The sun’s packed off, the rain’s set in, the cold’s taken hold and Britain once again feels like Britain; a bit miserable, really.
The major upside? You get to dress in layers again. All those lovely soft jumpers and pleasingly hefty overcoats you packed away for summer can be dusted down and resume their rightful place in your wardrobe.
The only thing is, the fabrics of winter (wool, cashmere, angora) require far more upkeep than their summer equivalents – cotton pretty much takes care of itself. From moths to mildew, the perils are endless. Here, with the assistance of N.Peal’s managing director Adam Holdsworth, I’ve pulled together a guide to making your knitwear last for life, not just for winter.
1 | Pay attention to storage
Never hang a wool or cashmere jumper on a hanger. This will result in the fabric stretching over time, consequently misshaping. Always fold instead.
2 | Don’t be afraid to shave your knitwear (yes, shave)
Bobbling is the result of two pieces of fabric rubbing together over time (under your arms for instance) and can also occur with washing. Be sure to remove bobbles regularly. A good (and quick) way to do this is with an electronic bobble remover, which acts in the same way as an electric razor, shaving off the bobble and leaving the surface of the fabric smooth.
Bobble buster by Lakeland, £6, lakeland.co.uk
3 | Comb your cashmere
Use a cashmere comb to remove any bobbles before washing. You can even use a razor to gently go over the sweater and remove any bobbles – be careful, though, these nicks wont heal with a spot of tissue paper.
Cashmere comb by Brora, £2.50, brora.co.uk
4 | Brush daily
Invest in a soft clothes brush and rub down your knitwear regularly to remove hairs and excess lint. Again, be gentle.
Clothes brush, £15, labourandwait.co.uk
5 | Wash smart
Wash your sweater regularly. Machine washing is fine, just ensure that it’s at 30 degrees maximum on the hand wash setting – and always wash coloured items separately. If you feel nervous about this you can always hand wash, just be sure not to wring when finished.
6 | Wash cashmere even smarter
When washing cashmere use a specialist cashmere wash (available at N.Peal), or baby shampoo (really). This helps to keep the fabric soft and avoid soap and water stains.
Cashmere wash by N.Peal, £10, npeal.com
7 | Dry Flat
After washing dry your sweater flat. Stretch it out slightly and weigh down the edges if necessary. This is to maintain the shape. Never twist or rub the cashmere. If you need to remove excess water scrunch the sweater into a ball and squish it between your hands.
8 | Rotate your sweaters
Give your jumpers a few days between each wear, excess wear will cause it too lose shape.
9| Learn to love cedar balls
Store all your knitwear with cedar balls to minimize the risk of moth attacks. If you have been unlucky enough to find moth holes put your sweaters in the freezer for 48 hours. This will kill the moth eggs. After freezing wash the sweater.
Cedar cubes, £4, lakeland.co.uk
10 | Do away with damp
When storing your jumper away over summer, be sure that it is absolutely bone dry before stowing it away. Even the slightest dampness (a sweat patch for instance) will result in mold or mildew. Which will smell. Bad.