Storing Winter Handknits

May 23, 2013




This is a re-post from 2010, but since I just finished this business, I thought it might be time to share again.

I'm often asked how I store and care for all my sweaters. Twice a year I do a big cleaning that takes me a few weeks. This is how I do the big bi-annual sweater migration.

The first and most important step is to wash and block my winter sweaters that I want to store away for the summer.  I've heard that some people don't ever wash their wool sweaters, just air them out.  I cannot imagine that, mine get dirty, especially the cuffs, plus the suds remove any food spills and dirt that attracts moths.  I am careful to hand wash in a mild soap and rinse well.  I don't soak my handknits.  Next I roll them in a towel to remove excess water and block them outdoors on my mesh patio table and dry in the shade.  If the weather is nice, it will take only a day, but sometimes they have to be brought in at night to finish drying in the house.  I can fit about 3 sweaters on my table, and if I do this everyday I can have them all washed in a few weeks.

Next is to make any necessary repairs that I've ignored and try to remove the inevitable pills.  Some knits, such as the Kidsilk Haze sweaters benefit from a swift going over with a soft brush to fluff it up again. It's also at this time that I'm pretty brutal and gift/donate sweaters that I don't wear anymore.  I only keep what I wear!  Next they are folded and placed in my mother's cedar "hope" chest that is still fragrant with cedar after almost 70 years.  I don't use any moth protection in the cedar chest.

The summer sweaters are removed from their winter home, and since they were washed and stored 6 months ago, they are ready to be placed in my sweater armoire. It's filled with plastic sweater bins purchased from The Container Store. I organize them by color and/or weight with 3 or more per bin. Since the bins are somewhat clear it's not too difficult to find what I'm looking for, although sometimes the sweater search is like playing a game of Memory and I never seem to return them to the same bin.

I am petrified of a moth infestation and do use limited moth control in the sweater bins around the wool. I prefer No Moth , (limited use) so please tell what you use, if anything.

So that's the epic sweater care and storage a la Knitionary! Knitting is the fun part, and the upkeep is the not so fun part, but I don't know how to avoid it!  I'd love to know what you do!

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3 Comments

  1. I am in awe of your collection of knits as well as your amazing organization.

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  2. I think you've got this down to a science Kristen. You have quite the collection of sweaters! It's so worth it to store them properly. I have plastic sweater bins for my sweaters and wool yarn. Love that cedar chest!

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  3. This is one of the best storing ideas I have seen in a long, long time! I love it! I think I will have to adopt it for storing my husband's sweaters. I know it HAS to work, because you are the sweater queen and would not steer us wrong!!! :-) We have a massive armoire in our master suite that I use for storing linens. I think the linens may be re-routed to another spot to make room for sweaters in plastic tubs!

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