How Sweaters Behave After Long-term Wear

Knitwear

Today I would like to come back to some of my old knits that I finished during the last 2-3 years. The reason for this little flashback is to talk about how these pieces of knitwear “behave” after a certain amount of time. Surely they all look fresh and crisp once fresh off the needles, but I think it is important to see them after they have been through lots of wear in “real” life. It will allow usย to make some decisions about yarn/stitch pattern/shape for ourย next project. Sweaters are a big investment of time and money, so it is definitely worth analyzing the end result.

La Flor.

Yarn – Wool of the Andes (100% Peruvian Highland wool) by Knit Picks.

I can say that I’ve been wearing La Flor a lot – dog walks, road trips, running errands in town, cozying up in it during chilly mornings at home… It is been a year since I finished it, so it’s been enough time to see how it behaves.

The stitch pattern is still crisp and stands out against the stockinette stitch background; the shape hasn’t changed at all – it fits just the way it used to. Yarn started pilling a little bit on the hem and ribbing of the sleeves, but nothing drastic. Overall I am very happy with how it looks like after a year of wear.

Mineral Heather sweater.

Yarn – Wool of the Andes (100% Peruvian Highland wool) by Knit Picks.

I finished it in December, 2015 and have been wearing it a lot as well. The weird thing is that though the yarn is absolutely identical to the one I used for La Flor, pilling is so so much worse. Right now it is not so bad, but after the first month of wear the sweater was just covered in numerous tiny wool speckles. I had to use the razor every single time I wanted to wear it. Other than that the sweater is perfect after a long time of wear – holds its shape, the color didn’t fade at all, the ribbing is also in its place. So, I would definitely recommend Wool of the Andes, it is a great wool!

Knitwear
La Flor and Mineral Heather

Gesture.

Yarn – The Baby Wool (100% Baby Alpaca) by We Are Knitters.

The yarn was so lush to work with – incredible soft and silky. The sweater also turned super soft and cozy. I’ve worn it a lot in the house, during walks and was basically living in it during my trip to Saint Petersburg. Finished in July, the sweater is 6 months old. Well, I can say for sure that there is a price to pay for its wonderful softness – it pills like crazy! If I wear it next to a back t-shirt, I have an alpaca t-shirt after that ๐Ÿ™‚ Other than that it holds its shape and color ย very well and I am still very happy to wear it, even with all the pilling.

Journey.

Yarn – Elena (100% organic wool) by Moeke Yarns.

Probably my most worn sweater since I finished it. I wear it on its own or under a jacket, over the past 6-7 months it’s been everywhere with me. I am super happy about how it looks and fits after all this time of use. The cables look exactly the same way – they didn’t stretch at all! And the yarn doesn’t pill at all – it literally looks like new! It is not the softest yarn in the world, that’s for sure, but what a sturdy and durable wool!

Knitwear
Journey and Gesture

Reindeer.

Yarn – Gloss DK (70% wool and 30% silk) by Knit Picks.

My Reindeer cardigan is more than one year old and it holds its cables and shape beautifully, though the yarn starts to look a little bit fuzzy will pills, so I will have to take care of it. But overall it is in beautiful shape and makes a great wardrobe staple!

Knitwear
Reindeer

Now let’s take a look at some of the pieces I made from plant fibers and see how they hold up! Plant fibers usually don’t pill, so if you take a good care of them they will always look like new. They do have their own drawbacks though…

Wildflower dress.

Yarn – Eulali (100% cotton) by Omega.

One of my first projects and my favorite crochet dress. I wear it quiet a lot during the summer; it’s 2,5 years old and it is perfect! The shape is exactly the same as it was when I just finished it – didn’t stretch at all and the color is not fading. I do take a very good care of it though – I wash it by hand and let it dry flat in the shade, so the sun doesn’t destroy its color. The yarn is pretty stiff, but it softens up after a few washes. The fact that I used a very small crochet hook also helped to keep the dress structured and not lose its shape.

Bamboo drape sweater.

Yarn – 100% bamboo (I don’t remember the company name unfortunately).

My two favorite things about this project are the drape and the color, both of them are in perfect condition. The only thing that might be bothering me is that it is very easy to get the pull/run in this fabric. And it will be really visible as the fabric is so sleek and smooth.

Soho Dress. Yarn – Lino (cotton/linen blend) by BBB filati.

One of my favorite projects. I must admit though that I haven’t been wearing it a lot for some reason, but from a few wears the fabric didn’t change, except for a little stretch in the underarm area. But I left it raw and didn’t trim it at all, so that might be the reason. I will have to come back and do that so it doesn’t grow more. But overall a great look after 1,5 years. This yarn is definitely a great investment!

Knitwear
From top to bottom: Wildflower Dress; Bamboo Drape; Soho Dress.

I hope this little overview helped you in some way and now you know what to expect more or less from the knitwear pieces you create from the similar yarns!

I hope you are having a great week!

See you at Yarn Along!


