Saturday, November 11, 2017

How I take care of my handknits

I wish I could say that I have a wardrobe full of handknit items made throughout the years, but I don't, or at least not yet. I have a few handmade items that I wear in heavy rotation and a list of things I want to make for myself. I have been culling my wardrobe lately and figuring out what I really enjoy wearing and what I feel comfortable in and my plan is to slowly replace my old and ruined store-bought sweaters with handknits.
Handknits almost feel like objects from another era, when things took time to make and raw materials were expensive so the objects had to be long lasting and well made. That is what I love about them. That, and the fact that they are unique pieces that I can make exactly the way I want them to be as far as color, shape, size and pattern are concerned. When properly taken care of (there have been a few accidents in the past, I have to admit) my handmade items have always stood the test of time and lasted very long.

To store the items I never hang them in my closet as this can ruin their shape, I keep them folded and add moth repellent sheets in my drawers and on my shelves to avoid finding tiny holes in them. Some people choose to store off-season items away in boxes and keep their handknits in air tight plastic bags when out of season but I have a small enough wardrobe  that I keep everything out all year, I have separate shelves/areas for warm and for cold weather items. What I do though, is I try to keep the shelves clean by regularly dusting them and wiping them down with a surface cleaner.

When it comes to washing the items, it depends on what it says on the yarn label.
(Side note: except for a few older items where this information is only written on the product listing, all the items in my shop have tiny tags on them where I add the information written on the yarn label regarding the way it has to be washed and cared for).
Depending on what the yarn label says, I divide my handknit pieces into two categories: things that have to be handwashed and things that can be machine washed. The method I use for handwashing and machine washing my items is the same both for warm weather cotton items and cold weather woolen items.

If the item has to be handwashed, I fill a basin with lukewarm (actually just barely warm) water and add a mild detergent to the water. I soak the item in the water, leave it in for a few minutes and then swirl it around a few times. Then I empty the basin and rinse the item with lots of lukewarm water making sure never to wring the item, only to squeeze it to allow the soap to get washed out without ruining the fabric.
Once all the detergent has been washed out I squeeze the item well one last time and lay it flat on a light colored, dry and clean towel. I roll the item up in the towel as if it were a falafel wrap (yum) and press it down with my hands so that the towel absorbs as much of the water as possible.
Then I place the item on a flat breathable surface to dry, usually my drying rack (I don't own a dryer, I hang all of my laundry to dry on a rack), making sure to place it in a way that doesn't alter the normal shape of the item.

If I already have clothes hanging on the rack and I am afraid that the colors of the hanging clothes might run off onto the handknit piece, I place a light colored towel underneath it to protect it.
I never hang my handknit items to dry when they are wet because they might stretch out and lose their shape because of the weight of the water. If that were to happen however, washing the item again and laying it flat to dry in its correct shape should solve the issue and bring the item back to its normal shape.
Sometimes, once the item is almost dry, I will hang it for a bit on a hanger to give it some natural drape but this is totally optional.

 As far as the machine washable items are concerned, I wash them using the quick wash 15 minute cycle (or, if I have to wash them in a washing machine that doesn't have this option, the delicate/wool cycle) and lower the spin cycle speed to 600 rpm. Also, I always adjust the temperature to 30° celsius (which is 86° fahrenheit for reference), even if the yarn label says you can go for more. I do this both to be absolutely sure not to ruin the items and to save on electricity and be a little more eco-friendly.
I use a mild detergent and fabric softener and put a little less than what the label says.
When I take the item out of the washing machine I either lay it directly to dry the same way I do with the handwashed items, or, if the piece of clothing comes out of the machine soaking wet (which can happen since the spin cycle is on low), I will do the falafel wrap thing I do with the handwashed items and then lay it flat to dry.

One last thing I'd like to mention is how to avoid having clothes that smell like a wet dog in winter and epecially in fall when the heaters aren't on yet. It's all nice and easy in summer when you can put your drying rack outside and have your clothes dry nicely in the fresh air (but make sure not to place the drying rack in direct sunlight as some yarns may lose some of their color if dried under stark sunlight), but what about those coldish humid days in early fall before the heaters are turned on?
The only thing I can suggest in this case is to space out the things on your drying rack, trying to avoid putting too many things at once on it, so that as much air as possible can flow between the items.
If it's not raining open the windows for a bit and let some fresh air come in and once the handknit item is just slightly humid and no longer wet, hang it on a clothes hanger and let it dry off completely before putting it away. This allows the item to dry quicker because there is more air flowing around it, but it should be done when the item is no longer heavy with water to avoid stretching it out.

