Caring for your Hand Knits
I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve made some really major mistakes in the past when it comes to caring for my hand knits. One of my previous jobs working for a yarn company involved me having to knit my own uniform, refreshing my wardrobe every 6 months for the new fashion season. Totally true!
Sadly, as a result of wearing everything so frequently, I ended up washing them extremely often. This naturally makes the likelihood of a mishap extremely high. Probably half of my garments ended up being ruined, sooner or later. Mistakes I’ve learned from and will never make again. Follow these simple rules and this won’t happen to you – you have my word!
Yes I’ve seen the wool wash on my machine, and I’ve read the label of my yarn, which says it’ll be fine if I bung it in there. But machines are unpredictable – they have a mind of their own. You can try a test swatch in your own machine to define if it is trustworthy, but I honestly wouldn’t risk it.
I use an olive-oil Castille soap, which is naturally moisturising to wool. But there’s nothing stopping you using a moisturising shampoo or conditioner. This works particularly well on rough wools and can help to soften them. Persil’s Silk & Wool (clear bottle, pink lid) is pretty good, too.
Nine times out of ten you won’t need to wash your woollens all that often, so suck it up and do it by hand. You have my permission to spin it in the machine afterwards, inside a pillow cover to take off any excess water. But that’s it.
Moths get everywhere. There may be no warning sign before a hole appears in something, or a creepy crawly takes a bite out of one of your balls of cashmere (I know, stuff of nightmares!) so go in hard! I would strongly recommend cubes of cedarwood, which are available at good home stores.
Scatter them everywhere and dab a bit of grapefruit or eucalyptus oil on them for extra punch. Every few months, dig them out and refresh the oil – this will keep them potent.
Both grapefruit and eucalyptus are anti-microbial too, so they’ll help curb any mildew and damp or musty odours. Win win!