How to Care for Knitted Materials
By Katherine Foster

Many people would agree that knitted materials make some of the warmest and coziest garments out there. Whether a sweater or blanket knitted with a beautiful, heavyweight aran yarn, or a pair of socks knitted with a lighter duty yarn these garments make beautiful and thoughtful gifts. However due to the fear of ruining the material many might be hesitant to wear or use them.

Following the label directions on store bought materials is often a good way to ensure the item is cleaned correctly but if the item was hand-made then the job tends to get a little trickier. While these garments may be more delicate than their cotton or polyester counterparts they are able to be cleaned while preserving their beauty. Cleaning them simply takes a more delicate approach than traditional fabrics and by following some simple tricks that will ensure these materials will be adequately cleaned and cared for, while not damaging to the quality of their materials.

Always clean knitted materials with the gentlest detergent possible. This includes using a detergent that is free from, or light on, enzyme soaking materials. Using too harsh of a detergent can break down the fibers in the yarn or wool and make them feel abrasive on skin instead of their usual soft feel. This could cause a rash on the skin as well as permanent damage to the item. It has even been recommended to use a light shampoo to clean things such as hats, socks or scarves that will be worn.

How these garments are cleaned is just as important as what they are cleaned in. Often hand washing is the best option, however this is not always a possibility.

If using a washing machine then using a garment bag to wash the knitted items in will help keep them from being damaged. Using the gentlest cycle, some washers even have a delicate or hand wash option, and not allowing the washer to spin out will get the items adequately cleaned without damaging them.

Once the items have been cleaned they can be squeezed out delicately by hand. To get even more water out, it is recommended that they are rolled in a clean towel which will absorb much of the moisture. They then need to be laid flat to dry. A dryer can be used to dry knitted materials but it is not the recommended method and if a dryer is used the garments must be pulled out before they are allowed to dry completely.

Knitted items must never be hung, to dry or otherwise. Storing them on a hanger can cause the weight of the garment to stretch it out and this is not something that can be reversed. Storing flat or lightly folded is the best option to keep these items looking their best.

If items are going to be stored for a long period of time it is recommended that they are stored in airtight containers to keep anything from getting into them. Knitted materials can get mouldy, therefore the airtight container can help ensure no moisture gets to the garment. It will also keep out moths from invading and infesting the garments with their larvae and causing permanent damage to the materials.

Knitted materials are a great way to keep warm and comfortable while looking great. Whether they are knitted with heavy weight yarn such as aran, for maximum warmth, or a softer quality for a great look, they offer a versatile aspect to any wardrobe or home. Keeping them looking their best while also being a useful and functional aspect of everyday living is easy by following a few basic principles of care.

Little Houndales Knits is a company that makes and supplies yarn and various knitting supplies for all crafty knitters. Whether just beginning to knit or a seasoned pro, Little Houndales has the products everyone needs. They offer a wide selection of knitting kits and a number of beautiful patterns as well. Most of the yarn offered by Little Houndales is made from 100% natural products such as sheep's wool and alpaca fleece. Little Houndales is proud to offer and one of the largest selections of quality yarn around. Customers are urged to contact them through the website for assistance in finding exactly what they are looking for.

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