Reviving Old Woolies

A Lesson in Laundry

I was rummaging through the back of a cupboard the other day and I came across a plastic case with an old, hand knitted, blanket inside.  It turns out that my husband’s grandmother had made it for him when he was a little boy and somehow it ended up hidden in the back of the closet.  I’d never seen it before and figured it would be nasty having been uncared for for so long but when I took it out it was actually quite nice.  There were some very dirty patches and a musty smell from the plastic so it definitely needed a wash but from all the ends that were woven in I could see that it had been pieced together and that much care and attention had gone it to creating it.  Hmmm…. I wondered if I could resurrect it?  My husband, being the practical man that he is, was quick to want to toss it out logically stating that it hadn’t been looked at much less used in over 30 years and would be one less thing to clutter up our house.  Hmmm ….  It might be nice for the boys to snuggle under while they’re watching TV, or to make a cubbyhouse out of ….  I couldn’t quite tell what the yarn was, seemed like it might have some acrylic in it. I wondered how it would fare if I put it on a gentle cycle?  Hmmm…. I decided that that would be the test.  If it survived the washing machine then it could stay.

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Hand knitted blanket back from the dead.

I spot treated the stains and dirt marks, chucked the whole thing in the washer and crossed my fingers.  Despite its terrible treatment it survived!  Grandma really knew how to make a blanket.  It didn’t felt and the dirty marks had all disappeared.  Success!  Except that it came out, kinda, stiff.  And not nice to snuggle under.  Kinda yucky really.  (sad face)

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Super Hero Eucalan, here to save your woolies!

Grrrr.  OK, one last try.  This time I washed it in the machine on a Rinse, Spin only cycle with Eucalan.  Have you tried this stuff before?  It is amazing.  It is a non-toxic, biodegradable, lanolin based product that makes the world of difference to knitted items turning stiff, scratchy, nastiness into soft, squishy goodness.  Just a teaspoon full in either a big bucket of water for hand washing or added to the softener dispenser in your machine magics your items back to life.  The website says it can be used for a range of applications although I’ve only ever tried hand knitted or crocheted items.  It is great for blocking some beautiful hand knit you have just finished.  Will have to keep it in mind next time a laundry emergency arises.

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