That's all I have for you but there are many articles online on how to store and take care of handknit items that you might want to read if you want more information.
These are the methods I use and they are quite easy and not too time consuming and help me keep my handknits lasting as long as possible. Good luck!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

F.O.: White sparkly circle scarf

I added a new item to the shop today, a sparkly circle scarf made up of two different yarns used together: a lovely white merino wool and a sparkly metallized yarn.
It has a textured pattern that gives it exra thickness and it looks good both loose around the neck and wrapped around twice.
As usual, details on my etsy shop!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Catching up...

Last time I wrote on the blog it was July, it was scorching hot and I was counting down the days to my summer vacations. Now it's October, the mornings are crisp and misty and my vacations seem to have taken place ages ago. A lot  of things  happened in the meantime.
Our trip this summer to Slovenia and Croatia was amazing. Among other things we...drank white wine that tasted like freshly cut grass, watched shooting stars from the darkness of silent vineyards, went rafting on the crystal clear waters of the Soca river, met a bunny who lives in a castle, swam water so clear it seemed invisible, ate mouthwatering seafood on a flight of stairs overlooking the Sibenik Cathedral, took a boat to the Kornati Islands and much much more.
Shortly after we came back I turned 30 and my friends basically kidnapped me and took me to Barcelona as a surprise gift, making me feel like I am the luckiest 30 year-old to ever roam the earth.
Now I'm back to my routine of work and to-do-lists trying to hold on to that feeling you get while travelling when everything seems slightly more poetic than in your everyday life.
I have a few finished products to put up in my shop (one of which I am particularly proud of), a few new projects on my needles and lots of ideas in my head.

A few pictures of the summer in random order...

Saturday, July 8, 2017

F.O.: Olive green crochet lace shawl

I added a new product to the shop today, this lacy shawl I made using the same yarn I used for this tank top (which happens to be one of my favorite spring/summer items I made thus far).
I love making these shawls, they are simple and fun to make and very easy to wear in spring or summer (at least if you live in fresher places than I do, I cannot imagine wearing a scarf in this crazy hot weather we have been having).
I especially like how they look when they are wrapped around the neck, and they look great when you tuck them into a leather jacket on chilly spring days.
Here are a few other examples of similar shawls I made, and I have another one coming soon.

As always, details on my etsy page!

Sunday, June 18, 2017


I have been taking it pretty slow lately (even though I have a few trips and things planned for the upcoming weeks) and have been trying to take in what is by far my favorite part of the year.
I have a pretty high tolerance for heat (within reasonable limits) so that hasn't been a problem, and I have been trying to really stop and enjoy that feeling of having warm wind blow in your face and on your arms. I miss it all winter and when this time of year comes around I want to really bask in that glorious feeling. Guess I'm in tune with the whole #mindfulness trend. Also, I tend to forget how green everything is in late spring/early summer. I know it sounds pretty obvious, yet during the winter months I forget how vibrant everything is when summer starts peeking around the corner...

Sunday, June 4, 2017

F.O. : Off-white cotton top with lace detail

It has been warm and sunny with a glorious warm breeze around here lately and I finally have a new product up on the shop, this cotton summer top with a lacy deorative border (I did it again, I used rows of different stitches as decoration, I can't help it, I find it looks so interesting and pretty).
I actually had something completely different in mind while I started knitting it, but that is the beauty of handmade items that you make up as you go, sometimes it turns out exactly as planned and other times the result is unexpected but you love it anyways.

As always, details on my Etsy shop!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Paris details

Last month, right after New Years, we took a train to Paris to go visit a few friends who live there.
I had been to Paris once before when I was 12, and I remembered it being a gorgeous city, yet it managed to blow me away with its beauty as if it were the first time I went.
Since anything I could possibly write about how beautiful Paris is would just end up being clichĂ© and trite, I though I would just show you a few pictures I took of small details that grabbed my attention while I was there. My boyfriend was perplexed at the amount of pictures I took of the rooftops in Paris, but how could I not when they looked like this... 

It was freezing cold but I proudly wore my black merino hat I made last fall (I had been wanting to make myself a black hat similar to this one for ages, and finally managed last November, as evidenced by this instagram picture I took of the work in progress).

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Beautiful, beautiful design

Let's just take a minute to admire the beautiful design of these amazing sweaters from the pattern library of Brooklyn Tweed, shall we?
I love the wearability, versatility and clean lines of each and every one of them...

Palmer by Michele Wang
Nila by VĂ©ronik Avery
Ilia by Michele Wang
Prime by Michele Wang
Larus by Norah Gaughan
Corvid by Jared Flood

All images via Brooklyn Tweed