Spoil Yourself January: Top Tips for Self Care

The holiday rush is over, the New Year has started and winter is here to stay. This month we’re taking a look at self-care and how to spoil ourselves with a few moments of peace, quiet and comfort. Get inspired to find a few wonderful moments for yourself this January with the ideas below!

Making Time for You

Even if you’ve got a million things to do, making time to refresh and revitalize is important. We have a Pinterest board full of great ideas for self-care that will fit into virtually any schedule. From making bath bombs in K cups (or purchasing and using them), to doing a short digital detox, to just drinking more water, we’ve got tons of ideas on how you can relax and refresh this month.

Meditation and Craft

Many people find knitting or crocheting soothing and meditative, a time to rhythmically make stitches and forget about the stresses of the day. There are plenty of beginner-friendly projects to make and use to pamper yourself (if you’re brand-new to crafting, check out VeryPink’s videos on basic knitting techniques, if you’re itching to crochet we love this post on Craftsy/Bluprint).

We love handknit (or crocheted) washcloths paired with yummy artisanal soaps for a luxurious end of the day routine – try Water Lily by Sybil R, Bodhi Leaf Washcloth by Julia Farwell-Clay, or the Jazz Age Washcloth by Jenny Catchings to get you started!


Getting Hygge With It

Hygge is a Danish concept that generally means a comfortableness or coziness with feelings of contentment and well being. Practically speaking, the Danes add things like candlelight, plush pillows and throws, and good books to their cozy home life in the winter months when days are short and nights are long. Add a scented candle wherever you linger in the house, or take time in the evening to cozy up with a blanket, a mug of your favorite steaming beverage, and a good book. Treat yourself to some quiet moments where you can feel warm and secure. Add some hygge to your life!

Don’t be afraid to spoil yourself this month – you deserve it!

Like this post? Pin it!

Washing Oversized Items with Eucalan

Christmas is over, the new year is around the corner, and we know you’re breathing a sigh of relief that you’ve survived another holiday season! If your house needs some attention after the holiday festivities, today we’re going to focus on how to clean oversized items such as blankets, quilts, and comforters with Eucalan.

Spot Cleaning

For specific problem areas on oversized items, Eucalan is great for spot cleaning. First, check for colour fastness on whatever you plan to clean. Then, ask yourself if the item has been washed before – if this is its first washing, there is an increased possibility of colours running or bleeding.

To test for colour-fastness, place a swatch of the fabric or yarn in a jar with water and a small amount of Eucalan. Shake the jar and see if the water changes colour and how many suds you get. Alternatively, you can dampen an inside seam, wait a minute or two and blot with a white cotton cloth. If colour appears, use caution. Most dyes used on yarn are reactive dyes and stand up to washing in 120 degree Fahrenheit water; if a yarn was dyed at a high temperature it can stand up to that temperature without shrinking or fading.

For spot cleaning, treat any problem areas with full-strength Eucalan. If you’re looking for more information about how to treat specific stains, sign up for our newsletter and get a free pdf download of our handy new Guide to Stain Removal!

Washing

If you have a washing machine big enough to handle a quilt or comforter, the good news is that you can use Eucalan in the washer!

If you have a top loading machine, set your washing machine to the delicate cycle and fill the drum with cool water. Add approximately 4 tablespoons of Eucalan for a large quilt or comforter. Then submerge the item in the drum and run through the gentle or handwash cycle.

If you have a front loading machine, place your item in the drum. Set the machine to the delicate cycle and cool water. Add 4 tablespoons of Eucalan to the detergent compartment and run the cycle.

Drying

To dry your oversized item, you have two options. First, you can hang it to dry – just make sure it’s away from direct sunlight which can cause whites to yellow or colours to fade. Your second option is to machine dry, provided your materials will stand up to tumble drying. Set the dryer to low or cool air and dry the quilt or comforter gently; it’s important to avoid high heat so that your items don’t shrink.

