Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sweater Shaving 101

Hello, all!  I'm home from my lovely visit with my mom in Asheville, NC.  We had a great time just being together, and I also managed to get a few pictures for blog fodder :-)  Here's the first installment.

Quite a few years ago, I spun up a bunch of Ashland Bay multicolored merino sliver in Amethyst for my mom as a Christmas present.  Some time later, she knitted it up into a comfy cozy cardigan for herself.  She wore it a lot, but was telling me that she hadn't been wearing it lately because it had gotten so pilled. 

So we decided to try out a trick I'd read online - shaving it with a razor!  We figured it might make it better, and it probably wouldn't make it any worse, but just to be on the safe side, we started out under the arm where it wouldn't show.


I used a plain ladies' 3-blade disposable razor.  I shaved the sweater with the fabric spread flat, using a downward motion.  And it worked great!

video

Look at how much fuzz there is just from shaving a few inches:


You can also see that the section under that line of fuzz still has some pills.

And here's a handful, shaved off the back:


I've had various types of sweater shavers over the years, and I've got to tell you - this worked better than any of them!  I wish I could remember where I learned it. 

I've also read that you will need to shave a sweater twice - i.e. let it pill, then shave it; let it pill again and shave it again - but that after that all the fibers that are going to pill will have already done so and you won't need to do it again.  Not sure whether that's true, but we were both really glad to have had such success with this trick!

Have any of you knitters ever tried this out?

Also, as an aside - I got an Instagram account quite a while ago, and am trying to train myself to take little daily photos.  I put a link up there under my profile photo if you'd like to stop over there too :-)

24 comments:

  1. This is awesome to know! I have a beanie that needs to be depilled. I Pinned this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad it was helpful, Stef! My mom thought it was kind of tedious, but I thought it was super fun to do!

      Delete
  2. Crazily, I just bought this defuzzer (can't remember the name but it cost 30 bucks plus shipping and it has 3 separate heads for diff pilling). I haven't used it yet. It was one of my weird impulse purchases after being very unimpressed with a couple of my hand knits. I suppose I could have found a cheaper method.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm going to try this right away. I was thinking about buying a sweater shaver just the other day.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, so easy! I will be giving this a try.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, what a great tip! I'm going to have to try this!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I remember doing that a little sheepishly years ago! Just took a chance and didn't actually read about it anywhere. I'm so glad you reminded as My Cape Cod desperately needs a shave and this'll do the trick. Good to know that it stops pilling after a few shaves. Oh and a quick aside, don't use those disposable razors with the moisturising strip. Good for the skin, not so good for your knit :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting . . . why is the moisturizing strip bad for the knits? I've been scratching my brain over this! It didn't seem to hinder me, but if a razor without it will be better, I will get some!

      Delete
  7. The things you learn ~ another great tip to keep our woollies looking great. Thanks for this ... J

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well, well, isn't that cool. I've always used one of those electric sweater shavers, but I guess I get too agressive with it and have left holes where it's sucked up into it. Whoops. Didn't know that about shaving it twice also.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh, wow! I'll definitely have to give that a try. I was just contemplating buying a sweater shaver, but I'll try this first!

    Also, not sure I knew that your mom lives here in Asheville! How fun! Next time you're here, and have some free time, I'd love to meet! We could go out for vegetarian food & peruse yarn stores :) hope you had a great trip!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jen, I've had it in my mind to get together with you at some point ever since I figured out you live in Asheville! But this was a very quick visit with my mom, and by the looks of your recent post it probably wasn't great timing for you either. But next time!!

      Sadly, we discovered that Yarn Paradise is closed :-( But the new yarn shop in Biltmore Square Mall (Friends and Fiber?) is great!

      Delete
  10. I've tried this before! I don't remember where I heard about it either. I am in the camp that finds it tedious... but it works!

    ReplyDelete
  11. So helpful! Posting this on my facebook right now!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have been doing this for a few years. Unsure where I heard about it.
    I have found that a couple of times is often enough but some loosely spun yarns need more. Especially for elbows and underarms.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow- this is soooo clever! I HATE pilling/ bobbling. Thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is so cool, I'll try it with my oldest sweater!

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is such a great tip - thank you! I spy you wearing a cowl necked Renfrew on that video ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, both my cowl-necked Renfrews came with me!

      Delete
  16. Yes, I've done this after seeing it on Pinterest at one point. I agree it works well. I also bought a gadget a few months ago but haven't actually tried it since it's been mostly too hot for sweaters still. I've been negligent on blog surfing and didn't realize you were in Asheville. DId you get to see the gingerbread competition at all? It is on my wishlist of things to see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't even know there was a gingerbread competition! Bummer! Not sure we would have had time though.

      Delete
  17. I LOVE this idea. I currently use a heavy duty motorized shaver to get at all my pills. It works, but it's not awesome, and I'm always afraid I'm going to kill the motor (I've totally done it before). I'm eager to put this two shave theory to to the test. I haven't paid much attention in the past.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Loved watching you do this. Shaving knits is so satisfying, don't you think? Though I use an electric pill shaver (don't trust myself with an actual razor and knitwear! I am bad enough being aggressive with the electric one.)

    The 2 shave thing...as you know I have been abrasion/pill testing a lot of yarns for the business lately and the blanket 2 shave thing is a bit of a myth.

    It can take many, many more shaves with some yarns. I personally stop at about 5 or 6 as it just seems pointless to keep testing after that. You'd have to be shaving ENDLESSLY and that I think that is too labour intensive for upkeep.

    Though nearly all soft yarns will pill, a 2 shave yarn would be a very good one in my still-to-be-created 'pill scale'! I have found that BFL as a long staple yarn usually falls in that range.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for that input, Linda! I had a feeling that the two shave theory might be a myth, but I so wanted to believe!! Good thing shaving a sweater is fun!

      Delete