Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sweater Surgery

Last summer, a friend of mine asked me to fix some of her sweaters that some pesky moths had gotten into. This was a much more challenging project than I anticipated initially.

A very fun sweater made with bulky wool from South America.

I used a lot of duplicate stitch to strengthen the stitches to the left and right of the holes, thus hopefully preventing unraveling. In larger holes I used chain stitch crochet to replace the missing stitches and followed up with some additional duplicate stitch to make it look like knitting again, with varying degrees of success. After washing the sweaters, I found many more weak spots that weren't quite a hole, but that needed reinforcing. Unfortunately, I also found a few more mothy creatures. Yuck! A second wash was necessary.

Made in Iceland with that legendary Icelandic wool. I was so lucky to have matching yarn in my stash, though it was of inferior quality and not at all Icelandic. It blended nicely though!

As we approach summer, here are a few tips that I learned to preserve fine knitting and prevent or limit pests from eating your entire fine line of knits:
1.) Wash sweaters before storing for the summer. Bugs are more likely to be attracted by the dirt than the actual wool, surprising as that may sound.

2.) SOAK or Eucalan wash are my favorite washing products because they don't require any manipulating, which is hard on fine knits. Just fill a small tub with water, add the washing agent, let the garment soak for 45 minutes, drain, and either spin out in a top loading washer or roll garment between towels and squeeze out excess water. Block to dry on a drying rack or sofa/bed/floor on a layer of towels. In a pinch I use Woolite as a handwash, but then you have to rinse the garment several times to get all the suds out.

3.) Store clean knits in a sealed container with some sort of cedar product distributed generously in it. Refresh the cedar with a cedar spray or by sanding the wood lightly to restore the scent every year. I suggest several smaller containers to limit a potential invasion.

4.) Check the clothes one last time before putting them away, noting if they have any holes or weaknesses on a piece of paper stored with the item. When getting the knits out again, compare the notes and check for bugs again.

Enjoy these last days of sweater weather. It is getting nice and warm here, and I am starting to think about washing the woollies and putting them away soon. Awwww...

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