While going through my closet, getting rid of things that don't fit or I no longer liked, I pulled out all of my sweaters that need to be stored for the summer. I decided I'd do the knitterly thing and get them all tidy so I can wear them right away come fall.
I thought I'd share my process so you can spiff up your sweaters, too!
1. De-pill where needed. I have a Gleaner, so I used that, but you can also use a sweater stone, sweater comb, or even a razor if you use a light hand. This is also your chance to reweave any loose ends and fix snags. Just push a tapestry needle through the front (very near the snag), thread the snag or end through the eye of the needle, and draw it through to the backside. If the snag is long enough, weave in through a couple of stitches like you would a yarn end.
Fixing an end that's popped out the front.
2. Check for stains, smells, and general cleanliness. I'm pretty easy on my sweaters, but I have occasional spills just like anyone. I checked each sweater for spots, and gave it a good sniff. If it was spot-free and smelled clean, it went in the no-bath pile.
3. Wash sweaters if necessary. If a sweater does need a bath, I soak it in Eucalan, roll it in clean towels to get out the excess water, and lay it out flat to dry. I use my hands to smooth out any wrinkles. You can put a few sweaters in to soak at once, just make sure they're similar colors in case one of them bleeds. I always throw in a color-catcher (available in the laundry aisle) just in case. I fill up my laundry room sink and I can fit at least four sweaters. You don't have to soak them for long, just until the water is fully absorbed. If you have a spot, lightly rub a tiny bit of Eucalan on it before you soak it, and leave it in the sink for about 30 minutes.
4. Re-block if necessary. I've rarely had to totally re-block a garment after washing, but sometimes a sweater has a mind of its own and it won't stay put after laying it out on the blocking boards. When this happens, I simply smooth out wrinkles with my hands and add a few Knit Blockers (these are the BEST!) to hold it in place. Let it dry, and it's good as new!
5. Fold and store. I store my sweaters by folding the arms behind and then folding them in half. I stack them and keep them in a cabinet with cedar blocks and a lavender sachet. The cedar keeps the moths away, and some say the lavender does, too, but I just like the way it smells.
This all took me one afternoon, plus drying time. It was an afternoon well-spent, because my sweaters are clean and ready for their summer nap! Plus, I got to see all of them and unearthed a couple that I didn't even wear last fall and winter. Those are on the top of the piles so I see them next fall!