You may have noticed the weather is getting a little cooler. Leaves can be seen scurrying down paths (or changing colour) and lighting that first fire is surely not far away. Some of us have even started to stash away our shorts and t-shirts and wake our knitwear from its summer slumber.
At Joules, we love knitwear. In the early autumn, the relationship may start with a cosy jumper and a good book, but before you know it, getting close with a jumper or a cardigan will be part of your daily routine.
The more we wear our knits, the more they’ll need a little TLC to ensure they stay the same shape, size and of course, clean. We know that reading a knitwear label can be like deciphering a secret code, so to help you understand everything knitwear related, we’ve put together this helpful guide that features some top tips on wool care, as well as a little bit of knitted history thrown in for good measure.
We’ve all heard of wool, but what you may be surprised to learn is that wool comes in many different varieties, each with diverse properties that makes them the perfect accompaniment for many different occasions.
Cashmere is often described as the most premium of the wools used to make clothing, and it’s easy to see why. Famed for its soft pile, cashmere jumpers have a luxurious and opulent feel that is softer and warmer than traditional sheep wool. The silky fibres don’t have that itchy quality of normal wool, but it still provides exceptional warmth without having to layer up.
Merino wool is special in that its natural loft traps more heat between the fibres, making it warmer than a synthetic wool but no heavier. Merino wool is also the only wool that comes from the merino sheep.
While merino wool can only come from the merino sheep, lambswool can come from any species. This fine wool variety is incredibly soft and requires minimal processing, meaning it is ideal to be transformed into a variety of snuggly clothing items.
We’ve all been there haven’t we? Our beautiful knitted clothing coming out of the washing machine three sizes smaller than when it went in. Disaster. Whilst it’s fairly easy to wash wool clothing to ensure it keeps its shape and size, there are a few pitfalls that could spell tragedy for your favourite garment.
It’s important to know that different fibres need a different care routine. However, all of them are best either handwashed or on the wool cycle in your washing machine. This pre-created setting should wash your woollen garment at the correct temperature and spin cycle. If your machine doesn’t have a wool or handwash setting, it’s better to play it safe and handwash your clothes.
When it comes to the best detergent for wool, you should try to invest in a special wool detergent. These are generally low-alkaline and perfect for cashmere jumpers and other woollen items.
If you’re wondering how to dry wool, then it really couldn’t be simpler. Always air dry your knits as tumbling could cause shrinkage, and that’s the last thing we would want to happen.
Cashmere is the ultimate in premium raw textiles, so therefore it deserves a section all of its own.
Whilst it may be tempting to pop your expensive cashmere jumper down to the local dry cleaners, we’d recommend not. You’ll definitely come out with a clean garment, but dry cleaning uses harsh chemicals that will, over time, wear down the lovely soft fibres in your clothing.
Washing it by hand with a wool detergent, light or dark depending on the colour of your clothes, in lukewarm water, is the best way to keep your lovely piece looking its best for years to come. Just remember to reshape it after you’ve finished. Joules Top Tip: You can also try baby shampoo. The gentle formula is ideal for knitted clothing.
If you’ve spotted a few dreaded bobbles on your favourite cashmere garment, worry not. Carefully comb the fibres with a special cashmere comb to clear any unsightly bobbling. The same goes for other wool types too.
Having gone to the effort of giving your knits the special attention they deserve when washing, it’s worth a little extra TLC when it comes to storage too to keep your wool in tip-top shape.
After the washing process, lay your garment flat on a clean surface and stretch it gently back into shape. Ensure all buttons are fastened and pull the pockets and the hems straight, always making sure you’re not pulling too harshly. Avoid pegging your knitwear as this will leave unsightly marks, but placing them on a drying rack or radiator is fine.
It’s always best to fold your knits so they don’t stretch or drop on the hangers. Clothes hangers can also leave indentations on particularly soft clothing so folding is always the best option if you have the ability and space to do so.
If you have an article of woollen clothing that isn’t worn often, we’d recommend investing in some zip-lock bags or other clothing storage to protect wool from moths. Yes, the rumour is true, moths love munching on a yummy woollen jumper.
We thought we’d finish by giving you some woollen history. Knitted clothing was incredibly popular in the Highlands and remote Scottish islands, especially with fisherman who relied on the natural oils in wool to provide protection from the elements whilst out at sea. It is this heritage that inspired some of our upcoming cable knit clothing, as well as our Guernsey styles. These traditionally British designs have been updated with contemporary nautical detailing and include more natural fibres than any of our previous knitwear collections.
This versatility has lived on through the Joules collection of knitted clothing. Perfect for both the colder and warmer months, knitwear is easy to layer up depending on the weather each day, which in the UK, is an absolute blessing in itself. Easy to throw on over a pair of jeans if you’re in a rush or ideal for a more formal occasion, we love our knits. Plus, you often don’t have to iron your knitted clothes – hallelujah.
Do you have any trusty knits that you wear time and time again? Let us know below. In the meantime, check out our new knitwear heroes this season. Crafted for warmth, style and comfort, our latest collection of knitwear is perfect for adding an extra layer to an outfit when it’s needed most. Discover easy-to-wear cardigans that are perfect to pair with tunics and dresses to intarsias that are bursting with charm and character.