Extra Care for Woolens

If the item you’re washing is wool, you may need to stick to handwashing to avoid agitating, felting or shrinking. If you’re concerned about using the washing machine, your best bet is to fill a large tub or basin with cool water and add anywhere between a capful to 4 tablespoons of Eucalan, depending on the size of your blanket. Then gently submerge your blanket in the water, pressing gently to ensure that the blanket is completely wet. Avoid agitating the blanket to prevent any felting of the wool fibers. Leave the blanket in the tub or basin for approximately 15-20 minutes. Then drain the water, and press the blanket gently to release excess water. Take care to avoid squeezing and wringing the blanket so as not to cause friction, or to stretch it out of shape. If your washer has the option to do a spin cycle only, you may wish to place your blanket in the washer to spin additional water out. Otherwise, roll the blanket in clean, dry towels to absorb any moisture.

Once you have gotten as much excess water as you can out of your blanket, you can dry it using the instructions above, or gently lay it out on more clean, dry towels, press it into shape, and let it dry.

We hope that we’ve helped you conquer some of the oversized items on your to do list!

Did you like this post? Pin it!

Joyous and Crafty Holiday Get-Togethers

The holidays are almost here and parties are in full swing! It’s not too late to organize your own get together. Try centering your gathering around a theme such as a festive holiday craft, a cookie baking or cookie exchange party, or revisit our post about hosting a gift wrapping party!

Craft Parties

If you don’t have a project idea, but would like to plan a holiday-themed evening of crafting with friends, we have a Pinterest board full of Holiday Cheer ideas!

Pick one of these DIY Modern Christmas Trees, make a yummy Sugar Scrub, craft beautiful wreaths (for Hannukah or Christmas), or craft something that isn’t holiday related but will add warmth to your home over the winter like our Easy DIY Fringe Wall Hanging with Pom Poms.

Cookie Parties

This season is full of sweetness and it starts right in your own kitchen. Invite guests to bring their favorite cookie or baked goods recipes and bake them all together in your kitchen. Stock your kitchen with basic ingredients and ask your friends to bring anything special they may need, plus copies of the recipes. Be sure to bake enough that everyone leaves with some to share; we just love this cookie wrapping station so everyone can take home their favorites.

Or invite friends over for a cookie swap. Have each friend bring their favorite baked good (RSVP with item in advance so you don’t end up with duplicates) with enough to share among all the guests. Again, bring recipes to swap so everyone can remake their favorites! Also set up a lovely hot chocolate or coffee station, and enjoy relaxing with friends and cookie tasting.

If you’re looking for some extra fun and games for the evening, check out these adorable Cookie Exchange Party Printables. Cookie trivia anyone?

Lovely Holiday Extras

No matter what activity you decide to do at your party, you can ensure a lovely evening with yummy bites and fun music.

For hors d’oeuvres, how about this beautiful Caprese Wreath, these tempting Apple Bacon Brie Bites, Gravlax with Mustard Dill Sauce, or any of these last minute make ahead recipes to name a few? Or surf Pinterest or rediscover your cookbook shelf for ideas. Don’t forget to check out our tips on how to set a beautiful table!

For music, curate your favorite list of holiday tunes on Spotify, turn on Pandora, set up a playlist on Youtube, or set your music collection up to shuffle and provide the evening’s entertainment. Or turn on the Yule Log (always available on Netflix) to set a scene with a roaring fire!

We hope we’ve given you some inspiration for how to host a crafty and yummy holiday get together!

Like this post? Pin it!

 

Jen’s Top 10 Holiday Décor ideas

Christmas is almost here! Today I share some of my favourite decorating tips to add a warm touch to your home during the holiday season. I hope these festive ideas inspire you to make merry – and if you need some great baking ideas, check out last year’s Top 10 list, found here!

1. Choose a theme / colour scheme. Start by looking for inspiration in your local stores, magazines or online. My inspiration for softer muted colours hit me a few years ago when I saw a set of ornaments I loved. Everything else fell into place after that. Yes, I try to make sure my gift wrap coordinates in some way, too!

2. I’m a sucker for little lights whether they are from candlelight, the fireplace, the Christmas tree…or all three! In particular, I’m inspired by French Country Cottage.

3. A simple and elegant table setting looks inviting during the bright daylight or in the evening. I love this one from Shabbyfufu. You can also check out our last blog post, 4 Tips for Setting a Beautiful Table, for more ideas.

4. If you’re inclined to decorate with food…sugar cookies fit any theme or décor! I tried my hand at them for the first time last year with all the supplies and instructions from Sweet Sugar Belle. I came across and old aluminum serving tray which fit them just perfectly.

