““I’m making a crochet piece as a gift but I want to make sure the recipient cares for it properly! What are your tips for taking care of crocheted pieces?””

–Gemma R.

Caring For Your Crochet Piece

I have one reoccurring nightmare when it comes to crochet — that I’ll give someone a piece that I labored over for weeks and they’ll ruin it when they go to wash it.  Luckily, nobody has given me back a piece that they’ve ruined, but I thought that we should talk about the best way to help everyone take care of the piece that you’ve lovingly made.

Attach a care label!

Most craft stores now carry sew-on care labels that you can add to any piece that you’re about to give away.  Not only will you be able to put your name on the label, you’ll be able to jot down the care instructions.  Be sure to use a permanent marker and the notes will last a lifetime.  A few stitches with a sewing needle and your recipient will know exactly how to care for their new crochet piece.

When it comes to washing, let’s cover a few basics that I believe will make or break how things turn out.

HANDWASH ONLY!

Yes, I basically shouted that.  I know there are yarns that say they are machine washable and dryable, but let’s be honest – the washer and dryer are rough on things, even on handwash/gentle mode.  Just save yourself the trouble and hand wash it.  It’s not difficult, I promise.

Keep in mind that each fiber reacts differently in water.  Alpaca, for instance, will always need reshaped because the fibers will stretch under the weight of the water.  Acrylic yarn washes extremely well, but may become “pill-y” over time.  Wool will felt if you aren’t very gentle and over agitate in warm water.

Here’s how I hand wash my crochet pieces:

  • Fill the sink or tub with cool/tepid water. Not too hot, not too cold.
  • Add a drop or two of detergent (or shampoo in a pinch).
  • Gently press the piece down into the water and squeeze a few times. Make sure the piece is well saturated, and then let it soak for 10 minutes.
  • Drain the water and refill the sink with clear water. Squeeze to remove detergent.  Repeat until water remains clear.
  • Squeeze any remaining water out. Do not twist or wring your piece.
  • Lift the entire piece from the sink without stretching it.
  • Lay flat onto a towel, and then roll up the towel. Completely enclose the piece.
  • Step on the towel (yes I said that!) a few times to really squish all the water out.
  • Unroll the towel, move piece to a clean dry towel. Reshape and allow to dry flat.

If you must iron your now dry piece, proceed with extreme caution. Any acrylic yarn will not take kindly to ironing and will likely melt, so try steaming them carefully.  In order to iron a piece, take precautions and use a pressing cloth that you’ve gotten damp.  This will make sure that you don’t singe your fibers.

Finally, it’s important to note that you should never, ever, ever, hang a crocheted piece to dry.  It will stretch to unimaginable lengths and you’ll never be able to recover the shape.  In fact, just avoid hanging crochet all together!

Comments
  • Joanne Brunetti

    I cut the care portion of the label on the skein of yarn. Then I know I’m giving the exact care instructions for that yarn. I track it to a small file card and add any notes I think important, such as do not hang, etc. I then punch a hole in the card and tie it to one corner of the completed piece. I’ve been thanked many times for adding this info.

    Reply

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