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Wool care

How to Prevent Pilling, Shrinking and Moth Damage in Your Woollens

October 13, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

We all love our woollens, from sweaters to socks, blankets to beanies. So what do we do when they start to look worn, or get damaged? Here are some tips on how to avoid pilling, shrinking and moths eating your beloved wool textiles. It’s important to note that high quality, natural woollens will last longer and look better than cheaper acrylics or synthetic fibres, due to the inherent durability and longer fibres in pure wool. So first things first: invest in decent woollens in the beginning and you’ll get far more use for your money. But if things go wrong, here’s how to solve some of the major problems with wool.

Woollens - WoolMe

Your wool throw has gone rough and stiff

Imagine this: you bought a beautiful new throw in softest wool and have used it as many times as you can without washing. When you realise it needs a refresh you put it in the washing machine on a low temperature and hope for the best. But it comes out feeling rough or stiff, all the snuggliness has gone. What happened? Well, maybe you shouldn’t have washed it in the machine. Unless otherwise marked on your garment’s care instructions it’s best to wash woollens by hand, in cool water. The other cause could be your detergent. Normal laundry liquids are too harsh for wool, so make sure you use a specially-formulated  detergent, like The Laundress Wool and Cashmere, or Ecover Delicate. These contain natural enzymes and no chemicals, and are as good for the planet as they are for your woollies. Make sure you choose a detergent that carries the Woolmark logo, so you know it’s suitable.

If you have already got a less-than soft woolly, try hand washing in cool water with a wool detergent and using a wool fabric softener. Rinse thoroughly and dry outside, away from the sun, and flat. This should revive the fibres and increase the softness, though it may never be quite the same. The key here is prevention.

wool-blanket-throw - WoolMe

Your woollen sweater has pilling

Pilling (those annoying little bobbles that appear on woollen items) is caused by the friction of two surfaces rubbing together. It often occurs in areas like armpits or the sides of a sweater where a bag might hang against it. If you see pilling on a woollen garment you can use a lint roller or special pill shaver to remove them. Longer pills can even be carefully snipped off with scissors or a razor. Avoid a recurrence by washing the item inside out and only use a liquid detergent that is specifically for wool. Dry the item naturally. Natural, top grade pure wool will pill less as the fibres are longer and therefore are not as easily forced to the surface when rubbed.

Your woolly socks have shrunk

Oh the horror of removing your much-loved cosy alpaca wool socks from the machine, only to discover they would only just about fit a Barbie doll! Wool doesn’t actually shrink. In fact, wool is a protein, which means when it’s washed too vigorously or in too high temperatures the fibres in the wool stick together, giving the appearance of shrinkage. If the damage has been done you can stretch the garment while still damp, but sadly there is no way to fully reverse this. Make sure it doesn’t happen by following the manufacturer’s care instructions to the letter. Wash only with appropriate detergent, use cool water and the delicate cycle if you are machine washing, and don’t tumble dry.

Moths are eating your woollens

An infestation of moths can be disastrous. They can chomp through woollen clothes and textiles, but also lots of other things too, ruining much-loved belongings. To prevent getting moths in the first place make sure you only store woollens when they are clean. Use zipped bags if you are storing things over the summer months. Make insect-repellant bags filled with dried lavender and cedar wood, then place these in every drawer or hang in your wardrobe. If you have an infestation already, throw out anything that is beyond repair, keeping the rubbish bag tightly sealed and discard immediately. Place the remaining items in sealed plastic bags and put in the freezer to kill any eggs or larvae. Give your wardrobe and drawers a thorough clean out and wash everything else in there. You can get chemical moth repellant products to treat the problem, or call out a pest controller to deal with a really major infestation.

preventing-moths-wool

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Cashmere: A story of luxury

June 7, 2017 Tags: , , , , 4 Comments

For many of us cashmere wool has become synonymous with status and luxury. From classic wardrobe staples like a cashmere cardigan to wackier incarnations like Narciso Rodriguez’s 1990’s cashmere-covered Birkenstocks and Toast’s cashmere espadrilles, this versatile wool has kept us in style, and cosy, for years. In this post we unpick the story of this fabulous fibre.

History of cashmere

himalayas

Cashmere originated in the mountains of Inner Mongolia, China, Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan, where the Capra Hircus goats have roamed for centuries. As early as the 14th Century people were using the fleece of these goats to make warm blankets and garments to help them through the punishing Himalayan winters. In the 18th Century, with the growth of the British Empire and the expansion of world trade routes, cashmere was exported across Europe and the Americas. It became very popular with aristocratic women, who loved its softness and warmth and wore cashmere shoulder shawls as the height of fashion and good taste. The Industrial Revolution saw a great expansion in the production of cashmere, with centres of production growing in France, Italy and Scotland. Cashmere’s popularity then dipped until the 1980s when designers began using the wool in exclusive, luxury garments. It became a symbol of wealth and high fashion, but has now found its way onto the high street with stores mixing it with lower quality fibres to keep prices down. The proliferation of cheaper cashmere has meant more people have access to its super soft cosiness, but has also meant quality is not always maintained.

How is cashmere produced?

Domestic goats are shorn or combed to collect the fine fibres, but wild goats are also a valuable source of this wool, leaving clumps to be collected during the moulting season when they rub themselves on trees and rocks to shed their coats for summer. Once the wool has been gathered it is scoured or washed to remove any dirt, dried and then de-haired (separating the main coat from the cashmere hair). Usually only about 20% of what is gathered can be classed as true cashmere. This is then dyed, spun, knitted or woven.

CASHMERE goat

Why is cashmere so expensive?

