn has as its recommended method of cleaning as dry cleaning. By doing this it helps prevent against shrinking and that fuzzy look.

I have a scarf that is made of 96% Acrylic and 4% Metallic Polyester. This yarn is safe for cool machine washing and tumble dry at a gentle, low heat.

Some cotton yarn is recommended to only hand wash and then to air dry laying flat.

As you can see, there are many different kinds of regular and speciaity yarns today. Remember general instructions are for the care of a specific brand and type of yarn.

Here are some helpful tips that might help.

When in doubt, hand wash in cold water and then air dry. Do not take the chance in the washer and dryer.

I keep a small notebook that I keep a list of different yarns in and how the companies recommend I wash them. This way I always have it for easy reference when I wash an item laying about my home.

You could keep the yarn labels in a file box for easy access when needed.

I personally look over the care instructions before I buy the yarn. If I am making a project and I love a yarn that is hand washable only, I always ask myself if it is practical for that specific item I want to crochet. Example: If I am making an afghan for a queen size bed, do I really want to always be washing something that huge and heavy by hand.

If a yarn is dry clean only, and you are making a gift for someone. Ask your self if that person could afford to have the item dry-cleaned routinely.

In the last few years I have learned it is wise to always include washing instructions for any crochet item I give away as a gift or sale.

I hope some of these tips and my post were helpful. The next time you finish a project remember it is just as important how you care for you crocheted item as it is how you constructed your stitches.

Until next week, keep those hooks flying.