5. I love how Christmas smells! Placing some simple, fresh ingredients in a pot of boiling water on the stove really sets the mood. There are lots of ideas on Pinterest, but here’s a link to a cute idea with a free printable to make gifts for your loved ones.

6. If lights and food and scents aren’t quite enough, music will surely put the finishing touch on any holiday event. I love classic crooners like Diana Krall, Anne Murray, and Michael Buble. And this underrated gem: Barenaked Ladies “Elf’s Lament” with Michael Buble:

7. Faux greens can really elevate a display (not to mention, they’ll last through the season!). Stone Gable has some tips and ideas on how to use good quality fakes and where to find them.

8. Gingerbread houses really fit into many categories. They’re food. They’re décor. They’re a great craft for adults and kids. The possibilities are endless! I’ve started my own Pinterest board for inspiration.

9. How about getting creative with snowflakes? They can be left up all winter long too!

10. Whether you imbibe or not, a bar cart is a great way to decorate and isn’t just for alcoholic beverages. I just love this one from Setting For Four.

11. One extra tip / idea that I love is to whittle down what you use for your decorations each year. If you don’t put out some of your décor for a couple of years it may be time to get rid of it.  Consider donating those items if no one in your family wants them. Someone else out there will love them as much as you used to.

Happy Decorating!

4 Tips for Setting a Beautiful Table

Now that you’ve got your guest bedroom ready, it’s time to focus on an important holiday tradition: gathering to enjoy a delicious meal around a table. Whether it’s your turn to cook or set the table, we have a few tips for creating a gorgeous space where everyone can enjoy your holiday meal.

1. Table Linens. Of course we’re starting with table linens, as they set the base for your tablescape. If you’re putting heirloom linens on the table, we have a special post on Caring for Vintage Table Linens just for you! For non-vintage linens, you can spot treat and wash in a basin with Eucalan, or launder in the washing machine with Eucalan using the gentle cycle, then drying on low heat. Napkins or tablecloths with embroidery will require a little TLC, especially if you’re planning to iron them – check out our post on Caring for Embroidered Pieces for more details. Even if you decide against a table cloth in favour of more informal dining, adding cloth napkins to the table will give your scene a warm, homey touch.

2. Dishes and Utensils. If you’re worrying because you don’t have matching service for the guests you’re expecting, stop! Some of the most beautiful tables can be set with mismatched dishes. Select a colour or shape and build on that theme, then stack dishes in layers (think chargers, dinner plates, salad plates and more) to create visual interest. If you don’t have enough flatware, consider mixing and matching there as well. Do make sure you include enough dishes and flatware to cover the courses you will be serving (don’t forget the dessert forks and spoons for coffee) or plan to clear the table and switch for new dishes between each one. Finally, ensure that you’ve got all the necessary serving utensils for each dish! Although this is a Thanksgiving tablescape, we love the tips found in this Hostess with the Mostest post.

Photo Credit: Madisyn Fecko

3. Place Settings. Once you’ve laid your linens, dishes and flatware, it’s time to dress up each place setting. You might choose to do this with fancy napkin adornments, or by adding fun place cards at each setting. For little ones, try adding activities at each place setting to keep children entertained throughout the meal. Again, go back to the colour or theme you have chosen and select adornments that complement the table. We just love this simple pine cone place setting from HGTV and this unique place card holder from House of Hargrove.

Photo Credit (L to R): HGTV and House of Hargrove

4. Centrepieces. The world is your oyster as you create a focal point for your table! You could lay a table runner, and create a centrepiece that runs the length of the table. Or, add fresh seasonal flowers to instantly brighten up the scene. If you’re looking for a bit more ambiance, add candles to the table to create an intimate dining atmosphere – we love the luminaries featured at Today’s Creative Life. You could also opt to group several seasonal items together to create your own unique centrepiece like in this collection of images from Better Homes & Gardens.

Photo Credit: Today’s Creative Life

Photo Credit: Better Homes & Gardens

Our final note isn’t a tip about creating a beautiful table, but on how to clean up after you host that amazing dinner. In How to Remove Common Party Stains, we delve into what to do just in case dinner gets sloshed or spilled on your table linens or carpets!

