Caring for your
Hand Made Items
You pick up a beautiful hand knit item, squish it , comment how soft it is and in that very moment, decide that it is coming home with you. You check the label absent mindedly and catch the words Hand Wash Only. You put it back down with disappointment and walk away knowing you just don’t have that kind of time. I don’t know the stats behind it, but this happens ALL the time. We have it in our heads that hand washing a knitted item puts us in that back breaking position over a wash bin in the backyard, elbow deep in suds all the while praying to the Gods of Creativity that we don’t wreck or shrink the damn thing… Well, I am here to tell you that hand washing a knitted item is not that hard - requiring only a short bath, lightly handled in a safe place to dry and in fact, should only be done once a season before storing. Friends, this is doable and you've totally got this!
To be fair, it all comes down to the fibres that your handmade item was created with. But on the whole what we are trying to achieve is to lightly cleanse the item with a mild soap to remove any debris that has built up over multiple wears. Fill a bath, basin or bucket - something just large enough for your garment - with lukewarm (won't that shrink it!? howabout cold? consider commenting about that) water and a small amount of fabric-friendly soap. Place the item in the bath and allow it to soak up the water. You may find you need to add more to keep the garment covered! Gently swish the garment around but do not wring it out or twist and turn as the fibres will be compromised and vulnerable when wet. If water is actually a brown shade, hold the garment to the side of the basin, drain the water and start fresh. Allow the garment to soak for up to 15 minutes. Or however long it takes you to finish a hot cuppa.
Spot Treating (I think it's valuable to have this asa a separate section)
Spot treating is different, in that you would want to attempt to remove any stains from direct spilling immediately with a wet towel and water. + fabric-friendly soap?
Remove the drain stopper and allow the water drain out as you gently squeeze water out of the garment. Remember, no twisting or wringing out. Wrap the garment in a towel to absorb as much water out as possible. On a flat surface, such as a table (but not Grandma's antique wooden table), place one to two towels down and place the garment out in its'-no appostrophe natural shape and as flat as possible. Turn on a ceiling fan or open a window to help keep the airflow. Keep cats away from the damp garment as they somehow always know when wool is drying! Leave to dry as long as needed. You may need to flip the garment over, place a fresh dry towel and allow the last bit of moisture to dry. You may find it takes one to two days to dry completely.
The beauty about handmade items is they generally don’t need to be washed very often. Why not? Curious - I sweat the same in them as non-hand made??? consider commenting! You can lay the garment outside on the back of a chair to air out for more regular cleaning. But I always suggest one bath for the item before you store it away for the season. Handmade items are best folded in an airtight container to keep moths out. It’s best not to hang as the weight of the garment tends to distort the fabric.
See, this is completely doable! You’ve got this, your handmade items and I believe in you!