The OTHER Sweater Weather
As we ease into warmer weather, wardrobes change over to spring and summer clothes, and our heavier sweaters take a few months off. While it’s generally unnecessary to wash wool garments after each wear, it *is* best practice to make sure they are clean prior to storing them for any length of time. Warmer temps and drier air help handwashed items dry faster, which is a major bonus in my book. See below for a few tips on garment care.
Following the pre-launch of Marie Greene’s Foxtrot Cardigan (this year’s 4 Day KAL, July 4-18), I was eager to swatch with a newer yarn I thought might be a strong contender for this design, Malabrigo Washted. Washted is a superwash, single-ply worsted weight yarn. It’s round structure produces excellent stitch definition—even in a variegated colorway, it shows the stitch patterning beautifully. I hope you’ll be as charmed by its potential as I am, and I ordered ten additional colorways to have on hand.
Washing your woolies — a few tips, and some useful tools
Check the care recommendations for your yarn—handwashing is nearly always safe, but many of the washable wools can withstand gentle machine washing, and some can get popped into the dryer as well. (And in fact, some perform better when tumble dried on low.)
A gentle wool wash like Eucalan works well with all delicates. (New this year: your large bottles of Eucalan can be refilled at Yarn Folk, saving you a couple of bucks and keeping some plastic out of the landfill.) Alternately, a small amount of shampoo or a gentle dish soap can be dissolved in cool water—but because they usually produce more sudsing, a post-soak rinse will be required.
A stack of clean old towels is perfect for squeezing as much moisture out of your washed items as possible prior to laying them out to dry. Making sure that you support the heavy and wet fabric, start by gently squeezing out as much water as you can, then roll it in a clean, dry towel, and get as much remaining water out as you can.
Once your item is merely damp, you can spread it out to dry on more clean towels, mesh drying racks, or foam blocking mats. If it’s a previously blocked sweater, it may not need anything more than a gentle patting into place. If it needs more aggressive shaping, you can use blocking wires, blocking combs, or stainless steel T-pins . Shawls will often require some amount of pinning out to look their best, but it usually isn’t as time-consuming a process as the first time you do it.
That’s it! Once a washed item is completely dry, you can put it away for next season.
All of the above can be applied to your commercial sweaters.
After making a gauge swatch for Love Note, I tucked it into my collar to assess the softness of the mohair. I’m happy to report that I experienced NO prickliness, so I cast on straight away. The pattern suggests a fingering weight yarn held together with a laceweight silk/mohair blend—in this case, I combined Berroco Ultra Wool, a solid, heathered purple, with Apple Fiber Studio’s Delicious. The sweater is written for a generous range of sizes, and two lengths, and features a slight high-low hemline. I haven’t decided which length I’m making—I’ll try it on once I’ve knit to the shorter option.
The Soldotna Crop also gives the option of modifying to a longer length, but I have enjoyed seeing it styled over dresses and high-waisted skirts, so that option is on the table.
I’m using Neighborhood Fiber Studio DK. The yarn is fantastic to knit with (seriously, a new favorite), and the colorwork is so hard to put down!