Washing and Blocking your Scarf
If your Scarf is made from an acrylic yarn (Vanna’s Choice, for example), you’re home free.
Throw it in a washing machine on ‘gentle wash’, take it out, roll it in a towel and leave in a warm, dry place to dry. Or hang in a warm, draft free area.
Do not machine dry or you risk melting your Scarf!
If your Scarf is made from an animal fiber (wool, alpaca, cashmere) you’re gonna have to take a little more care with it if you want it to last.
Please, please, do NOT dry clean your Scarf.
Please do NOT use Woolite to wash your Scarf.
Your Scarf is made of natural materials and should be treated kindly.
I recommend washing your Scarf with a very small amount of mild soap (or your favorite shampoo) in COLD water. If it feels slightly rough to you, please condition with a white vinegar rinse or your favorite hair conditioner.
Some people have very expensive washing machines that claim to have a ‘delicate wool’ setting.
Use these at your own risk.
If the yarn used in the making of your Scarf claims to be machine washable, again, I’d advise machine washing at your own risk.
I prefer to wash my scarves by hand and use a washing machine to spin the water out of them between rinses.
To do this, first find a washing machine that has a manual ‘spin’ cycle and check it to make sure it does not spray water during this cycle. If it sprays water, find another one, or you’ll risk felting your scarf.
Fill a large container (that will hold your Scarf while dry) with cold water and mild soap.
Add the Scarf and gently move it through the soapy water until saturated.
Remove the Scarf, gently squeeze most of the water out and put the Scarf into the washer and hit the ‘spin’ cycle
Refill the container WITH THE SAME TEMPERATURE WATER YOU JUST USED.
Add Scarf and repeat until suds are gone.
If you wish to condition your Scarf, add conditioner to container with water and repeat the above process.
Please do not vigorously agitate or change temperature drastically on an animal fiber Scarf. The combination of agitation and drastic temperature change could cause felting.
Please do NOT place your Scarf in the dryer. If you do, you risk both felting and shrinking.
A lot of people are confused by the term ‘blocking’. In simple terms, blocking is altering the shape of a wet, knitted, animal fiber garment.
If your Scarf is made of acrylic, you can not block it. If your Scarf is a blend of animal fiber and acrylic, it might block, it might not.
Blocking will not work miracles, but it can add or subtract up to a foot from the length of your Scarf.
If your Scarf is too long, wash it, bundle it in dry towels and leave in a warm place to dry. This will cause the fibers to bunch, shortening your Scarf.
If your Scarf is too short, wash it and hang it to dry. This will cause the fibers to elongate, lengthening your Scarf. Sometimes, I will even pull on or weight a Scarf to elongate it even further.
To be as accurate as possible, a Doctor Who Scarf should be hung to dry or stretched while wet.
If you look at a close up picture of the Scarf, you will see a distinct difference between the knit rows and the purl rows in garter stitch.
Normal unblocked garter stitch appears to be all purl rows as the knit rows (the ‘V’s) recede and the purl rows (the ‘U’s) stand up and the fabric ‘bunches’ up.
In blocked garter stitch, you get almost a ribbed appearance.
Long Term Care and Keeping of Your Scarf
Please store your Scarf out of direct sunlight and if you’re not going to be wearing your Scarf for a significant amount of time, please fold it up and place it in a sealed plastic bag to protect it from moths.
Fair warning; pets LOVE woolen scarves. Please keep your Scarf out of reach.
Please, please, please never expose your Scarf to mothballs. Mothballs are poison and do far more harm than good.
Herbal sachets of moth repelling plants and trunks made of cedar can help. But your best defense is a large Ziploc storage bag.
If you do suspect that moths have gotten at your Scarf, put it immediately into a freezer for a minimum of 48 hours. Then put it into a warm environment for 12 hours (I like using a sealed car in direct sunlight). Then back into the freezer for another 12 hours.
This cold, hot, cold treatment will kill any moths, larvae or eggs.
Seek out an experienced knitter to help you with repairs. Most yarn shops can recommend someone to help.