We hope these tips help you create the holiday table of your dreams this year. Need more inspiration? We have a Pinterest board full of great ideas for festive Table Settings and Tablescapes.

Like this post? Pin it!

7 Tips for Creating Cozy Guest Spaces

As previously mentioned, we’re focusing on ways to make your home warm and cozy for fall and winter. With the holidays approaching, odds are good that you’ll be hosting houseguests sometime in the next few months. If you’re worried about the state of your house, we hope this post will give you some great inspiration for creating cozy bedrooms and wonderful spaces that will keep your guests hoping for another invite!

1. The Bed. One of the most important things guests will want while they stay with you is a comfortable place to sleep! So start with the bed to create a fabulous guest space.  Make sure that you launder your sheets and comforters or blankets before guests arrive. Did you know that you can use Eucalan in your washing machine? Be sure to set the temperature to cold or tepid water, and add Eucalan to the machine, then wash as normal! We recommend drying away from heat and direct sunlight, so you can tumble dry on low or air dry. If you have comforters or handmade quilts, you can also wash those in the washer, just make sure you select the delicate cycle and cool water, and you’re all set. If you have wool blankets for your guest bedroom, we have a great tutorial on washing wool blankets with Eucalan. And of course, you have your choice of Eucalan scents so everything will smell amazing and clean! If you’re looking for bedding inspiration, we love everything Stone Gable does to create her guest rooms!

2. The Bathroom. Of course your guests will need a fresh, clean bathroom during their stay. Whether the bathroom is only theirs to use, or shared across the household, make sure you stock it with everything they will need. You can launder towels (bath, hand and washcloths) ahead of time in the washer with Eucalan to make them clean, fluffy and oh so fresh! Make sure you place them somewhere accessible to your guests so they don’t even have to ask. You should also stock the guest bathroom area with plenty of toilet paper, sample shampoos, conditioners and lotions, and spare items they may have forgotten like toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss. You can also add a small selection of other items: mending kits, analgesics or other over the counter medications, hair bands, mouthwash, etc. We love this cute tiered basket from Our Home Away from Home.


3. The Light. Make sure your guest bedroom and bathroom are appropriately lit. There’s nothing worse than creating a space that’s either overly dark or too bright. Add bedside lamps with natural light bulbs to allow your guests to set the light levels in the room. If the guest room has windows, make sure there are drapes or window treatments for privacy, but also open them to let light in during the day. We love the simple bedside table setup from Driven by Decor.


4. The Blankets and Pillows. Make sure your guests are cozy and warm and accessorize your guest room space by adding extra blankets and throws to the room. Pile pillows on the bed to make a cozy nest for your guests to retreat to! Here is where you can add your own favorite colors or style to the room. If you’re a knitter or crocheter, why not add a cozy blanket you’ve created? If you’re a quilter, add a quilt you’ve sewn. We love this cozy looking bed from oh.eight.oh.nine.

5. The Storage. When your guests arrive with their suitcases and and bags, they’re going to need a place to store them. Invest in a simple luggage rack which you can place at the end of the bed or in the closet to hold suitcases or bags. And don’t forget about the closet! While most of us use the guest bedroom closet as storage space, try and keep a small area clear for guests to hang their clothes, along with a few free hangers. If you want to up your game, add bathrobes or other cozy items to the closet as an unexpected surprise! If there’s no existing closet in your space (or it’s packed) you can always add a small armoire to create extra storage space.


6. The Flowers. Adding fresh flowers or greenery to a room instantly brightens it up with fresh life. Choose seasonally appropriate flowers and make a small bouquet for the bedside table. A small vase with just a few buds will do and add a nice touch that shows you spent time making the guest room a special place for your guests. We can’t get over how this arrangement of mums in Stone Gable’s fall bedroom makes everything glow!


7. The Final Touches. Once you’ve got the basics of your guest space covered, now it’s time to add the little touches that allow you to share your personal style with your guests. Perhaps you want to add a small welcome tray to the bed, stocked with water, charging cables and other goodies? Or add a small framed sign with the Wi-Fi password to give your guests easy access to the internet. Add books or magazines that might be of interest to your guests for a little light reading before bed. Add picture frames or handmade crafts for a homey touch, or yummy smelling candles to add warm cozy scents and a bit of light.


