Your hand-knit or crocheted items from Stitch & Story’s knitting and crochet kits are things to be celebrated and cared for. They showcase someone’s time, skill and creativity; they tell a story. Whether you have done the work yourself or received one as a gift, taking proper care of items made from natural fibres will keep them looking their best for years to come.
Merino wool is naturally antibacterial and stain resistant, which means it has the advantage of not needing to be washed too often. Simply airing your merino wool garment out between wears and treating small stains, by spot cleaning the soiled area with mild detergent, can be sufficient for many items. Of course, there are times when an item made from merino wool just has to be washed, especially Stitch & Story’s baby and kids collection.
When washing any hand-knit/crocheted item you should always refer to the yarn band for fibre content information and care instructions. On Stitch & Story’s yarn bands you’ll see symbols and instructions that indicate hand-wash only. Our recommendation is to always wash wool by hand in order to keep your knit/crocheted items looking better for longer.
Stitch & Story’s The Chunky Wool is roving and therefore should only ever be washed by hand, as it is likely to felt in a washing machine. The Lil’ Merino however, can be washed on a cold (20ºC), delicate/wool machine cycle with little to no spin**.
TIP - To protect your merino wool items, turn them inside out, or put in a wash bag, before placing them in the washing machine. Although designed to be non-pilling, items knit with The Lil’ Merino wool are more likely to develop fluff balls on the fabric surface when machine-washed.
** Please note all washing machines differ so Stitch & Story cannot be held responsible for items damaged by washing in a machine.
When choosing a detergent for washing your merino wool items look for a mild laundry liquid specifically designed for delicate and wool fibres, ideally displaying the Woolmark symbol. Avoid powder detergents (the powder is unlikely to dissolve in cool water and will stick to the wool fibres) and capsules (the soluble packaging can damage the wool).
TIP - If machine washing, be sure to place detergent in the dispenser drawer as opposed to in a detergent cup you place in the drum. A cup can cause unwanted friction during the wash cycle and damage your wool items.
Do not use fabric softener. Although it may seem like using fabric softener will make your merino wool items even softer, it will actually stick to and coat the fabric’s fibers, affecting its natural properties and damaging your item. Merino wool is already one of the softest wool fibres and Stitch & Story’s wool is supersoft, so fabric softener is definitely not necessary.
Hand-washing may seem like a lot of effort, but if you consider the time and effort you put into making your hand-knit/crocheted item taking a little time to properly care for it is worth it.
Use a sink, bathtub or plastic container large enough to completely submerge the item you wish to hand-wash and fill with cool water.
Follow the instructions on your detergent’s packaging for how much to add. For small stains, you can spot clean by gently dabbing the soiled area with detergent to remove it.
Soak and/or gently agitate your knit/crocheted item in the soapy water but never scrub, twist or wring it.
Drain off the water and rinse with fresh, cold water. Keep draining and adding water until it is clear and soap free.
Gently squeeze out as much water as you can without wringing or twisting. Avoid lifting and letting the item hang as the weight of the water will stretch it out.
Lay your item flat on a dry towel and roll it up, pressing firmly as you roll, so that the towel absorbs most of the water.
Lay a dry towel on a flat surface with good air circulation (like a drying rack).
Place the item on the towel, reshaping as you go, gently patting it into shape. Avoid excessive pulling or stretching.
Allow the item to dry for at least 12 hours and then turn it over to allow the other side to fully dry.
If not completely dry after 24 hours then put a new dry towel underneath, turn and reshape the item again.
TIP - For large items, such as blankets, moving the item around more frequently will ensure the weight of the wet fibres doesn’t pull it out of shape.
Always store knit/crocheted garments flat or folded. Hanging garments will cause the fibres to stretch and the item to go out of shape.
Over time merino wool items, particularly those made with The Chunky Wool, can pill due to friction and washing. To remove these balls of fluff and keep your item looking new you can use a pilling comb or clothes shaver. We have used and liked this one from John Lewis, unfortunately now out of stock, but you can find lots of similar, recommended items online.
Hopefully you feel a bit more confident about caring for your merino wool knitted and crocheted items now and will continue to embrace and work with this wonderful, unique fibre.
* Please note any non-Stitch & Story products mentioned in this blog do not contain affiliate links. They are simply products we have used and personally recommend.