Looking After Crocheted Knits

Caring for crocheted and hand knitted items is as crucial as making them. These items are treasured heirlooms, and with proper care, last for many years. It is good to follow the care instructions that are printed on the yarn labels, or you may note them down for later use.  In fact, improper laundering and storage is the reason that the crocheted knits get damaged or ruined. The following tips can extend the knit’s life:

Storing Away

Firstly, any unused crocheted or knitted items should be stored in closed plastic bags so that it is free of dust and stays clean. Do not store them with other objects. Instead, store them with dried herbs such as sage and lavender or cedar balls, and enjoy the benefits of preventing pests. Essential oils also help repel moths. A few drops of lavender, rosemary, clove, cedarwood, sage or eucalyptus added to the knits will leave a pleasant fragrance and will help it stay fresh for a longer time.

Laundering Correctly

Laundering is essential for crocheted knit items. So, it is a must to check for laundering instruction on the yarn labels. There are washable yarns, and some include acrylics, cotton, and superwash wool that should be washed on the gentlest cycle when using a washing machine, in cold or warm water.  However, most wool items are hand washed in cold water as the washing machine agitation may harm the fibers. Laundry detergents are harsh on natural fibers.  It is best to choose a liquid soap or mild baby shampoo. Even using a detergent-free cleaner is recommended. However, some wool yarns are ideal for soaking or washing, but some can fade the yarn colors. Bear in mind to avoid chlorine bleach.

Using specialty detergents containing lanolin is good; it helps condition wool fibers, increases water resistance, and decrease static. However, after washing, rinse in cold water. There is no need to twist or wring out. You may dry it by rolling it in a towel for a few minutes. Unrolling the towel will give you fresh knits. Gently reshape them, smooth the wrinkles, if any, and leave it to air dry. Do not hang a knitted item to dry as it may stretch when wet. If you are unaware of the yarn type used, you can always get them dry-cleaned.

An example of a dry cleaning tag, photographed in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Friday, June 1, 2018. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Know the Symbols on the Label

The standard symbols on the yarn labels or even on the websites are:

  • Do not use bleach
  • Machine washable at 30°C maximum on delicate or wool program.
  • Avoid using fabric softener for crocheted knits.
  • Handwash in luke-warm water. Carefully, wash and rinse as per the recommended temperature.
  • Remove the excess water by squeezing and not wringing. Wrap the garment in a soft towel.
  • Keep low temperature for machine dry or spin dry.
  • Do not steam or iron.
  • Iron at low temperatures
  • Dry flat, away from heat and light.

Caring for your creations is a must.  In case, you are giving the knit away as a gift, make your own care tag and attach, so the recipient will know how to take care of it. If you have used buttons in your work, attach an extra button on the inside, it will be useful as a replacement.

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