We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips on creating warm, wonderful spaces for your guests this holiday season!

Like this post? Pin it!

Easy DIY Fringe Wall Hanging with Pom Poms

This quarter, as the weather turns colder and we spend more time indoors, we’re focusing on ways to make your house a warm and cozy place to be. We fell in love with this recent project tutorial created by Brown Sheep Company, and it turns out that they are fans of Eucalan, so they generously agreed to let us share it with you here on our blog.

This is one of those crafty projects that can instantly warm up the walls in a room and is so customizable it can match any color scheme and decor – plus, you don’t need to know how to knit and crochet!

When preparing your yarns for this project, go ahead and give them a quick bath in Eucalan, and you can use Eucalan to spot treat your wall hanging in the future should it need a quick freshening up. Without further ado, we give you the Brown Sheep Easy DIY Fringe Wall Hanging With Pom Poms.

***

The fall fringe trend doesn’t have to be limited to garments and accessories! Today, we’ll show you how to make a modern wall hanging to add a handmade touch to any room using a few skeins of Lamb’s Pride bulky and worsted yarn – no knitting or crocheting required!

You’ll need just a few supplies to make one wall hanging:

  • 1 skein Lamb’s Pride Bulky for fringe (we used Grey Heather for the hanging pictured on the left, and Tormented Teal for the hanging pictured on the right)
  • 1 skein Lamb’s Pride Worsted for pom poms and hanger (we used Tormented Teal for the hanging pictured on the left and Grey Heather for the hanging pictured on the right)
  • 1 14-inch length wooden dowel rod (ours was 1/4″ diameter)
  • 1 pom pom maker in sizes 5.5cm and 3.5cm
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Marker or pencil
  • Optional: Eucalan wool wash or fabric steamer

Begin by cutting lengths of bulky weight yarn for your fringe. You will need each of the following:

  • 5 lengths – 44″
  • 6 lengths – 40″
  • 6 lengths – 35″
  • 6 lengths – 30″
  • 6 lengths – 25″
  • 8 lengths – 20″

We recommend washing each of these lengths before proceeding to the next step using your favourite scent of Eucalan wool wash – this will remove any kinks in the yarn resulting from being in the skein, and it will also allow them to plump up a bit. If you are pressed for time, try using a hand held fabric steamer for this step. Whichever option you choose, make sure your yarn lengths are completely dry before continuing.

Begin by marking the center of your dowel rod with your marker or pencil:

This is where you will begin attaching fringe; to do so, simply fold the length of yarn in half and create a loop, then pull the tail ends around the dowel rod and through the loop, tugging them gently and evenly to secure.

Starting at the center, attach all 5 lengths of the 44″ fringe. You may need to trim some of the ends to even them up, but keep in mind that they don’t need to be absolutely perfect – a little variation will just add texture!

From now on, you’ll be attaching half of each set of yarn lengths on either side of the fringe on your dowel rod. Continue adding each length of fringe, from longest to shortest, to your dowel rod, working from the center. You will attach 3 each from the 40″, 35″, 20, and 25″ lengths on either side of your center fringe, and 4 each from the 20″ lengths at each end of the dowel rod.


Next, make your pom poms! You can make as few or as many as you like; for the wall hanging shown here, we created one 5.5cm and two 3.5cm pom poms with our contrasting yarn and attached them to the center like so (you may need to trim some of the yarn ends from your pom so that they don’t show through the fringe when hung on the wall).

For our second wall hanging, we created a garland with one 5.5cm pom pom in the center and three 3.5cm pom poms on either side, which we then attached to the dowel rod. Play around to see what you like best!

Finally, cut a 20″ length of worsted weight yarn and tie to either end of your dowel rod. Hang and enjoy!

Like this post? Pin it!

Hot News in Lingerie

What’s new and trending in the world of lingerie and loungewear? Recently, there have been several exciting events where we’ve spotted hot new trends the world of lingerie. Today we share some of the highlights to keep you up to date.

Lingerie Shows

Each year, Curve hosts two annual trade shows that showcase leading lingerie and swimwear brands alongside PROJECT WOMENS contemporary ready-to-wear brands. The New York show took place at the end of July and the Las Vegas show took place mid-August.