It’s a simple matter of supply and demand: it can take up to four years for a goat to produce enough cashmere wool to make one sweater. The fact that it is so time-consuming to produce means its value is increased. But it’s not just this that makes cashmere such a pricey fabric. The fibres are longer, finer, stronger and more isothermal than sheep wool, making it an ideal choice for clothes and blankets. Its melting softness adds to its appeal, with people willing to pay more for a garment that will offer them greater comfort.

How to wash cashmere

Always follow the care instructions on your garment, but most good quality cashmere can be washed in cold water (below 30 degrees) on a delicate cycle or by hand. Use a mesh bag to protect the wool if washing in a machine. Lay the item flat on a towel to dry to keep its shape and prevent stretching. Never tumble dry (unless you want your precious cashmere sweater to end up as a tiny doll’s dress!).

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With such a prestigious heritage, and being so hard-to-come-by it’s no wonder that cashmere remains a luxury fabric. Our cashmere throws will bring this simple opulence into your home in an understated way, keeping you and your loved ones warm and cosy as well as looking exquisite.

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Tips on Cleaning Wool Throws and Blankets

August 24, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Everyone might occasionally get the question – how do you clean wool throws and blankets? Do you wash them at all? Since wool is an incredibly resilient fibre not everyone understands that it requires the gentlest handling in water and is often best left alone. Today we present you the greatest tips on cleaning wool throws and blankets.

multicolour-wool-throw-antonio

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Alpaca Throws for Gorgeous and Comfortable Home

April 18, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

As you all probably know alpaca throws are made out of alpaca animal (which are bread in the mountains of Peru) wool. Being soft and smooth as well as very warm, alpaca throws are appreciated addition to every home.

Items made from alpaca wool fibers can retain heat and regulate the body temperature and therefore they are perfect companions in chilly winter weather.

Alpaca thorws

Interesting fact is that the age of the animal does not determine the softness of the fur – both young and old animals provide alpaca wool that is suitable to make very soft products like alpaca throws, alpaca blankets, alpaca garment.

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Washing a Wool Throw in the Washing Machine

February 14, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

Wool throws and blankets possess lots of attractive qualities, e.g. fire, water and wrinkle resistance, exceptional insulation and softness. Caring for a wool throw is quite an easy task and we always recommend follow to the instructions the product label dictates. Usually manufacturers insist on dry-cleaning wool products or recommends washing by hand, yet, often wool throws are fine to wash in the washing machine (provided they fit in it, in the first place!).

Wool blankets

To wash a wool blanket in a washing machine, follow these steps:

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Smoothing Wrinkles in Wool Throws and Garments

February 2, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Wool throws, blankets and garments often come with a detailed care instructions on the label. Usually they can only be dry cleaned and some other restrictions may apply. It might seem they are a real pain to maintain. But this is not so. Most of wool throws and garments can be washed at home by hand (although this is not indicated on the label) and they are also a breeze to steam smooth. If your wool throws, sweaters or jackets or any other wool item got wrinkled, just smooth them out this easy way.

wool-throw

The use of the right hanger is important here! Hang your wrinkled garment on smooth wide wooden hanger or wide, rounded plastic one. Stay away of wire hangers and smaller plastic hangers as they may cause your garments to stretch out at the shoulders.

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Merino Wool Throws – How to Unshrink

January 16, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Shrinking a wool throw or a garment is often a case when too warm temperatures are used while washing them or in the dryer.

How to unshrink a sweater or wool throw?

It is still may be possible to restore the original size of your merino wool throw or a garment. As the possibility to restore the wool throw depends on a variety of factors, it is probable to increase your throw or sweater by as much as a size and a half using this process (can work for other wool knit objects as well, for that matter).

How to unshrink wool throw?

So, what to do? Follow these steps and be gentle with your wool throws, blankets or piece of clothing.

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Softening a Wool Throw

January 9, 2013 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Among the wool throws we own there usually is one that you’re reluctant to use because the fabric feels hard and itchy. And it’s always a pity, especially if colors and pattern are those you like. So try softening it.

wool-throw-1

Although a wool throw’s texture depends mostly on the structure of the wool fibers from which it was made, the chemicals used to process the wool later also can contribute to an unpleasant feeling of it. To return its pretreated softness, try a soaking recipe involving softening ingredients.

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How to Care for Wool Throws (4)

August 16, 2012 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

Let‘s continue our series of articles of how to care for wool throws and blankets.

How to prevent lint on wool throws and blankets

It’s in the nature of wool throws (and all wool items for that matter) to attract lint. The lint on dark colored wool throws & blankets (black, brown, grey) will show up much more. The tendency of wool products to attract lint is natural and there isn’t a lot one can do to avoid that natural habit, but fortunately there are some actions you can take to lessen its effect on your wool throw.

wool-throws

The first advice is to make the proper decision when purchasing your wool throw (when this is possible). As dark colored wool blanket will generally show up more lint so (and if this is what bother you in the first place) opt for lighter when you are picking out your wool throw or blanket.

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How to Care for Wool Throws (3)

July 24, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

We continue our articles about how to care for wool throws.

How to protect my wool throws from moths?

Wool throws & blankets can be damaged by moths when they are not being used for some time and/or stored in some quiet storage place. Wool throws in some dark dry place with little human traffic is an ideal place for moths to lay their eggs there. The wool larvae then develop from the eggs and they will feed on the wool making the damage to your throw or blanket or any other wool item.

wool-throw-red

To avoid this you should use airtight storage bags to keep your wool throws when you are not using them for longer intervals of time. It unlikely though, a moth damage would occur you put your wool throws away for just a little bit at time. To be on the safe side, always store them completely cleaned and brushed.

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