It’s Time To Store Your Hand Knits!
Spring is officially here in the desert Southwest, although, we did see a few of those pesky white flakes in a late season storm this weekend. A last valiant attempt by Winter to extend her grasp. (Fail!) I took the opportunity, while snuggled with the Chihuahuas and with the fireplace blazing one last time, to do a little checking on how to properly clean, protect, and store your hand knit woolens for the summer months and here’s what I’ve learned.
Inspect your hand knits for damage
Pesky moths and larvae cause a holocaust of horror that can completely ruin a hand knit garment or accessory. The little bastards are especially drawn to bits of food particles and human sweat is a veritable magnet that draws them from surrounding countries. It’s imperative to carefully check your hand knits for any holes and/or damage from these little freaks. If you find damage, carefully repair with leftover yarn from the project, or a yarn that closely matches, or thread. You want to complete this step before proceeding. If you have found moth damage, I would place the woolens in a plastic bag and then pop it into the freezer for several days. This will ensure that moths and larvae are destroyed.
Properly clean your woolens
Once you’ve repaired any damage to your knits, and removed them from the freezer if you decided to take that step, next up is to properly launder your lovelies. There are a variety of ways to do this, but for me, the simplest seemed to be to fill my top loading washing machine with cold water. Then add 3-4 tablespoons of lavender scented Euclan wool wash. I LOVE this product because it doesn’t require the extra step of rinsing which cuts down the cleaning time by half. At least! It has the added benefit of restoring some of the natural lanolin to the wool fibers. The scent is pretty nice, too.
Gently submerge the garments so they are soaked and not just floating. Let them sit for 30 minutes or so. Lastly, turn the washing machine to a final spin cycle. DO NOT AGITATE or you’ll have doll sized sweaters and ain’t no diet gonna get you into those next year!
An easy way to dry your woolens
Remove your woolens from the washing machine and lay flat to dry, reshaping as necessary. DON’T wring anything out! Ever! Now, you may choose to spread towels on every horizontal surface in your house on which to dry your garments, which is totally fine. A little hack is to cough up the dough for a tarp or painting dropcloth and spread it outside on the backyard and lay everything out on the cloth. Flip after two hours and reshape. With a decently warm day, everything should be ready to pack up and store by evening. (Careful any furkids don’t soil your garments. Or birds. Dang bird poop does happen if you dry outside. Sigh.)
Storing your hand knits
Now that everything is fresh and clean the last step is to properly store your hand knits until the appropriate season rolls around. Basically, any airtight container will do. That might be ziplock bags, which is a nice inexpensive option especially for smaller items like mittens, scarves, and hats. Another option, depending on the amount of space you have for storage, is plastic storage bins with lids. Whatever you choose, consider adding cedar planks or lavender sachets. These will add a nice scent and both cedar and lavender repel those nasty moths and other damaging critters. If you have something really special and you have the budget for it, cedar sweater boxes are beautiful and do an amazing job of protecting your woolens. Another nice option with a middle of the road price tag is to use sweater bags/boxes. Some even come with their own cedar inserts.
So, that’s what you need to know about properly cleaning and storing your hand knit woolens through the summer months. The whole process should take you a day or less and you can do it on a budget with excellent results.
Thanks for stopping by!