Blocking and caring for hand knit items is important. I’ve shared basic blocking and color setting tutorials in the past, so today, I want to share tips for maintaing your knitting, particularly if it’s a piece done in a fine fiber like yak or cashmere. I mean, after all the hard work of making your own creation, why not take the best possible care of it?
The hat on the left hasn’t been blocked. The hats on the right have been blocked with Allure fiber wash.
Knit garments need washing because they are clothes. They get dirty. The problem is that when you’re looking down the barrel of a cashmere shawl or a yak hat (ahem), you might feel a little intimidated. Heck, a lot of non-knitters are scared of simply laundering half of their clothes, especially wool sweaters, so it’s totally understandable that even as a knitter, you’re intimidated by washing something you spent a ton of time making.
I really like Allure Fiber Wash for laundering my knits for a few reasons. For one thing, it was actually developed by the folks behind Bijou Basin Ranch yarns, so they know their fine fibers well. (Fun fact: the developer is a chemist, and she worked for OxiClean in a past life. No joke.) Another reason I like Allure is that it’s a no residue, no rinse wash that works on hand-knit and delicate fabrics. It is biodegradable, made in the United States, and doesn’t involve animal testing. The no-rinse factor means that I’m using less water in the laundering process than with other cleaners, so that’s a nice bonus too.
How to care for knits made with yak yarn
Allure Fiber Wash
cold to lukewarm water
2 bath towels (hand towels are fine for smaller items like hats and mittens)
clean sink or mixing bowl
My laundering process is somewhat similar to my blocking process. Fill a clean basin/sink/mixing bowl with enough cold-to-lukewarm water to submerge your knit item. Place your item in the water and add 2 capfuls of Allure for every gallon of water used. Gently stir the Allure among the water to help evenly distribute it, but don’t go crazy and agitate your item too much. Let sit for 10 minutes.
After the 10 minutes, gently lift your item from the basin, supporting it from the bottom. Since Allure is a no rinse wash, you can lay the item straight down on a towel. Do not wring out the knitwear! Instead, roll it up in a dry towel, and press on the towel to remove excess moisture (see my blocking tutorial for tips on this). Finally, lay your item flat on a second, dry towel to air dry, flipping it occasionally as needed.
A tip for handling wet knitwear – don’t pluck it out of the water or let it hang off your hands too much. This can cause weird stretching while the fibers are wet simply from the weight of the water. Crazy, right?
Finally – voila! Your hat is beautifully, quickly and easily cleaned. While I prefer the fragrance free Allure due to my secret superhero power of smell (the struggle is real, my friends!), it also comes in two other scents. I really like Allure, particularly when it’s time to launder delicate fibers.
If you’re doing the knit along and are curious about Allure, you’re in luck! Two of the prizes for those who finish knitting their Delta Hats in Bijou Basin Ranch Yarn are Allure sample packs, which feature all 3 scents.
PS: In case you missed it, the grand prize for the KAL is two skeins of Bijou’s newest yarn, the 100% cashmere Xanadu, in the winner’s choice of color.
This post is part of the current knit along with Bijou Basin Ranch and yours truly! Yarn and fiber wash pictured were provided by Bijou Basin Ranch & Allure.