The best thing about investing in knitwear is its endurance as a winter-wardrobe staple year on year. From its practical function as one of the season’s warmest garments to its effortless ability in creating a great look, knitwear is a vital style asset. If you choose to follow my advice in previous knit-focused posts and invest in a couple of good quality, classic designs, you should only need add to your collection.
Looking after your knits, though, requires effort. As a textile, it is quite delicate and as a result can be prone to such things as stretching and shrinking as well as pilling, which is when tiny bobbles of twisted fabric appear on a garment, particularly the sleeves and ends. Given knitwear can be an expensive purchase, it is important to be aware of the different methods to combat damage and I’ve drawn up a guide on keeping your knits in top condition and getting the most wear out of them…
First things first, check the inside label to ensure that the garment is machine-washable. If so, it’s always best to think, “Go gentle”. A good idea is to separate your knits from your regular laundry and then separate again by whites and colours before turning them inside out for the wash. In terms of detergent, check the label to see if it’s OK to use on knits, but there are specific wool washes available in most supermarkets. When it comes to choosing the cycle, ALWAYS use the hand-wash option! The maximum temperature of the wash should not exceed 30C and as an extra precaution, you can place your knits in a mesh bag that’s commonly used for underwear and other delicates for added protection. If you’re still hesitant about putting knits into the washing machine, you can always hand-wash instead and there are some great hand-wash detergents on the market.
The inside care label should indicate if the wool or yarn is safe to use in the tumble dryer, but if in doubt it is good practise to avoid the dryer, especially as it can affect the shape. Dry the garment flat and use blocks if necessary to weigh it down and keep shape. Be sure to avoid wringing or twisting and if it’s still damp after a few hours, dry on a low temperature in a dryer for a short time.
No, that wasn’t a typo! Gently shaving those tiny bobbles that pepper your beloved knitwear is a great way to reduce and remove pilling and restore your jumper to its original condition. You can use a regular razor, but it is important to go slowly when doing this or alternatively, you can buy an electric fabric shaver or fabric comb. In order to minimise the possibility of pilling, use a lint brush to regularly brush your garments.
Maintaining the shape of a knitted jumper can be tricky as it tends to lose it if worn frequently. Drying your jumper in the correct manner is one way to ensure its continued wearability, but another trick is to have a few knitted jumpers in your wardrobe so you’re not exhausting the same one on a weekly basis – rotate rotate rotate.
It’s important to not put a knit jumper on a hanger, something I’ve been forced to learn the hard way! This will cause the wool to stretch and lose its shape. It is always best to fold it and put it away in a drawer. When the warmer months return and you’re packing away you’re knitwear, invest in a vinyl jumper bag or space bag to protect from the inevitable threat of moths who love to feast on wool fibres. If you’re storing your knitwear in a wardrobe, always use moth balls, these will kill clothes moths, their larvae and eggs and they keep your clothes in the best possible condition.
Hit up my ‘Knit List’ for my top knitwear picks this season, guaranteed to keep you cosy and looking slick all season and if well-cared for, for many seasons to come!
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