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One of the best parts of finishing a project you've worked long and hard on is finally getting to wear it! But after all that wear, how are you going to care for your finished project? With these helpful tricks, laundering your handmade garments will be simple, and you'll be able to enjoy them for years to come.


It's not everyone's favorite part of knitting or crocheting (or weaving, for that matter), and we say it often, but making a gauge swatch is probably the most important piece of the puzzle. Not only does it give you an accurate idea of how many stitches per inch you're knitting or crocheting, but it lets you know how the final fabric will behave. After measuring your prewashed gauge, wash the swatch the same way you intend on washing your finished garment. That way, you can see how much your project might grow (or shrink!) without sacrificing the entire project to the too-late realization that you need to launder your garment differently. And don't forget your yarn label—does it say to hand wash, even though the fiber content is 100% superwash Merino wool? There's probably a reason for that!

Image showing how to check gauge of a swatch


Even if you've knit with a machine-washable fiber—like superwash wool, cotton, or acrylic—we typically prefer hand washing. After all, you've spent all that time making your project, why not wash it the gentlest way possible? Our favorite way to hand wash a garment is to fill a sink, a basin, or even a bathtub with lukewarm water, then add a small amount of a gentle wool wash, like Eucalan. Soak the garment until it's fully saturated, about 30 minutes. Alternate soaking and gently squeezing water and dirt out of the garment until it's clean, but don't wring the garment out—it could ruin its integrity and warp the project.

Image of a sweater soaking in a sink

Once the garment is clean, gently squeeze out all the excess water by laying the garment on a clean towel and rolling it up, lightly pushing water out with each roll. Once you're sure the excess water is gone, reblock your garment: lay it on blocking mats to reshape it, pin it to its original measurements with T-pins or Knit Blockers, and leave it in a safe place until it's completely dry. It'll look like new in no time!

Image of a project laid out and pinned to a blocking mat.


There are some instances when machine washing just makes more sense. If you have a baby blanket, kitchen towels, or larger items that are too difficult to wash by hand, machine washing is A-OK! Make sure to set the washing machine to the delicate cycle unless your yarn label says it can be washed in the regular cycle. Before you put your items in the washing machine, check them out—are there snags in the lace or ends poking out? Take care of those first—you don't want to open the washing machine only to find a mangled baby blanket that has begun to unravel. We like washing handmade items separately, especially if the yarn is hand-dyed, to make sure that the colors don't bleed (a color catcher—usually found in the laundry aisle at the store—comes in handy to make sure this doesn't happen). Using Eucalan or another gentle wool wash is generally best as well, because regular detergents can often be too harsh to use on yarn. Unless the yarn label says it's OK to put it in the dryer, reblock your garment to its original measurements, and lay it flat to dry. When working on home items or frequently used hand knits (think stroller blankets and towels), we suggest keeping the yarn label handy so you'll always know how to wash them.

Learn how to take care of your handmade items by hand washing or by using a high efficiency washer.

Products to Care for Your Projects

Eucalan Wool Wash

Knitter's Pride Rainbow Knit Blockers

Knitter's Pride Lace Blocking Mats

Katrinkles Adjustable Mitten Blockers

Bryspun Stainless Steel Sock Blockers

Knitter's Pride Aqua Sock Blockers

Katrinkles Adjustable Sock Blockers

Knitter's Pride Lace Blocking Wires

Gleener Ultimate Fuzz Remover

Gleener On the Go Travel Fuzz Remover Fabric Shaver