Here at Aloft we sell a lot of knitwear! season after season its by far our best-selling product category, and we sell everything from Holebrook knitted windproofs that are worn as outerwear to fine, lightweight cashmere tops that feel baby soft against your skin.
As we do sell a lot we often get asked how to look after it, so we thought it would be a good idea to give you our top tips on how to best take care of your knits.
How should I store it? we recommend you never hang knitwear. Always fold your jumpers, or even knitted dresses. Over time the nature of the knitted stitch means it will stretch so hanging it will cause it to loose its original shape. If you have no choice in your wardrobe set up then use a wide, padded hanger.
How should I wash it? Firstly always, always check the care label. This is the best place to start as it will tell you the manufacturers recommendation and also the content of the knitwear you want to wash. Many washing machines now have delicates or hand-wash settings on them. These are ok to use, and if your jumper says its ok to machine wash and is made from cotton or a man-made fibre then go ahead. But if your knit contains any percentage of wool, cashmere or animal hair we'd never advise to use the machine. If you've invested money in a wool or cashmere piece of knitwear you are always safer hand-washing as you have much more control over the process.
The best way to wash it is by hand, and either use a specialised soap or we find baby shampoo really good. Use a really small amount of detergent, in lukewarm water. Make sure you rinse all of the soap out, then squeeze the excess water from the garment and leave it to dry somewhere warm, lying flat.
Your main aim is to try and minimise the amount of friction you give the garment whilst washing, as soon as you rub wool fibres up agaisnt each other they 'cling' to each other which is what we see as bobbles or a felting effect. If your garment shrinks its because all the fibres have clung to each other and gotten stuck, so there is no longer air and space in the knit structure, hence it's smaller.
The good thing about heavier wool or cashmere items is that they actually need less washing than many other garments you might have. Wool is naturally breathable and adapts to your body temperature, which means you sweat less. It also doesn't absorb smells as much, so often just an airing (and yes you can use a hanger for an hour or so!) is the best way to keep it clean before putting it away.
How do I keep it looking as good as new? We often get customers telling us they find after a winter of wearing a piece they find it's bobbled and looks too tatty to save for the next season. If this is the case invest in a good de-bobbler! As mentioned bobbling is caused by friction on knitwear and naturally occurs, usually where your arms rubs under your armpits or down the sides of your body. So make sure you de-bobble or fluff your jumpers regularly. It's not a fault of the jumper, or the yarn that's been used, and if you get rid of the bobbles gently when they are still small you'll keep it looking in tip top condition.
We love this electric one from Lakeland Bobble buster by Lakeland
Should I protect my knitwear from Moths? Absolutely YES! If you don't have moths in your home, then the best thing is to make sure you never do! We find that cedar balls hanging in your wardrobe are the best year round solution. Just make sure you replace them regularly. Lavender oil is also good. Moths can be a pest all year round, so make sure if you put your heavy knitwear away for the summer months you keep them in airy, light environments. Moths breed in dark spaces, so where possible don't leave knitwear at the back of an old wardrobe or cupboard for them to munch on for the whole of the Summer!
Can I fix a pull in my jumper? Yes usually. The best thing is to gently tease back the pulled area around the snag until its gone back into shape as much as possible. Then with a needle pull the thread that's left back through to the inside of the jumper. Leave it here, make sure you're not tempted to snip it off with scissors. This could cause it to unravel. If its very long you can try to weave it back into the inside side of the jumper with a fine needle.
So dont let the care of knitted items put you off investing in a great piece. We have some beautiful knits from companies like Holebrook and Hartford, and with a little care these will last you for years and years.
Any questions then please do get in touch. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask anyone in store.