Things You'll Need
- Finished scarf
- Liquid detergent for washing wool or delicate items
- Flat surface that you can stick pins into
- Rust-proof pins, for blocking lace
Alpaca is one of the warmest animal fibers, estimated three times warmer than wool. In addition, the yarn is very soft, which makes it a good choice for hand-knitted scarves. The final step in creating a knitted scarf is blocking, which is the process of wetting and shaping it into a permanent shape. Because many fibers like alpaca can bloom after washing, many knitters combine washing a finished item with blocking.
Fill a sink or container with lukewarm or cold water. Choose a container that is big enough to hold the scarf without crowding.
Add a small squirt of liquid detergent to the water and gently swish it around. Be stingy with the soap, and do not agitate the water so much that you create a lot of suds.
Add the scarf to the water. Make sure that the entire scarf is immersed in the water. Let it soak undisturbed for 15 minutes. Spread a towel out near the sink or container.
Gather the scarf up into a ball with both hands and gently lift it out of the water. Alpaca is weaker when wet, so make sure that an end is not hanging down. Gently squeeze a little water out of the scarf. To prevent felting, do not agitate or wring the scarf.
Put the wet scarf on the towel, and spread it out a little. Roll up the towel, with the scarf in it, and press out some of the water. The scarf should be wet, but not dripping
Spread the scarf on the flat surface into the desired shape. Let dry.
Lace scarves must be stretched to reveal the pattern. To do this, spread the scarf out on the flat surface and secure a straight edge with the rust-proof pins. Then gently stretch the scarf away from the pins until the lace is open, and you can see the pattern. Secure the other side with pins. Let dry.
You can use any mild soap, or even shampoo.
Susan Brockett worked in the computer industry as a technical writer for nearly 20 years at companies including Motorola and Dell Computer Systems. In addition, her articles have appeared in Society of Technical Communications publications. Brockett has a master's degree in English composition and communications from Kansas State University.