I wouldn’t agitate the hanks–maybe just soak them in Eucalan or Woolite and then spin them out. (And tie them carefully so that there’d be no chance of tangling.) That or I’d hand-wash them.
If there’s going to be shrinkage, though, I think I’d rather the garment shrink than the yarn itself; at least the project would be finished. And the way the current one is knitting up, it’s a little too big anyway. I just don’t like the twiney feel of the hemp as I knit with it. (It does get a little softer as I work with it, though.)
I have heard that both hemp and flax become deliciously soft after a few washings, which was why I dared buy them. Upon first feel, they feel just like a dry loofah. :teehee: