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Our Top 5 Best Superwash Merino Wool Yarn Tips

Superwash merino wool yarn, like Yarnalia Wooly, is the fashionista of fibers. Treated to prevent felting during washing, these yarns have a glossy, luminous finish that make the simplest patterns look luxurious. While this yarn is super easy to care for, there are some things that beginner knitters and crocheters should to keep in mind while working with it. Read on for our top five tips for working with superwash merino wool yarn.



Superwash merino wool yarn is treated to remove the scales from the surface of the woolen fibers. While non-superwash wool can feel fleecy or even prickly, superwash wool is super comfortable to wear. The treatment process gives superwash merino wool yarns a smooth finish that also makes the fiber more slick, which means that stitches may be too slippery for metal needles. Using grippier bamboo or wooden needles will help keep your stitches in place. Because it’s so smooth, superwash merino wool can also help you knit more quickly—but you’ll need to keep a close eye on your knitting, as dropped stitches will also unravel more easily.


Superwash merino wool yarns

Superwash wool behaves differently than untreated wool. When it goes through the treatment process, the fiber loses its crimp, which means that it is less elastic. Superwash merino wool yarns are often spun with added twist and multiple plies to add bounce back into the fiber. Wooly is an example of a classic 4-ply construction, which creates a lofty, rounded strand. When working with Wooly, you’ll want to make a swatch to test how it will work with your pattern, especially if you’re substituting it for the yarn used in the original design. Because of the difference in the fiber, you may discover a slight difference to your fabric, such as a longer or shorter row gauge, and you’ll need to make adjustments accordingly.



One of the best things about working with superwash merino wool yarn is how easy it is to care for. After wearing, you can toss it right into the washing machine on a delicate cycle—in fact, machine washing helps projects knitted in superwash wool retain their shape! Blocking is also a key step in finishing projects knitted in superwash merino wool yarn, so it’s important to decide ahead of time how you plan to wash your project after it’s finished. The approach you use will affect the look and feel of your project.

Compare the three swatches pictured above: The swatch on the left has not been blocked; the middle swatch was machine-washed on a delicate cycle and laid flat to dry; the swatch on the right was machine-washed and -dried on a delicate cycle. As you can see, the texture of each swatch changed dramatically. The rows in the air-dried swatch got longer, with smooth, even stitches. The rows in the machine-dried swatch got shorter, and the stitches look fluffy and plump. How you choose to block your project is up to you, but keep in mind that changing how you wash it will affect the overall look. (Keep in mind that projects will wear out faster the more often you machine-dry them.)


Superwash merino wool yarns’ smooth finish allows stitch patterns to take center stage. The descaling process removes the fuzzy halo characteristic of most wools, revealing every detail and dimension of your handiwork. Whether you’re working with textured knit/purl patterns, cables, or garter stitch, choose superwash merino wool yarn whenever you want to place the focus of your project on the knitting or crocheting itself. One thing to keep in mind, however: Because stitches worked in superwash merino wool yarn are so visible, any mistakes or uneven stitches will be more noticeable as well. Most irregularities will even out in blocking, but you should still take care while you’re working to maintain an even gauge.



Superwash wool absorbs dye more easily than non superwash wool, which produces yarns with clear, saturated colors. This also creates a lot of nuance when dyeing specific shades. (The Wooly collection includes seven neutral colors, allowing you to find just the right shade of gray or beige for your favorite neutral knits.) When working with superwash merino wool yarns, choose a project that lets those colors shine – whether it’s high-contrast stripes or a tonal fade, complex colorwork or a single statement shade.

Yarnalia Wooly was made for sweater season. Are you knitting a sweater in Wooly? Tag us on Instagram @yarnalia so we can see what you’re working on!

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