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24 Comments

  1. Wow, terrific review on the quality of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes! I frequently recommend Knit Picks as a resource to new knitters. Knit Picks is one of the best places to find reasonably priced quality yarns, needles and notions. Now they have square needles! I wonder if the Mineral Heather sweater pilled more due to the nature of the heathered yarn or its dye? Knit Picks Comfy is one of my favorites for warm weather. Their selection and quality continues to grow.

    • Thank you so much, Elizabeth! Yes, Knit Picks are so great – price and quality-wise! I should check Comfy – it sounds amazing! Maybe dye has something to do with the pilling, because other than that the yarn is absolutely identical to the one I used for La Flor… And it is such a huge difference!

  2. What a useful and interesting post! Although the yarns mentioned are unknown to me, it is always interesting to know what happens to knitwear after the glamorous photosession and how other knitters take care of their knitted clothes. You’ve been using excellent quality yarns and it has paid off, your knits still look fresh and what’s more important – they are being worn with love and care.

    • I am glad you found it useful, dear Carmela! I also think it is only fair to blog more about the FOs after a certain amount of time. It might help crafters to make right decisions about yarns and styles they want to invest to!

  3. What a terrific idea for a post, and how wonderfully you did it. And the pictures were helpful, even though you described the wear on each item so well. I appreciate the yarn reviews – some of the yarns I even have in my stash, so that’s exciting. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was also fun to see your wonderful creations again. You are such a prolific and beautiful knitter and crocheter, Alina. And you’re so young. Here’s to a long life ahead of you – filled with creating more beautiful things!

  4. I’m loving this trend of bloggers showing how their knits are wearing. It allows me to experience yarn through other people, shows me what may work for my projects!

  5. This is such a wonderful helpful idea! Thanks for all the time and thought you must have put into this post. You have definitely sold me on the wearability of Knit Picks ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you, Stephanie! I am glad you found it helpful! Knit Picks are really great! Looking forward to working with their lines more in the future!

  6. I too have found this such an interesting post – I wish more writers reviewed yarns after they have been worn as knits for a while! It’s the real test of a good yarn, isn’t it?!

    • I am glad you like it, Katherine! Yes, I think this is great to talk about yarns/stitch patterns/constructions after actually using the knits in real life!

  7. I love this post: not only because you have knit so many beautiful garments (and here they are in one place!), but also because sweater wear is not something we always discuss. Having some comparisons outside of my own garment pile is so useful. I am impressed with the Wool of the Andes as well–and have used it for a few projects now (including some blankets), but some of the other Knit Picks yarn has not stood the test of time as well. I think it has to do with the softness factor you mention. Ah well. So lovely to see your sweaters all piled up and pretty!

    • Thank you so much, Melissa! I used to be all about softness in yarn – this was the first thing I cared about, but the more I knit the more I realize that sturdy, slightly scratchy yarns stand against the time so much better. Wool of the Andes is amazing, Gloss DK is not holding up as well as Wool of the Andes…

  8. Isn’t it crazy how yarn tends to pill? It always gets on my nerves. I’m less finicky about actually removing the pills though, maybe I need to get better.

    Thank you for sharing this post today, it’s very helpful in terms of learning about yarns. I think it’s also so inspiring to see such lovely sweaters!

    • Thank you so much, Lisa! Pills can be quiet annoying, but thankfully there are not that hard to get rid off. I remember one special tool that can be used to remove pills from knitwear, have to look it up!

  9. Wonderful post my dear! I loved to see all your beautiful sweaters even more beautiful by the use. Glad to see that none of your garments hasn’t grow or shrink. I need more of your washing and drying tips! Even though piWonderful post my dear! I loved to see all your beautiful sweaters even more beautiful by the use. Glad to see that none of your garments hasn’t grow or shrink. I need more of your washing and drying tips! Even though pilling can be frustrating, I think of it like the wrinkles on the face….
    It’s just inevitable!!!!
    lling can be frustrating, I think of it like the wrinkles on the face….
    It’s just inevitable!!!!

    • Echoes! Sorry!

      • Thank you for your always kind comments, my friend!! I don’t have any special tips and secrets as far as the washing goes. All I do is always wash it by hands, in cold water + hair conditioner, then dry it flat and that’s it ๐Ÿ™‚ “it like the wrinkles on the faceโ€ฆ.” – LOVE this comparison, so true!

  10. This was so informative, thanks for sharing! Do you ever get any felting in your sweaters? The first sweater I made was from ‘medium’ quality yarn and it started to felt a little under the arms, that was a bit of a bummer for me.

    • Thank you, Tahnee! I am glad it helped! No, I never had felting happening, just pilling with some yarns, but nothing too drastic. Underarms is definitely a sweater’s weak spot ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Love this review of how the yarns are holding up~ I found that I get a lot of pilling with my we are knitters baby alpaca fingerless mitts, but they are small enough I can easily de-fuzz hem, because they are so super soft. Go Wool of the Andes! I do find that 100% wool that isn’t superwashed does tend to really hold up.

  12. A very interesting read. Did you have a very different gauge for the first two sweaters with the same yarn? That could explain the difference in pilling.

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