Calling “Quits” on Winter!

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Given the recent cool temperatures, it may seem a little premature to start putting away the winter wardrobe. I’ve made the executive decision that on this blog, we’re moving on.

So today’s post is a lesson on how to clean and store your wool sweaters.

I have to admit that I give much more care to my sweaters since I started knitting them. At approximately 100 hours of my time, the last thing I want to do is to destroy a piece of my handy craft. And if you have a lot of wool, it takes some time to properly stow them for the summer.

Here are a few DOs to make sure your woolens last for many years to come.

Make sure they are clean

There’s no graceful way to say it – Creepy crawlies love wool, and they are more apt to feast on the dirty ones. And if you’re like me, there would be only one solution for critters crawling on my clothes!

Pay attention to the label on your sweater. Dry cleaning is almost always safe, but it can be expensive. Unless your sweaters say “Dry Clean Only”, you can hand wash them yourself.

  • Fill a sink with cold water, add a capful of baby shampoo for each sweater, and let soak for about an hour.
  • After soaking, carefully lift out of the sink and lay out on a large towel. Fold the towel over the wet sweater, and squeeze until the majority of the water has been absorbed.
  • Sweaters should always be air-dryed on a flat surface. I use our family ping pong table; you can use the floor or a guest room bed, but make sure you include a layer of plastic under the wet garments. (Save your clear plastic bags from the dry cleaner for this step.)
  • Lay the sweater out, reshape it, and gently smooth out any wrinkles with your hands. Allow to dry completely.

Store them properly

Sweaters should be stored folded in a container. You can use plastic sweater bags from the dry cleaner; large zip-lock bags; pillow cases; Rubbermaid tubs; even paper bags that you staple shut. (This last option is a good one, because the paper bag allows air to circulate.)

As a back-up measure to preventing bugs, stash a lavender or patchouli sachet with each of your sweaters. (Don’t use moth balls. Not only will your sweaters absorb the smell, they can cause health problems and are not recommended around children.)

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