Crochet forum: Washing yarn?

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Jun 24, 2010 7:39 PM CST
Name: Marylyn
Houston, TX
Hi, everyone! I have a weird problem... at least I think it's weird! I've made several dishcloths and 2 market bags with the Sugar 'n Creme cotton yarn. I really like it, but I have found that if I crochet for a long stretch of time, I get hives on my arms. At first I didn't connect the yarn to the hives (the hives appear on the backs of my arms, from my wrist to my elbow - but not on my hands or where I am actually touching the yarn.. I told you it was weird!), but it has happened 3 times now, and it's always while I am crocheting, and always with this yarn. The last time was yesterday, and my throat started swelling up, too, so obviously there is something about this yarn I am very allergic to! It can't be the cotton... so maybe there is some sizing on the yarn?

Assuming it is something like sizing, what is the best way to wash yarn? Should I unroll it and wash it loose? Unroll it and wrap it around a towel or dishcloth? Or leave it rolled up and put it inside a pillow case? Any suggestions?

Of course I figured all of this out AFTER I ordered $50 worth of yarn! I am/was planning on making some more sets of market bags and dishtowels for Christmas presents, but if washing the yarn doesn't work I guess I'll have to sell the yarn and try something else. Bummer.
[Last edited Jun 24, 2010 7:42 PM CST]
Quote | Post #284947 (1)
Jun 24, 2010 8:59 PM CST
Name: Helene Diener
West Coast of Fl.
Try winding the yarn thru your thumb and forefinger down to your elbow and up again through your thumb and fore finger until you have a skein. leave 6-8 inches and then wrap around this skein and tie securely. Wash in machine cold water . unwind over a 6 - 8" piece of plastic or strong cardboard protected by cloth so cardboard won't stain. let dry. Wind it into a round ball. and try using it now.

If problem still presists, it is your nervous system not liking the constant motion of crocheting with cotton yarn because it has absolutely no give, very hard on your upper body. Sell it on e.....Helene
Jun 25, 2010 12:52 AM CST
Name: Marylyn
Houston, TX
Thanks, Helene! I really hope washing it does the trick, but I wonder if you're not right about the nervous system not liking it. I hope not... I'm REALLY enjoying crocheting!!!
Jun 25, 2010 11:22 AM CST
Name: Helene Diener
West Coast of Fl.
I just know, that sometimes if I knit or crochet too long I get red bumps above my wrists. Did think it could be the yarn used at the time - but decided it's the motion causing it. Each person is different. Helene
Try washing one ball and see what happens.
Jun 25, 2010 11:22 AM CST
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
White vinegar in the rinse water will remove sizing from yarn making it a bit softer (at least it does arcylic)
Jul 9, 2010 11:05 AM CST
I had to wash yarn once (was given a bunch that I felt was....less than clean. Of course, I'm too cheap to throw it out *GASP*, so I decided to wash it).

What NOT to do --
-- toss it "as is" into the washer
-- try to unravel it when wet
-- use a washing machine at all!!

What *I* found worked best (and trust me, I'm a total newbie, so if anyone has any better ideas, I'm ALL ears)
-- I wound the entire skein around my forearm (thumb to elbow) and then switched to a foam kneeling pad when my thumb started to ache. I used scrap yarn to secure the loop in at least 4 places. Washed by hand and hung to dry, then balled it when dry. LONG process, but worth it.
Jul 9, 2010 2:32 PM CST
Name: Marylyn
Houston, TX
Thank you, everyone!!! I really appreciate all of the advice! Group hug I went to the doctor when the swelling in my throat just kept getting worse (and scarier), and he put me on a course of steroids. In the meantime I have crocheted a baby blanket and half of another market bag with a different brand of cotton yarn and haven't had any reactions at all Hurray! , so it must be just that yarn. I'm going to wash it this weekend so I can finish the dishcloths I was in the middle of. Smiling
Oct 31, 2011 6:31 PM CST
I've been crocheting with Phentex Craft Cotton & every time I do I get hives. You are not alone. I'll try washing the next ball of yarn.
Oct 31, 2011 9:07 PM CST
Name: Marylyn
Houston, TX
It's a very bizarre reaction... I'm glad to know I'm not the only weird one. Hilarious! I've had it happen with a few kinds of yarn now, but never as badly as the time my throat started swelling. That was quite scary!
Nov 3, 2011 4:20 PM CST
Name: Jay
northeastern New Mexico
Zone 5b, in the foothills @ 7100'
You may be becoming sensitive to the dies in the yarn, too. It will be interesting to see if washing it will help. Big Grin
I have little confidence in any enterprise or business or investment that promises dividends only after the death of the stockholders.

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