Friday, November 04, 2011


It would seem that I owe everybody an apology.

When I am doing a lot of knitting, I use hand lotion.  My favorite kinds are Udderly SMOOTH, Bert's Bees Hand salve, and Bag Balm.These hand lotions contain mixes of lanolin, olive oil, bees wax, petrolatum, plus blending agents. A project knit over several days is like to see more than one kind, of hand lotion used on it, and possibly all three. The net effect was that all of my knit objects were made of dense yarns, and those dense yarns were impregnated with hydrophobic materials.

When I finish knitting an object, I wash the object with soap and warm water. This is a sink of suds and enough scrubbing to full the wool. It is not gentle.  However, it seems that the washing has not been aggressive enough to remove all of the hand lotion from the core of the yarn. Thus, my knitting is impregnated with lanolin and other hydrophobic materials from the get go.  It is why water does not wet my knitting.   Even when the hydrophobic materials were washed off the surface of the yarns, a few days of wear would bring the lanolin and etc out of the core of the yarn, and the yarn would be water repellent again.

However, this does not change the fact, that more loosely knit (and oiled) fabrics are not weatherproof. A rain drop hits them and breaks into tiny droplets that go right through a loosely knit garment.  In contrast, when a rain drop hits a tightly knit garment, the raindrop breaks into tiny droplets that are stopped by the tight knitting.  When I did comparisons between objects knit on small needles similar objects knit on big   (i.e., recommended ) needles, both were were knit using the same mix of hand lotions, thus both were equally oiled. It is jut that I already moved to knitting with hand lotions before I started working with finer needles.

Tighter is warmer was and is a valid result.


=Tamar said...

Tighter is definitely warmer even in acrylic. Long years ago I had a tightly knitted acrylic sweater and it did indeed shed a light rain, and was warmer than other sweaters. It definitely wasn't oiled.

Einar Svensson said...

A loosely knit fabric can also produce a weather-proof jumper, and one that is more durable than even a very tightly knit jumper. (This is a bit of a riddle for you).
Kind regards, Einar