Yay! Springtime has finally come to Bath! We’ve blue skies and sunshine and after the long, cold winter that was it’s nice to feel that everything is fresh and new again.
Late April / early May is a funny transition time though. It’s not necessarily cool enough for a full jumper but not quite warm enough to forego a shawl/scarf/wrap. It is the time though, when I start thinking about flipping my wardrobe from fall/winter to spring/summer and rotating my handknits are part of that.
Thanks to the amazing properties of wool, handknits don’t need to be washed every time we wear them. When putting things away for the season though, I like to give them a good clean beforehand. Moths are attracted to soil and dirt on fabrics so why leave any snacks for them to munch on?
It’s important for me to note here that we get a lot of customers asking about moth-proofing their yarn or their handknits. NOTHING is completely moth-proof but with vigilance and a regular cleaning schedule it’s harder for them to take up residence in your closet. Here are my tips for making the most of your spring clean:
Check your knits
Pull everything out that you plan to put away for the season and give it a good going over. Are there any stains or pulls to worry about? Mark these with a locking stitch marker so you know where to find them.
Before popping your garment into the wash take a bit of Soak on a cotton bud and gently rub the stain directly, then wash it as usual.
Start with Soak
There’s a reason not every one likes to handwash their knits and it’s usually because of the rinsing, and rinsing, and rinsing. Which is why we LOVE Soak! The no-rinse formula makes it super easy to handwash everything (makeup brushes, I’m coming for you after I get through the handknits). You can even use it in your high-efficiency washing machine, which I do regularly. Plus, the fresh modern fragrances leave everything smelling fresh and clean.
You only need a small capful with a gallon of cool water. Let the item soak for 15 minutes (but if you forget about it and it stays in longer that's ok too) and then gently pull it out, squeezing out as much water as you can before laying it flat and rolling it in a towel to remove more moisture and then blocking / drying as desired. Check out our blocking tutorial for some great tips too!
Dirt vs. DIRT
There's the dirt we can see and then there's the invisible dirt that builds up from sweat and skin etc. When you pull your item out of the basin, you’ll see all the dirt at the bottom. Soak is especially formulated to grab onto dirt particles and pull them down, so your water might look mighty grungy or if it’s been a while since you last washed the item. I don’t wash my handknit socks every time I wear them so the water always looks particularly dirty when I do get around to it but they come out looking brand new every time.
This is where I love to break out my Sweater Care Kit from Cocoknits. The pop-up air dryer is amazing for getting the air circulating around the garment for it to dry faster. Of course in this nice weather, you can also use a drying rack outside or place a towel on the grass or a picnic/patio table in your back garden.
Once everything is dry I like to find the other locking stitch markers that I left on my garment that indicate pulls or other areas in need of a quick fix. This might mean weaving in ends that have come loose, evening out a pulled stitch, or darning worn areas. It’s usually quick work in front of the TV at night and then everything is clean and ready to be packed away.
Now back to my knitting!