Although we were unable to attend the Curve shows this year, we love seeing what hot new trends in lingerie and swimwear are coming our way. The Lingerie Journal provided excellent recaps of both Las Vegas and New York!

Axami. Photo by John Brown, JSG Photography.

Hot New Trends

Did you know the hot new trend is wet-look lingerie? Wet-look lingerie is designed out of a nylon/spandex blend that is meant to look wet when worn. One of the concerns raised by many customers is how to keep the fabric looking great, even after washing.

Our friends over at The Lingerie Journal have a great post about how to care for this hot lingerie trend using Eucalan. Why not use Wrapture for an intoxicating, sexy jasmine fragrance? Check it out!

In Intimate Detail

We are thrilled to announce that our friend Cora Harrington of The Lingerie Addict has published a book! In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear and Love Lingerie is a must-have compendium with 152 gorgeously-illustrated pages. In Intimate Detail covers everything from the basics of shopping for bras and underwear, to how to shop for a corset, purchase custom lingerie, discover your ideal wedding underpinnings, or buy a binder for the first time. This a resource you’ll read and re-read for years to come.


Cora is traveling now for book signings. She’ll be at the Department of Curiosities in Chicago this weekend and she has another signing coming up in Brooklyn in October. Follow Cora on Instagram to learn where she’ll be next!

We hope this keeps you up to date on the hottest happenings in lingerie! If you have any questions on how to care for your lingerie, check out some of our previous posts on how to keep your delicates looking great and smelling amazing. We also have a lingerie board on Pinterest if you’re looking for some shopping ideas!

7 Activities to Celebrate Autumn

Crisp fall days are almost here and we want to make the most of them before we get snowed in for the winter! Whether you call it fall or autumn, today we’re sharing a list autumn activities that we look forward to each year. We hope some of them will help you celebrate the changing of the seasons!

  1. Have an apple picking party! Take a picnic lunch full of tasty nibbles and a few of your best friends and head to a local apple orchard to enjoy the crisp autumn weather, and fresh apples. When you get home, start thinking about apple pie, apple butter and caramel apples, or any of your favourite treats. If you want some more ideas check out An Apple Picking Party from My Name is Yeh.

  1. If you’re in an area where the seasons change, make the most of the beauty around you and take a drive to watch the leaves change into brilliant colors. Collect some of those fallen leaves to bring home with you and create any number of crafty projects like this Fall Leaf Wreath from The Cards We Drew.

  1. Stay indoors and make hearty fall soups! When the weather outside is rainy and cool, warm up indoors and make the house smell amazing by putting together a fall soup. Whether you prefer a squash bisque or a hearty stew we’re sure you’ll find something to try in House Beautiful’s 50 Most Delicious Fall Soups.

  1. Have a bonfire party with s’mores! There’s no better way to enjoy those chilly fall nights than outdoors with friends and a roaring fire. Make sure guests young and old have something sweet to toast over the fire with the perfect DIY S’mores station.

  1. Head to the local pumpkin patch. Pick pumpkins to carve, wander through a corn maze, do activities with the little ones, and take some fabulous family photos. When you get home, roast pumpkin seeds for a tasty autumn snack!

  1. Craft for autumn! Make Cinnamon Scented Pine Cones, Fall Luminaries, a Fall Leaf Canvas, or an Autumn Handprint Tree. Knit an autumn scarf or hat, or a blanket to cozy up with by the fire using inspiration from our Pinterest Knits and Knitting board.

  1. Try a new pumpkin spice recipe! Savor these Pumpkin Donuts, make your own Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte, serve up a delicious breakfast with Pumpkin Spice Waffles, or get fancy with these Pumpkin Spice Macarons. The only limit is your imagination!


We hope we’ve given you some inspiration to plan some autumn activities to enjoy with family and friends. If you’re looking for more ways to celebrate the season, we have a Pinterest board full of crafty ideas, recipes and fun ways to enjoy the crisp autumn air.

Like this post? Pin it!

Getting Ready for Fall – Laundering and Mending Your Woolens

Though you may not be feeling the chill in the air just yet, fall and winter are coming. This means it’s time to pull out your cozy woolens and get them ready for wear!

