Caring for Your Crochet

Because of all the time you've invested in your crochet work, it would be a shame to have your project fall apart on the first wash or discolor by being improperly stored. Follow the appropriate tips below to ensure that your work will stick around for a long time.

Save the labels

Every yarn label has care instructions on it. Keep them organized in a binder or keep a notebook of your projects with the yarn label attached.

Attach your own care labels

Another way to know how to care for an item is to sew a care label onto the item itself. These are available at craft stores and some yarn shops. Use a permanent ink pen to write care instructions on the label before you attach the label to the item. Attaching a care label works best for items like garments and afghans. You can also include your name and the date you made the item.

The best way to attach the label is to sew it on with a sewing needle and matching sewing thread. Don't iron the label on — you can ruin all your work with one blast of heat.

It's especially important to include care information if you're giving the piece to someone as a gift.

Hand wash

Hand washing your crocheted items is the safest bet, unless the yarn specifically states "dry clean only." Never hang a crocheted piece to dry (it will stretch out of shape beyond recognition), and keep items out of the sun, which can cause fading.

Blocking

When experienced seamstresses or crafters see the word blocking, they want to run the other direction. But blocking can be as simple as the following four steps:

1. Wet the item until it is saturated, squeezing out excess moisture if necessary.

2. Lay it flat, using an absorbent towel underneath to soak up moisture.

3. Shape it.

4. Leave it to dry.

Blocking a piece made of thread crochet involves a few more steps:

1. Hand wash the design gently in cold water with mild soap.

2. In a separate clean tub, prepare a liquid starch solution according to the directions on the bottle based on the desired amount of stiffness for the finished piece.

3. Immerse the crocheted piece in the solution and allow the solution to completely penetrate the fabric.

4. Prepare a blocking surface large enough to accommodate the design.

5. Remove the item from the solution and blot it dry with a clean towel.

6. Using rustproof straight pins, pin the design onto the blocking board to the required dimensions, taking care to shape any stitch patterns.

7. Blot the design again to remove any excess solution that may still remain.

8. Allow the piece to dry completely before removing the pins.

Iron only if you must

If you need to iron to get all the wrinkles out, set the iron on the lowest heat setting suggested for the yarn. Place a slightly damp cloth, such as a clean cotton dish towel, on top of your crocheted piece before ironing. Never allow the iron to come into direct contact with the yarn. Excessive heat can ruin the integrity of the yarn fibers.

No hangers!

When you're not using the item, whether it's a sweater or tablecloth or anything in between, never hang crocheted items. Hanging stretches out the stitches, and the damage can't be reversed.

Safe storage

If items are to be stored for any length of time, invest in some acid-free tissue paper. Place the paper between the folds and around the outside of the piece. This ensures that the piece stays clean and dust-free and helps preserve the yarn fibers until you bring it out again.

Always put your items away clean. Time in storage allows stains to set.

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