So, last time we talked about how to wash a woollen garment, using Giles’ hooded man-cardigan (you can read that post here). By this point you should have a lovely, clean garment, with most of the water taken out, ready to finish drying.
As the wool is much weaker and more elastic when wet, in order to retain its overall shape and size, the garment will need to be dried flat. Some things, like shawls or very fitted cardigans, for instance will need to be blocked at this point, but others, like the hoodie here just need to be laid out.
In the summer you can do this outside in the sun, on a handy garden table or, if you’re fancy on one of those airers with the drying-your-jumper-flat part on them. However, it was the end of February as I did this and the outside temperature was not yet up to this. Inside it was, then. I don’t have a fancy airer that would allow me to dry the cardigan flat, plus if I did I think it would take up the best part of my kitchen and then where would we be for cakes? My best bet is to dry any woollen garments over the bath.
Luckily before we moved into this house, it was owned by an elderly gentleman and thus has lots of hand rails, more hooks than you could possibly have things to hang, and my saving grace in this mission, a swing-down bath seat. This, along with two cunning extensions by the way of parts of dead laundry airers makes me a nifty over-the-bath flat drying space.
Placing some strategic towels to better support the garment, it works really well for most larger woollen garments. This time, I did have to build in an extension piece for the hood by building up the area around the taps with shampoo bottles laid flat with a face flannel placed over them (I was quite pleased about this and showed off, somewhat).
It took a couple of days to completely dry the cardigan in my bathroom. There is a little radiator that I whacked up to full heat and had coming on more often than usual, to help it along. If you have a dehumidifier, the process would be far quicker, so my sister tells me.
I do find that with pure wool garments, or thicker knits, this process of bathroom drying doesn’t work quickly enough. There’s nothing worse than having a wet, woolly jumper hanging about in your way when you’d like to take a bath. Then, I either wait until the summer and dry the garment outside in the sun, or if washing is imperative, take it over to my Mum’s house to borrow her fancypants airer and big sunny window.
I’d love to hear if you have any good tips on washing your woollies. My Mum’s friend says to use a vinegar rinse for white wool, but I’ve yet to try that – have you?