Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Keep Your Hand-Knit Treasures Looking Their Best!

The type of yarn used to knit your garment will determine the best way to care of it. All items purchased at Yarncoture will include garment care instructions. If you received the knitted item as a gift or are purchasing an item from Yarncoture as a gift, be sure to give the recipient all the tags/labels that accompany the item. Here are some helpful guidelines in case the instructions are lost or if you need a bit more insight on what to to:

 

  • Superwash wool can be hand or machine washed on the gentle cycle in cold water. 
  • Regular wool or wool blend yarn must be washed by hand in cold water or it will felt and shrink. This also goes for Alpaca, Llama, and Buffalo...(yes there is such a thing as Buffalo yarn!) 
  • Cotton, linen and ramie yarn can be washed in the washing machine on a gentle cycle using either cold or warm water

  • Acrylic and other synthetic yarns can be washed and dried in with your regular laundry as they do not shrink.   
  • Unknown fiber content items should be hand washed in cold water and laid flat to dry....that way you can't go wrong!  

DETERGENT OPTIONS??

  • There are several options for cleaning your knit garments. My advice is to use a very mild detergent that is specially designed for hand knits. Specialty detergents containing contain lanolin are available, such as Kookaburra Wool Wash.   Lanolin is a natural oil produced by sheep and helps preserve wool fibers and increases the natural property of water resistance of wool.  You can find some very gentile cleansers here at Knit Picks that will be wonderful for your garments.
  •  If you are on a budget, a nice baby shampoo or gentile shampoo will do the trick!


Hand Washing Tips

  • Gently agitate the knitted item in the water. Never wring or scrub.  
  • Drain the sink and add fresh, cold water for rinsing. Repeat this process until all the water is clear and free of suds. 
  • Gather the garment together in a towel or support it underneath with something so as not to cause it to stretch while you transfer it to the drying area. 

 

Reshape and Dry


  •  Lay a dry bath towel on a flat surface large enough to hold your garment with arms extended if appropriatSqueeze out the excess water and lay item flat on a dry towel and roll up in the towel. Press firmly after rolling up...I usually jump on the towel to remove the excess water!. Place the knitted item on the dry towel and reshape into its original shape. Pat it into shape; avoid tugging or pulling. Gently push the ribbing together at the neckline, wrists and waist.   At this time be sure to pat the collar in shape, as well as fastening any buttons.  
  •  Allow the item to dry for 24 hours. If the garment hasn't dried completely flip it over and reshape gently and allow it to dry for several more hours. 
  • Once its dry, fold the garment and put it away. Never hang a garment that has been knit or crocheted as it will stretch it out of shape. 


I hope that these tips were helpful to you in your fiber art journey!

Till next time, Yarncoture xoxo

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Schiaparelli Bowknot Sweater !!

Hello everyone! I've been MIA it seems like more often these days. I have met some wonderful people who have been keeping my hands BUSY! Last year I had the honor of contacting Patricia Volk for a very special project. I learned that Patricia Volk was going on a book tour to promote her book entitled SHOCKING: My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me. (the sweater is on pp.136)and she was looking for someone to replicate the sweater for her. I was a bit apprehensive as I had never constructed a sweater before, nor had I done any serious colorwork. To make matters more interesting I had to learn the Armenian knitting technique for knitting color work AND the sweater had to be done in a month...WHEW! After discussing the particulars with Ms. Volk, we both decided that I could do it! I ordered the yarn from Knit Picks which was a very nice merino /cashmere blend yarn called "Capretta". While waiting for the yarn to arrive I swatched several samples to try my hand at the Armenian knitting technique
Once the yarn arrived I was able to practice a few swatches...the technique creates a fabric that allows a contrasting color to peek through the dominant color creating a shadow effect shown here:
I downloaded the pattern which was found on Ravelry and began to study the schematics...I definitely had my work cut out for me. Ms. Volk supplied me with original photos of the Schiaparelli Bowknot Sweater. I then had to magnify the photos and basically incorporate the stitch grid on the pattern to the photo I was provided. After intense concentration (which I still don't know how I was able to keep a cool head) the sweater slowly started to take shape.
After construction of all the pieces, they were blocked and then sewn together:
And there you have it! The Schiaparelli Bowknot Sweater! And here is a snapshot of Patricia Volk wearing it to a book signing
It was such an adventure to make this sweater....who knows what else is in store for Yarncoture? ;)

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