Monday, January 10, 2011

Sweater Weather

I grew up in California, and, in case you were wondering, what the Beach Boys and Katy Perry have told you is true about us California girls.  I was tan and wore flip-flops, shorts and bikinis all year. There was nary a boot, turtleneck, or scarf to be found within 100 miles of my closet. So, needless to say, when I moved to Boston for college, I was more than a little out to lunch and wildly unprepared for winter. Suffice it to say, I brought twelve sarongs with me, and zero coats.
The first day it really got cold that fall, I had to wear all of my clothes at once in order to keep from freezing on my way to the dining hall. Over the course of that year, I picked up a thing or two in the classroom, but what I mostly acquired was a collection of sweaters, which the intervening years of my east-coast residence have only served to multiply. And, strangely, I have come to love sweaters. The problem with sweaters, though, is, unlike sarongs, you can't just throw them in the laundry. And, if you, um, glow like I do when the radiator kicks on, dry cleaning can get rather pricey. Luckily, after years of trial and error, I discovered a method for washing my wool and cashmere sweaters at home, which leaves them cleaner, fresher, and softer than dry cleaning.  Which is good, because I now pretty much wear a daily uniform of jeans and cute sweater from October until May. The rest of the time, I'm back in shorts and flip-flops. After all, you can take the girl out of California...

 Step 1: Fill your sink with hot or warm (you heard me!) water and a squirt of Dawn, or another gentle dishwashing liquid, and carefully place your sweater in it. Contrary to popular belief, hot water is not damaging to wool, but regular laundry detergent (even Woolite) and agitation ARE. So avoid the urge to swish or agitate the water once you have put the sweater in, and just let it soak until spots are dissolved. 
 Step 2: If your washing machine has a Delicates setting for "Rinse" and "Spin", you can move your sweater into the washer and use those two cycles to, well, rinse and spin it. If your washer doesn't do that, gently drain the soapy water in your sink, and refill the sink with warm water a few times until the sweater is rinsed. Then, carefully transfer the sweater to a dry towel and roll the towel until the sweater is just damp.
Step 3: Transfer the sweater to a dry towel, and lay it out flat, in the shape the sweater will be worn. Allow sweater to dry completely before folding and putting it away.  See- no sweat!

13 comments:

Mister Sharaf said...

great read :)

Anonymous said...

I once had an experienced knitter tell me to wash my woolen items with shampoo. It's a type of "hair" after all...

Cathy

April a.k.a. "A. Liz" said...

I heard the same thing recently about Woolite -- shocking, really! Thanks for the tip. I often skip out on wearing my great sweaters just because I dread the hand-washing or dry cleaning bill!

BlahCooCooBlah said...

Thanks for the tips. I know how you feel about the weather change. I grew up in SLC, Ut and even though we got all 4 seasons, since moving to Ireland, all I can say is, god I miss a REAL summer with sun! :D Nice blog you have here, following!

Jennifer in Texas said...

Just stumbled upon your blog and love it! You sound just like me, except I am 35 with two kids.....We are definitely part of a dying breed. One that I would love to see come back!

cailen ascher said...

i just got back from my first visit to cali. what a fabulous mini-vaca. the weather was just perfect - 70 and sunny every day...

anyway, i just happened upon your blog and it's super cute. will definitely be back again.

www.cailenascher.blogspot.com

cailen ascher said...

p.s. following you now

p.p.s. if you're interested, you can visit my cali post at http://cailenascher.blogspot.com/2011/01/california-gurls.html

: )

Miss Val's Creations said...

Great tutorial! I will have to try this. Sweaters are a necessity in the Boston region!!!! ~Val

Jenny said...

I agree with Cathy - I'm a knitter and I used to wash all of my sweaters using the method you described, but I would use shampoo as the soap and do a rinse / soak afterwards in conditioner.

Now I have a washer that has a hand-washing cycle. It's my new best friend.

akprincess72 said...

Thank you!!! I live in 'real' sweater weather (Interior AK, it's currently -36 F) & this tip will come in handy & be shared with all I know as well! =)

Jen said...

This is fantastic! We always have a huge pile of dry-clean-onlys sitting in our living room for ages (the dry cleaner is basically only open when we're both at work), so I don't get to wear some of my cutest sweaters as often as I'd like. Thanks for the super useful info!

Wimbledon cleaners said...

Great advice. Really informative and helpful read.

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