Article By: Abigail Haze
We spend hours, days, weeks, and sometimes even months constructing treasured crochet garments. Stitch by stitch we envision wearing our new piece out and about to the office and to family functions where we proudly get to answer, “Yes, I made this!” The last thing we want is for our prized sweater, cardigan, or dress to be ruined due to a laundry mishap. Other enemies of crochet include accidental snags and pests, and I’m not just talking about moths; sticky handed kids, absent-minded husbands, and curious cats can the detriment of your hard work. With some thoughtful consideration regarding storage and care, you can keep your lovely crochet fashions looking as stunning as the day you wove in that last end. Here are 9 useful tips and tricks so your garment can one day achieve heirloom status:
• While the imagery of having a closet full of crocheted beauties neatly hanging would be something gorgeous to behold, hanging your work in your closet is not the best way to keep it. Your fabric will stretch and pull over time on the hanger, and is subject to dangers like getting caught on buttons and zippers of other closet dwelling clothes. Instead, store clean items in large closed Ziploc bags. The bag will serve as a protective layer against dust as well as any cross-contamination fuzz from other finished items. You can then store your plastic bags in a rubbermaid container, chest, or dresser drawer—well out of reach of probing fingers or claws of your other household members.
• To prevent naughty pests like moths or fleas, use a few drops of essential oils as a natural repellent. Lavender, clove, and cedarwood are great choices. Simply add the drops of oil to a square of cotton fabric and slip the square in with your item in its plastic bag.
• Accessorizing your look is important to express your style, but don’t let a quick pull of a sweater over your head turn into a snagged-stitched nightmare because of protruding jewelry. When dressing put your earrings, necklaces, and rings on last to prevent unwanted catching. Don’t forget to carefully take off all of your jewelry before taking off your garment at the end of the day. Also, be mindful of the hardware on belts, pants, coats, or jackets.
• Sometimes our work may seem like magnets for fuzz, lint, crumbs, and other mysterious specks. Keep a small lint roller in your bag for spot checks throughout the day while wearing.
• Invest in some key wardrobe elements that will help you style your garment throughout the seasons. Camisoles and tank tops in lots of different colors will come in handy under open stitch work. You will also thank yourself later for having quality slips for wearing under crochet dresses. Adding a simple cardigan over a crochet tank top will help take your spring/summer item into the colder months. Also, consider making your next sweater in a cool cotton-linen blend so you can wear it all winter long and then into the evenings during the warm months.
• Your yarn label features all you need to know about caring for your garment. But it doesn’t do you any good unless you know how to decode those wacky symbols. Below are some of the most commonly seen care symbols and their meanings.
• If you are still not certain about how to launder your garment, dry cleaning may be the best bet. You can purchase a dry cleaning kit to take care of the task at home. Also, if your garment is made with any animal fibers make sure to purchase an appropriate wool wash.
• A safe method for drying a crochet garment is to roll it up in a towel to soak up the excess water. Lay it flat on another dry towel, reshape it, and let it completely dry. Pro tip: lock any furry friends out of the room during dry time. It is not fun trying to get damp fur off a sweater, trust me, I know. Never hang or drape it over a chair because it may stretch in undesirable ways.
• Keep any extra yarn from a project along with the label in the same bag as your completed project. This way you will never lose valuable laundering information and you will always have a bit of yarn on hand should you have to do any mending. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you that you never have to cross that bridge!