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Yarn pilling: how to make your knitwear look like new again

Yarn pilling: how to make your knitwear look like new again
Posted on 4-10-2022 by Muriël Blom
As a knitter or crocheter, you put a huge amount of time and effort into your handiwork. Some projects take days, weeks, and sometimes even months to make. But finally, the ends are woven in, and your masterpiece is ready to wear. Then disaster strikes! After just a short time, you discover the first pills. How disappointing. After all that work, you naturally want your garment or blanket to look its best for as long as possible. In this blog post, we explore what pilling is, how you can prevent it (for as long as possible), and the best way to remove those pesky bobbles of fluff.
We’ve all had them show up on our clothing at some point. Pills are tiny balls of thread that form on clothing or frequently used blankets. Contrary to popular belief, a tendency to pill has nothing to do with the quality of the fabric. Sadly, all fabrics will eventually pill. Pilling happens wherever there is a lot of friction: the crotch area, under the armpit, and at the elbows, for example.

How to avoid pilling in the first place


First, some good news! There are a few things you can do to delay the development of pills on your yarn projects.

Choose less fluffy or anti-pilling yarn
The unfortunate reality is that certain fibers pill faster than others. Wool, for example, tends to pill faster than cotton. If you already know that the knitted pants or crocheted cardigan you plan to knit will get a lot of wear, you would be wise to take this into account. Want to know more about different yarn fibers? Then read more here.

Wash by hand instead of in the washing machine
No matter how securely you finish off your knitted or crocheted project, it is ultimately best not to wash your handiwork in the machine. All that spinning and tumbling around increases the friction, which in turn speeds up the pilling process. Instead, wash your handmade items by hand. Do you still plan to wash your woolens in the machine? Then make sure you read the yarn label very carefully to see if that is even possible and, if so, what temperature to use.

Air dry your handmade items
Once you have washed your blanket or garment, it is tempting to quickly pop it in the dryer. Don’t! A dryer generates even more friction than a washing machine. Instead, lay your project out flat to dry, preferably outdoors or in front of an open window. Not only will this reduce the drying time, but also ensure that the fabric smells nice and fresh.

Leave your woolen clothing and accessories in the freezer overnight
Yes, you read that right: in the freezer. This might sound like strange advice, but it’s actually quite effective. The cold temperature locks the fibers and stops the build up of static charge. All the better for your sweater or cardigan! So, seal your knitted or crocheted item in a plastic bag and pop it in the freezer overnight. It's as simple as that!



How to remove pilling from clothes

Sometimes, no matter what you try, it’s unavoidable. You may even have found your way here via a Google search for how to remove lint and pilling. You’ve come to the right place! At Yarnplaza.com, you can find a selection of handy tools to get rid of pills in the blink of an eye.

Use a wool comb
A wool comb, also known as a lint comb, is ideal for removing pills, fuzz, and lint from your handmade sweaters and blankets. It’s also very easy to use. Simply lay the item on a flat surface and hold the comb upright. With a light, even pressure, comb across the surface of the fabric.

Fuzz Pilling Comb
Prym Wool Comb
Yarnplaza Wool Comb
Use a lint shaver
A lint shaver, also known as a fabric shaver or lint remover, is a quicker and easier option. It works much like a handheld vacuum, with the addition of a flat disc with small holes. As you pass the device over your fabric, the pills and fuzz catch in the holes and are promptly shaved off. It sucks up the debris at once, leaving a lovely, fluff-free surface. If you enjoy knitting clothing, this gadget is a must-have for your tool kit!

Lint Shaver
Now you know how to prevent pilling and, worst case scenario, how to tackle pills and fuzz with confidence and make your knitwear look like new again. Need inspiration for your next garment project? Check out our knitting and crochet kits here. Want to learn more about handicrafts? Read our blog here.

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