We recommend laundering your sweaters at the end of each spring, before you pack them away for the summer. This cleans them of any oils from your skin and makes them less palatable to moths and other fibre loving insects. However, if you’ve missed that step, there’s no time like the present to launder your woolens.

Fill a basin with tepid water and add a capful of Eucalan or the contents of a single use pod. Add your sweater and let sit for 20 minutes, then remove your sweater, gently squeezing to release excess water. You don’t want to wring your sweater – this will only pull it out of shape.  Wrap it in a clean, dry towel and press gently to release more water. Lay flat to dry on another clean dry towel, gently pressing into shape, and dry away from heat and direct sunlight.

If you washed your sweaters before packing them away for the season, now is the perfect time to pull them out and freshen them up for wear!  To get rid of creases and reblock your sweaters for wearing, you can skip the full wash and just spray block your sweaters by lightly misting them with a spray bottle filled with a dash of Eucalan and cool water. Then press your sweater gently into shape and let dry.

De-Pilling

Given enough use and wear, even the nicest sweaters and woolens will start to have little balls of fiber appear. Pilling occurs when loose fibres push up from the fabric, eventually gathering in small balls – simply washing and wearing can cause this! You can remove these pills using a variety of tools: a Sweater Stone, a Gleener, or a fabric comb. We have a great video that demonstrates how to de-pill a sweater.

Mending

Even with the best care, sweaters and other woolen items may develop holes over time. With a little creativity and ingenuity, you can mend these items and continue wearing them! If you find a defect along a seam, or while you still have some of the original yarn used in the project in reserve, you may be able to mend your item invisibly. If neither of these are an option, however, you may consider visible mending.  

Visible mending is a new hot trend where you repair your garment using bright, fun colours or designs so that the mending itself becomes a feature of the garment. We found this great photo collection of mending for knit sweaters by Collingwood-Norris Design.

Interweave also has a couple of useful posts on visible mending. The first post has some tips and tricks on how to visibly mend your garments, though they focus on a pair of jeans rather than a sweater. The second post focuses on spinning yarn for visible mending. Either way, the steps are fairly similar:

  1. Gather your tools. You will need: sharp scissors, a tapestry needle, yarn or thread (various colours and weights depending on the yarn used in the garment), a flat surface for working, DPNs (double pointed needles) in the appropriate size for picking up stitches.  
  2. Lay your work out flat. Make sure you’ve got your garment laid out flat on a working surface in front of you. The garment shouldn’t be held taut, but rather laid out how you would block it. Isolate the areas in need of mending.
  3. Pick up stitches and trim loose threads. You want your working area to be clean and neat. Where possible, pick up stitches using your DPNs to stabilize the stitches from dropping further and making the hole growing bigger. Trim any long threads that might get in your way while you are working; shorter threads can be trimmed after you mend.        
  4. Decide on your mending process and start mending. There are a variety of ways to mend holes in garments. If you are picking up stitches on a fraying edge, you may wish to reknit that section. If you are darning a hole in an elbow, you may wish to weave a patch using needle and thread, much like you would darn a sock. Or you may choose to embroider the edges of the hole, or over the hole completely if it is small. If you’re looking for more resources on visible mending ideas and stitches there are a variety of books on Amazon as well as an article in one of the recent Mason-Dixon Field Guides, and the inspiring Tom of Holland’s The Visible Mending Programme.                                     
  5. Weave in and trim your ends. Once you have finished mending, you want to weave in your ends. This includes some of those shorter ends from the beginning, if you haven’t already worked those into your mending. Make sure everything is snug and secure so nothing pulls loose later on.      
  6. Launder your garment.  When you’re done, you may wish to launder your garment again. Fill a basin with tepid water and add a capful of Eucalan or the contents of a single use pod. Add your sweater and let sit for 20 minutes, then remove your sweater, gently squeezing to release excess water. You don’t want to wring your sweater – this will only pull it out of shape.  Wrap it in a towel and press gently to release more water. Lay flat to dry, gently pressing into shape, and dry away from heat and direct sunlight.

Photo credit: Interweave Magazine, Mending the Year: 3 Tips for Darning Well

If you’re looking for more details on getting your sweaters ready for fall, you can check out our previous post on Caring for your Handknit Sweater.

We hope this post has helped you get excited for fall and for wearing your warm woolens again!