I would always recommend hand-washing in cool water to keep your finished items in good condition for as long as possible, though with any Superwash yarn you can of course pop it into the washing machine if required (I have washed my socks on occasion in the washing machine, they're still looking good colour-wise, but I only do it maybe once or twice a year, doing hand-washes for the most part).
Bleeding and crocking
Before we begin, bleeding and crocking are totally normal (though don't necessarily happen with every colourway or every skein) and can occur with both hand dyed and commercially dyed yarns. They happen when loose dye particles which couldn't heat set into the already-saturated yarn come out in water (bleeding), or onto your hands as you're working with it (crocking).
I rinse as many excess dye particles out of my yarn after it has finished the heat setting process as I can, but due to the way some dye particles behave, there could always be some left behind that will release during the lifetime of the yarn. They may not always come out in that first rinse, despite thorough rinsing before it leaves me and gets to you ❤️
Bleeding: I don't usually encounter any bleeding when I block my yarn swatches, or any finished objects I actually complete in my yarn (using a light amount of Soak, always in cold water), but due to the nature and behaviour of some dyes, and other variables such as the hardness of your water compared to mine, you might find some bleeding may occur when soaking.
You can use a colour-catcher when you are soaking your finished item to try to catch loose dye particles which may bleed out of the yarn.
Crocking: I also don't usually encounter any crocking, but this is said to vary for each crocheter/knitter as per the pH on your hands (and if you've recently used any hand cream). Any dye transferred onto your hands while working with any yarn will wash off with soap.
The yarn wholesalers I use are committed to sourcing all of their wool from farms which comply with high animal welfare standards.
My main yarn base - BFL, Bluefaced Leicester - is a British breed of sheep and is all sourced from individual farms in the UK by the British Wool Marketing Board, and graded to ensure its high quality.
Any Merino I use is certified as mulesing free, mainly from Australia, and they source the remainder from South America and South Africa where mulesing is not practiced. Their Kid Mohair is sourced from South Africa, and Alpaca is from Peru from small family owned smallholdings.
The Superwash yarns I use are treated using the Hercosett process, and my wholesalers only use reputable companies to superwash their fibres, who hold ISO14001 accreditation and/or engage in best practice with regard to environmental performance and waste water treatment and re-use.
If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to get in touch using the Contact form.