Thursday, January 2, 2014

Caring for knitted garments

Today I am very happy to welcome Natalie of Aunty Nat's Knits to talk about how to care for knitted wool pieces. I asked Natalie to write for my readers knowing that she has plenty of experience! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us Natalie.



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Mention knitted clothing to some people and the first thing they say is 'They're so hard to care for!'

They're not really you know. Wool being a natural anti bacterial means that your woollies only need to be washed when they get dirty, as dirty woollies attract pests, or they start to smell a bit.

And washing is easy.  This is how I take care of mine. Depending on how many you've got to wash you can either use the laundry tub or a bucket.  Try to wash 'like' colours together just in case of any excess dye run - you wouldn't want your favourite baby cardigan to end up a different colour.  
I usually use a bucket for mine so here's what I do. Simply fill your bucket with warm water, not so hot that you can't put your hand in it - and the wool wash of your choice; my favourite is Soak, available in a number of different scents and also scentless.  Check the instructions on your wool wash as to whether you need to rinse your garment once it has been washed - with Soak, you don't need to rinse.  Make sure you have enough water in your bucket so that your woollies will be fully submersed. Place them in the water and hold under the water until air bubbles stop coming to the top - this way your woollies will stay under the water.


How long you leave them in there is up to you but I like to leave mine in for at least half an hour, but its usually longer as I forget about them!  
Once they've soaked for long enough, prepare your drying station. You'll need at leat one, if not 2, towels. Lift your woollie garment out of your bucket, supporting as much of it as you can in your hands so that it's not hanging down, reducing the risk of stretching. SQUEEZE as much water out of your garment as possible - DO NOT WRING as this can cause felting and runs the risk of ruining your garment.. Once you've squeezed as much water as you can out, lay it down on a towel - I use a towel folded in half.  Smooth your garment so that it is fairly flat and then roll your towel, with your woollie garment inside, squeezing as you go to get as much excess moisture out as possible.  Again, do not WRING the towel.  You may need to use a 2nd towel if the first one becomes too wet. Once you've squeezed as much water out as you can, it's time to lay your garment out to dry. A clothes airer is perfect if you have one as it lets the air circulate all around.  You may like to lay a towel under the garment to stop it from slipping through the gaps in the airer.  Most of the time I use cake racks - living in an apartment I don't have room for a clothes airer inside and these are the same concept. I have 3 that I bought from KMart that are specifically  for drying woollies. I also have a couple of rubber camping floor mats for items that need to be blocked, such as items with lace. 



Gently push your woollie garment into shape to dry. Be sure that you garment is not in direct sunlight as this can cause the wool fibres to deteriorate over time.  Leave to dry, which depending on where you live and what season it is, could be overnight (as it is sometimes here in Brisbane) or a day or 2.   Once dry, either fold and put away until the cool weather comes or put on straight away and enjoy! 
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All the beautiful garments you see above are currently for sale in Natalie's Handmade shop.
You can also find her on her busy Facebook page.

1 comment:

Nell said...

A great article. I think there is a common misconception that woolens are tricky to care for. I wash in cold water so often just put my woolies into a lingerie bag and through the washing machine on a gentle cold cycle then spread out to dry as Natalie has suggested.