Whenever I read sweater care advice, the first thing I see after “DON’T PUT WOOL IN YOUR WASHING MACHINE” is usually “LAY FLAT TO DRY. DO NOT HANG YOUR KNITS.” If you hang knits, especially wet knits, they’ll stretch. Generally you want to avoid that, but I found myself wondering if I could use the stretching to my advantage when I last washed the first sweater I knit without a pattern.

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It had always been too short with the hip shaping starting too high on my body. The sweater didn’t get worn very often because it didn’t fit well so I didn’t see any harm in experimenting on it. After I washed my sweater, I MacGyvered a way to hang my sweater that still supported the yoke because the armpits are already pretty deep and I didn’t want them to stretch any larger. I left my sweater to dry and then I packed it up for school without ever trying it on.

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Today was the first time I’ve worn it since I hung it to dry and I have to say that my experiment was a huge success. The hip shaping now starts where my hips start and the length compliments the slouchy, casual fit of the sweater. The only adverse side effect was that the sleeves also stretched longer and need to be cuffed, but I’m a fan of cuffs so that’s not much of a problem.

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I’m curious what will happen next time I wash the sweater. I don’t know if it will bounce back to its original shape and I’ll have to hang it every time I wash it or if that will just stretch it further. I’m glad I decided to risk ruining it with my initial experiment because I’m quite happy with how it looks at the moment. I’ll have to do a few more experiments to figure out what I need to do to keep it this length, but I think I’ll be a bit more careful with my sweater now that I know that it has the potential to fit well.

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