Cotton yarn shrinkage problem

by Terry Duncan
(Winston Salem, NC)

I have been trying to create a workable cotton dishcloth on a loom but keep running into the same problem.


1st project - used a round loom to make a dishcloth with a nice border. Finished project was about 10" x 10" and looked awesome. After the first wash and dry, it came out 12" long and 6" wide. Used alternating knit and purl on top and bottom border with purled edges and ewrap middle.

2nd project - used a long loom and made one 8" by 8". After wash and dry, it came out 12" long and 5" wide. Used alternating knit and purl rows only.

I am at my wit's end to know what to do in order to keep it square after drying. Any ideas?

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Jun 24, 2017
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Oh my! NEW
by: TJ

You can tell me I am out of my mind, but if the problem is that big, I would take the labels off the cotton yarn, put them in my mesh ditty bag for the laundry and prewash them. I do this to soften many acrylic yarns so they are easier on my hands to work with and softer for finished baby projects. If you prewash and dry them as you intend to treat them when completed, the shrink should be taken up already. I have several hand crocheted cotton wash clothes, that have not had similar problems, but I mostly use line drying for all my laundry, which may be the difference?

The other option would be more aggressive in steam blocking them with a hot iron? Perhaps steam them more than once and more heavily than they would really need, to build the fiber memory? Not sure how this would work for helping, but can't imagine the frustration of seeing your work mis-shape like that. Have you tried wetting and reblocking them, or is it too far out of the possibility? Also, try to remember that while the shape may not be as you desired, they still feel wonderful and hard to top for special face cloths! Always the option of taking them apart and reworking the cotton yarn after this has happened if you chose.

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