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How to: Care for Your Knits (even if You're Really Lazy)

How To Mar 1, 2016

caring for your knits

Clothing care. Not the sexiest of topics I know, but let’s be honest, when you’re spending hard earned cash on a nice knit you kinda want it to last for a few seasons, or a few decades! In the past I admit that I’ve been a little lax on the knitwear care, mainly because I had a penchant for buying the cheap polyester knits – they didn’t require much care which was a bonus buttttt on the flip side they were so itchy and hot that I’d get a rash within five minutes. Fast forward a few years and I’ve been investing a little more in the knitwear in my closet – I’ve invested in a few Grana Cashmere and Wool ones – and with that comes a need to step up in terms of care. You only have to pull a pricey knit out of your closet and have it moth eaten or stained once to start thinking about how to look after them.

Butttttttt whilst my knit budget may have increased, the amount of time I have to look after them has stayed pretty much steady, so I wanted to share with you guide to caring for your knits, with options for the lazy and not so lazy, so you’ve still got time to enjoy yourself!

In my knitwear wardrobe: Cashmere Boyfriend Sweater in Grey and Moss, Merino V Neck Sweater in Navy and Black, Cashmere Boyfriend Cardigan in Grey and Black (this with jeans is my studio uniform when it’s chilly… brrr).

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR KNITS (EVEN IF YOU’RE LAZY AF)

Cleaning

The best news ever is that wool and cashmere are best not dry-cleaned because of the damage hash chemicals can do to the yarn. Winning! I’m not a fan of dry cleaners ($$$) so this suits me. Although, washing is by far the most time consuming element when it comes to looking after your knits, and the generally accepted advice is to wash your knits by hand. Therefore:

If you’ve got time…

  1. Add a tablespoon of wool wash to a sinkful of tepid water.
  2. Turn the garment inside out; submerge, swish, then soak for 10 minutes.
  3. Rinse twice, pressing out the water.
  4. Lay the garment on a clean towel and roll it up to extract water. Unroll and let dry on a new towel or a mesh rack. Reshape, or ‘block’ the knit (meaning: you can adjust the fit slightly bigger or smaller, and as the garment dries it will set in place).

Ohhh you can also make a DIY Wool and Cashmere Wash (this is taking the time element to another level I know). Simply mix together 4 tablespoons of soap flakes or grated soap, 1 cup of hair conditioner and 10 drops of essential oils in a cup of boiling water. Vanilla oil is perfect because it makes your sweaters smell like cake. Another hack? Add a few caps of vinegar to your water to make your sweater fluffy!

If you’re feeling lazy (and lucky)…

If you’re in a pinch for time, in my experience you can machine wash your pieces. To do this properly I follow the advice from here and a) set my washing machine to Woolens/Delicates and make sure it’s on cold and b) wash it in a mesh bag c) turn my wool pieces inside out. I then lay it flat as per above and never ever everrrrr tumble dry unless I’m keen to make an outfit for a Barbie doll.  Full disclosure though – it IS safest to hand wash, particularly if we’re talking about an expensive piece.

De-pill

Surprisingly, pilling (aka those annoying little balls) on cashmere and wool is not a sign of poor quality or a design fault but actually a natural characteristic of the fibres. It doesn’t look that great though and can make your piece seem pretty dingy, which is why if you’ve got time, take a moment on the sofa to de-pill. Better to de-pill than throw out right… Perhaps Netflix and depil could become a thing?

If you’ve got the gear…

Equipped with a wool or cashmere comb? Lucky you! The Grana cashmere sweaters come with so I have a few now (at just under $100 for a cashy sweater can you blame for me going overboard?). Simply glide the comb ‘screen’  – surprisingly cashmere combs don’t have teeth at all – across the pilled areas. The comb picks up loose fibers and gathered yarn and makes your sweater all fresh and new again. But try not to overdo it! You don’t want a balding sweater now do you?

If you’re gear-less…

Lost that little comb that came with your sweater, or never had one in the first place?  A pumice stone works like a charm if you gently run it across the surface of your knit. You can do the same thing with a comb or even Velcro!

Excited about the new cashmere cardigans, perfect for when you want to wear something nice (like a lace cami) but have the option of being a little warmer.

Store

The main thing for storing your knits during the colder seasons (when you wear them a lot) is to make sure they aren’t hung up, because sweater bumps from hangers suck. Fold in a drawer instead.

For the in between seasons, who doesn’t love the annual knit and jacket store away? A sign that warmer climes are in your future – hellooo sun, sand and margaritas. Before you jump headlong into summer, take a moment to sort a few things in the knit department so you won’t cry when you pull them out next year. The main thing is that you should remember to clean them before you store them, otherwise the bugs will go to lunch.

If you’re got time…

Fold them carefully to reduce wrinkles when you pull them out. Here’s where my training as a retail assistant would be useful, if I ever had time to do this. Ha. With the sweater face down, fold each arm straight across. Fold over each side to the middle so that the sleeve edges meet at the centre and then fold in half and run flip over.  Stack them into a plastic box to store, and throw in some moth repellers. You can actually make a natural moth repellant sachet by combining 1/4 cup of dried herbs and spices (lavender, eucalyptus, cloves, dried rosemary, dried thyme, mint, lemon or bay leaves) in an old sock or envelope sewn out of fabric.

If you’re feeling lazy…

Time poor? You can roughly fold your sweaters and then throw them into a plastic box with a lid, with some dried rosemary on top and bottom, and say bon voyage until next year!

A few little hacks for when you pull them out? Stick your sweaters in the freezer if you see moths, as the cold temps will kill any moth eggs. And if they’re smelling a little musty, spritz your  knit with a bit of vodka to kill bacteria.

This cashmere sweater I’ve been wearing for 6 months or so and only had to de-pill it once. After that it was good as new!

Keen to stock up on some new sweaters? For March you can get 10% off over at Grana (helps with an already really affordable price) by using the code APASxGRANA.

Photos by Nicola Lemmon. This post is in collaboration with Grana.

Tags Knits wool
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