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How to Become an "Expert Knitter"   *Buy this book on CD for offline reading!

table of contents » chapter 1 (of 29)

1: Choosing Patterns, Yarns & Size (cont.)

Can I press or iron this?

Check the instructions for pressing or ironing. I will call it ironing.

Look at the photograph of the garment you have chosen to make. If common sense shows that it will need to be ironed, don’t waste your time with a yarn that has a warning against ironing, unless you test it first. The warning is there for a reason. It means that if you try to iron it, even with a cool iron, or a damp cloth, the knitting could shrivel into a smelly, gluggy mess, or stretch into huge floppy stitches with the thread flattened, or shrunk to the thickness of a human hair. Lovely textures can collapse and disappear as the yarn sets with heat and becomes smooth and stiff (see here).

Ironing symbols usually look like this and are easy to understand:

 Do not iron
 Cool iron
 Medium iron
 Hot iron

How can I clean this?

If the information suggests dry cleaning instead of washing, especially if you have chosen a very pale colour, decide if you want a garment you have to mollycoddle (see here).

Even if the yarn can be washed, when you are knitting several colours together (as in stripes) do try a sample first.

Here are a few examples of washing instruction symbols:

 Hand wash
 Machine wash at stated temperature
 Machine wash at stated temperature
 Do not wash

Some ball bands also show a symbol regarding bleaching, but this doesn’t apply very often to hand knitted garments. Perhaps a tennis sweater with mango stains?

 Do not use chlorine bleach
 Follow instructions to use chlorine bleach

How should I dry this?

These symbols show the suggested method of drying:

 Can be machine dried
 Dry flat
 Drip dry
 Line dry

What about dry cleaning?

These are the most common forms of drying. However, there are other methods that can help you when you are drying knitted garments (see here).

If you have to, or prefer to dry clean a garment, check the ball bands to see what sort of dry cleaning is recommended. Some yarns react badly to certain solvents, and there will be a warning symbol about this.

If you intend to dry clean a garment and it has particular requirements, save a ball band to show to the dry cleaner.

Here are some common dry cleaning symbols and their meanings:

 Do not dry clean
 Any dry cleaning solvent
 Any solvent except trichlorethylene
 Fluorocarbon or petroleum solvents only

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